But you know, I'm not so sure some of the people who spent their children's fund college money to get this ship will fall for the same gimmick again. Course I could be giving people far too much credit...[/quote]
I doubt many did spend their children's fund college money to get the ship,but if they did, I think it's not you, but their bank that is giving them too much credit.
But for the rest - yes, I think you're giving them too much credit. One year from now, I'd expect a similar amount of people to jump on the change to get a unique ship.
Is it a bad business model? Not for Cryptic. Some people paid Hundreds of $ for the hope of getting an item!
That's a great business model.
Or did you mean bad more in the sense of "morally and ethically questionable". Oh, that, maybe... But as long as it's not illegal and the money they make from it is more than they lose from disgusted customers leaving...
I read that as Buyers Bioware...
No, not in the sense or morals and ethics, but in the sense of maintaining its customer base. Is it illegal for them to use the model? The obvious answer is no. Cryptic is well within their rights to use such tactics to maximize profit.
Will it help their current customer base that such a model is being used? That remains to be seen. This is especially true in Feburary when the flood gates are open for F2Players. I for one question it, as its a Korean MMO model and I think STO does not fit that model.
How many ships can one buy? or for that matter, there is only a finite number os ship slots etc...
are all players ship fanatics?
Too many limited variables and unknowns - STO is not like most traditional MMO's that are not met with certain restrictions. That being copyright restrictions, canon issues, and game mechanic limitations. (Not saying that others MMO do not have restrictions, but I believe STO has many).
Cryptic studios will be more concern in maximizing profit than actually delivering true content, and in the end thats where this model falls short for this game, especially for STO, for some of the reasons mentioned above. I hope I am wrong, time will tell.
Taking a Chance on "Jackpot Items" - Problem in South Korea... Problem in the US?
News story today from GamePolitics.com about the South Korean Game Rating Board (GRB) accusing several MMO publishers of obstructing an investigation related to in-game "jackpot items." The crux of this investigation appears to be that players spend virtual currency for an unknown item. The item may be powerful, it may be worthless, but players are willing to shell out virtual dollars in the hopes that they will get the powerful item at a significantly reduced price.
I'm no expert on South Korean law, but in the US, this type of activity could well be legally problematic. Why? Because, as we've covered on this blog before, every US state has some form of law against illegal lotteries. And "jackpot items" could very well constitute an illegal lottery.
What exactly is a lottery? From a legal perspective, three things define a lottery: prize, chance, and consideration. Prize is usually defined as something of value, and clearly virtual items are "something" that has "value" (if they didn't, no one would spend virtual, or real, currency on them). So we've got prize. Moreover, chance is clearly present. Some players will get items of value, others will not. That just leaves consideration.
Consideration in the area of lottery law is something of a term of art. In can be generally understood as the giving of something of value, but this includes a significant expenditure of time, energy, or attention (this is in contrast to other areas of law, where consideration refers only to monetary value). Thus, for the "jackpot items"activity to be an illegal lottery, the exchange of virtual currency for a chance to get a great virtual item must constitute consideration.
Leaving aside those circumstances where a player buys virtual currency with real money (there's no question that would be consideration), does this impact every game on the planet, which necessarily involves the expenditure of time, energy, or attention to earn virtual currency, could be subject to lottery liability for "jackpot" items?
Perhaps, but I see a few problems with this.
First, most game players spend time with a game as a form of entertainment. I buy a game to play it, and the earning of virtual gold, items and badges is all part of the experience. Therefore, at the end of the day, I got full enjoyment from the fruits of my labor - my time spent playing the game, and earning virtual currency, yielded me exactly what I was hoping it would, an experience. My participation in a "jackpot" item activity is all part of that experience, not the sole reason I played the game (goldfarmers notwithstanding).
So, if the time I spent in the game was because I wanted the experience, and not because I wanted to earn money for jackpot item drawings, then perhaps the jackpot item activity doesn't have a consideration element. Of course, some argued this in the context of the Deal or No Deal text message cases, without much success. But unlike the Deal or No Deal cases, where the "experience" lasted a grand total of 10 seconds (or less) while you sent a text, in a video game the experience could be 50, 60, even 100 hours or more. I think it's hard to argue that the "experience" theory is little more than a cover for the sweepstakes - for me, it's the whole reason I play the game in the first place.
Second, it may be that virtual currency is obtainable without the need to either buy it or grind away earning it. What if every new player of a game was given 10 at the outset of the game, and was given the opportunity to participate in a "jackpot" item drawing? In this case, the new player didn't buy the gold, nor did the player spend significant time earning it. Arguing consideration in this case would be difficult, and made even more difficult if all "jackpot" item drawings were restricted to noobs.
Third, what if you removed the virtual currency element from the equation? What if you granted every player a "mystery item" upon leveling up? Sure, the player spent time leveling the character, but I cannot imagine anyone seeing this as a problem. Furthermore, this would strongly reinforce the "experience" theory espoused above.
The bottom line is that, when it comes to lottery laws, there is a real risk for US games companies. Not only are lottery laws enforced by federal agencies, they are also enforced by state agencies and consumers. This is the proverbial litigation trifecta - federal investigations, state investigations, and class actions. So knowing which side of the law you fall in can be incredibly helpful if you want to avoid significant legal costs and penalties.
If you have any questions about lottery law, you should speak with someone who is knowledgeable about this area if you have questions - this is not something you want to "take a chance" on (sorry, had to say it). - Posted on September 22, 2011 by Drew Boortz
I give credit to forum member Sakarak for posting this on another thread. I thought it was a interesting read and this thread needs this info.
Nagus, lifetime is for a life time, not for an arbitrary point of time YOU assigned to it. You are correct in that you have now paid LESS THAN what you would have paid if you remained on a monthly sub but you are and always will be paying for that access and all that comes with it. its not semantics it is factual a LIFE TIME SUBSCRIPTION is valued for a LIFE TIME and therefore each time period of that life time, has a cost to it, albeit minute at this point in time but it does and always will have a value assigned to it and nothing you say will negate that fact.
I spend my day arguing constructive possession Nagus, just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It does and it will always do so.
simply put a life time sub is for a life time and therefore that time of your life has a value hence you will be paying something for that access and what comes with it, including those points.
Kyuui - the point e's making is: No matter how you divide it - anyone who p[urchased an LTS at launch would have spent the same amount of money to stay subbed up to 2/2/12 (at the minimum 'old' subscription cost of $10.00 per month. Come 1/17/12 - anyone besides we LTS players who purchased when they first were made available - will need to continue to pay a subscription fee to receive the 400 CP stipend (effectively for them Cryptic is converting $5.00 'off the top' into CP for them.) We LTS folks whose LTS has paid for itself at that point will continue to receive the 400 CP stipend (and everything else a Gold subscribwer gets).
That's not suppositon - no matter how you add up what Cryptic was charging (and will continue to charge) Subscribers; at the minimum subscription cost - any CP stipend the LTS folks who piurchased it in January 2010 when it was first offered will be free CP that cost them no money. So, there will be a good amount of 'free CP' in the system.