Imx Fix in my experience
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January 28, 2002 9:11 AM

C|net has an analysis article about online gaming that I think is pretty realistic and makes the essential point that the user experience is the key. I think there are a few things that will keep profits low in the online gaming industry until they learn a lesson, and even then, it won't be easy...

If you have ever played Quake or EverQuest or Tribes2 (these games have a large fan base, and thus are desireable to advertisers), then you know that a massive amount of disbelief needs to be suspended in order to play the game. You leave the rules about the real world at the door when you play these games. Everything is different, which makes the annoyances of the real world, that much more annoying.

If I had to watch the clock as I was playing Tribes2 in a worry aver an hourly rate, I wouldn't be enjoying the game. People who play Ultima Online pay about ten dollars a month for the online access, which isn't so bad of a pricing structure. This article talks about the potential...

Take the game "Ultima Online." Since its release in September 1997, more than 125,000 copies of the Origin Systems software have been sold at $49.95 a copy. With gamers paying an additional $9.95 per month to play the online-only game, "Ultima Online" represents a potential $1.25 million in MONTHLY revenues -- on top of the actual unit profits. And Origin has already released an expansion package, "Ultima Online: The Second Age," for $39.95.

But it's not lucrative when the up-take/critical-mass/subscription-rate isn't really there. You might think in-game advertisements are the answer to this problem, but they are even worse. If you are in EverQuest and are trying to kill an Orc in an attempt to gain some experience, an ad for Pringles is not going to be a welcome occurance. I argue that absolutely nothing from the Real World can be advertised in a game like EverQuest. Adverts in GameSpy Arcade are also super annoying and have caused me to avoid it, and that's just a game matching service, not an in-game experience.

So, if subscription rates don't fuel top line growth, and in game ads are not an option (in my opinion anyway) then prices at the counter will have to increase. But I hope not, because $50 for a game is steep enough for me to limit my purchases to two or four games per year.