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Monday, November 14, 2005

The Business of MMO

Massively Multiplayer Games can be major financial wins for companies. How has the genre grown and continues to grow as it moves across cultural divides like Korea and America? Business Week takes a look:

"If you look at the US market, it's very important, but for different reasons. The retail space is a great place to do marketing. It lends credibility to your product. Our model in Korea is to give away the client, and then charge a subscription fee, and that subscription fee is much higher than it is in the US. A product like Lineage has a $26 a month subscription fee in Korea. But you get the client for free. In the US we tried to actually give away the client, but there's an interesting dynamic, or difference in culture between the US and Korea."

Garriott continues, "In Korea, if you go to a customer and say ?I want to sell you a product, and then charge a monthly fee,' they say, ?You're crazy. Why would I buy a product?' In the US it's actually the opposite. If you go to a customer and say ?Here is a free product, I'd like you to try it and then pay me a monthly fee.' Most Americans say, ?The value of this product is exactly what I pay for it.' So when you give it to them free, they think it's worthless."
-- MMO Giants Prepare for War

There is a pretty flat denial in there that subscription fees are on their way out ... despite the success of Guild Wars. I still think that's a shame, as monthly fees are almost undoubtably a major stumbling block for the genre.

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