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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 11 Different Customer Base
05-31-2012, 09:46 AM
I think STO has a different customer base than other PWE games that is the problem.

I don't see whats wrong with the good old business model.

Offer a good product at a good price and you will get good business.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 12
05-31-2012, 09:57 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by k4pt41nk4ng4r00
Hasnt PW been doing lock boxes much longer than STO? If there is a downward trend to be seen, they would already be aware of it.
They do see a downward trend. In China. Where the target is young Chinese people, probably predominantly male. Their downward trend is 3-5 years.

My point is that the downward trend here is probably steeper and faster. My guesstimate, accounting for age difference, and the lower population of US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany relative to China's population probably turns a 3-5 year downward trend there into an 11-18 month downward trend in the countries where Cryptic has a substantial chunk of its users.

Largely because the ability to replenish players with new ones is lower, whereas in China, replacements for lost customers are more plentiful. Also, with higher median incomes in the west, the big spenders probably contribute a much larger share of total revenue and so their burnout is much more felt.

I'd expect that less than 0.5% of players probably generate at least 10% of the game's revenue, probably a lot more.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 13
05-31-2012, 10:04 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliban149
A good analysis with some very valid conclusions.

However, I think you are underestimating addiction and sheer bloody mindedness.
You assume the person who blows $500 will quit, and yes this would be the sensible thing to do.
It would also be a sensible thing to do to quit spending once you past about $20 (the cost of a C-store ship) . . . and yet they continued.

Gamblers are rarely sensible individuals.

Having said that STO's lockboxes don't really offer enough in the way of mid level rewards to really sink the claws into the gambling addicts . . . you know the kind of reward that whilst not worth the amount of money already put in will still encourage them to keep trying.

Not that I want to give them ideas on how to exploit venerable people. . . .
Well, addiction comes with it another burden.

In general, wealthy people are frugal. I think we even see this with folks like Terilynn on Podcast UGC. She's well to do. She had no problem with lockboxes as sport. But she would never spend enough to be the target for the Lobi crystals and hates costumes being sold for that high a price.

There are studies on this. Wealthy people are bargain shoppers. Extravagant spenders tend to be people who live beyond their means and are unreliable customers because they'll wind up broke. And very poor people and sociologically estranged groups will offer more money than rich people will for the same items if you remind them of how poor they are. Which results in them getting perpetually overcharged while the truly wealthy are perhaps unconcerned with luxury spending (it doesn't bother them) but still considerably more value conscious.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 14
05-31-2012, 10:09 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by centersolace
The logic and arguments are sound from the view point of someone who is not a professional, now both Dunnlang's calculations, and the ridiculous lobi prices make sense.

But what i don't understand, is that this is a STAR TREK game, it would take years to incorporate the decades of material that the Star Trek IP is made up of into the game. It would take even longer if we add the various novels, comic books, and other video games, and with the new movies and countless fan works, there truly is an infinite pool of resources in the Star Trek IP.

What doesn't make sense, is that why is Cryptic and PWE adopting a strategy that guarantees a run for 3-5 years, when a game like STO could very well run indefinitely?
I think they want it to run longer but I think they're trying to adapt the business model, which is why they did the Lobi surveys.

Heck, I think that's their big task in bringing PWE to the west.

That financial report the other day referred to Cryptic as PWE's R&D division.

You don't suppose a big chunk of that R&D is about figuring out how much PW's Asian gaming monetization practices need to be tweaked so as to avoid losing customers in the west, do you?

Every lockbox has been slightly different. The first had no key. The second had a key. The third had a key and Lobi. I think they're looking for the sweet spot where lockboxes work in a western market.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 15
05-31-2012, 10:11 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan99
Every lockbox has been slightly different. The first had no key. The second had a key. The third had a key and Lobi. I think they're looking for the sweet spot where lockboxes work in a western market.
Yeah.... but I wonder if they will find it in time?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 16
05-31-2012, 10:16 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by centersolace
Yeah.... but I wonder if they will find it in time?
It depends. It sounds like they're spending R&D money on Cryptic, which could be offsetting other losses.

As long as STO has a good number of players and an upward trend in players who spend when the R&D money dries up, it might be fine.

They might be basically handing Cryptic some money to pad their budget in exchange for any losses they experience testing this stuff out.

Y'Know... "Okay. You lost 10,000 players last month. We'll compensate you for that. Now try something different next month..."
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 17
05-31-2012, 10:23 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by centersolace
What doesn't make sense, is that why is Cryptic and PWE adopting a strategy that guarantees a run for 3-5 years, when a game like STO could very well run indefinitely?
It's been pointed out that the license for Trek is very piecemeal and CBS is very finicky about it. Thus, why the game 'Birth of the Federation' didn't have, for example, TOS-era and TMP-era ships, only those ships that appeared on-screen of TNG-era shows. (Which really hurt that game. CBS should have realized that if you're going to do a Trek-themed Civ style game, you don't start out with Battleships and Riflemen, you start out with Settlers and Spearmen! )

But if they were to have access to the vast soft canon, there's almost no limit to stuff that can be added or inspiration for events. Almost anything right up until Destiny (and probably not including the Shatnerverse) is fair game.

They may want to stop short of Price of the Phoenix and the first draft of Killing Time. But a Final Reflection/HMFJTP-themed season? Sign me up for that!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 18
05-31-2012, 10:23 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan99
It depends. It sounds like they're spending R&D money on Cryptic, which could be offsetting other losses.
R&D is generic term for game development in fiscal reports. Because it shares many similarities to a research project with an end purpose of a commercial product. So it's the best terminology/column legal&financials managed to dub it under for their reports/contracts.
It doesn't mean it's an actual R&D or that STO is some bed-sheet for business model experiments.
All publishers refer to their development studios as R&D expenditures in their deficit/investment operational costs statements.
What happens is in STO is quite the standard "we bailed this failing project, now how do we turn the tables around on it?". So they try something, tweak it, gather data, decided if it works or not and what to change and try again.
If, in the end (several years in the future), STO remains unprofitable it may well be risking a shutdown.

Also, you need to look at Cryptic's portfolio as a whole rather than "is STO profitable? are lock boxes working?".
There are other projects in Cryptic and they're consolidated for calculations as a whole.
Seems that, if anything, the main focus is on Cryptic's NeverWinter project as primary on-going concern and hope for revenue.
Cryptic may be doing well with neverwinter, but it means next to nothing in terms of STO getting anything out of that. If anything, it'd only mean even less resources for STO and further polarized focusing onto NWN from Cryptic.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 19
05-31-2012, 10:36 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan99
IThat financial report the other day referred to Cryptic as PWE's R&D division.
I found that quote perplexing. This would explain why Cryptic was referred to that way.

Still a little depressing to see STO reduced to a psycho-economics experiment, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan99
Well, addiction comes with it another burden.

In general, wealthy people are frugal. I think we even see this with folks like Terilynn on Podcast UGC. She's well to do. She had no problem with lockboxes as sport. But she would never spend enough to be the target for the Lobi crystals and hates costumes being sold for that high a price.

There are studies on this. Wealthy people are bargain shoppers. Extravagant spenders tend to be people who live beyond their means and are unreliable customers because they'll wind up broke. And very poor people and sociologically estranged groups will offer more money than rich people will for the same items if you remind them of how poor they are. Which results in them getting perpetually overcharged while the truly wealthy are perhaps unconcerned with luxury spending (it doesn't bother them) but still considerably more value conscious.
I'm not sure I agree with this. Granted, I have less data and more 'gut feeling' (the singular of 'data' is not 'anecdote!') but I think some clarification may be in order. The wealthy aren't frugal per se; they have more of a buffer, more flexible spending, so they do not find themselves living beyond their means. They can easilly afford to live within their means for the neccessitites and for recurring costs (taxes, insurance, fees, etc.) You most often find people living beyond their means who are (a) dirt poor and have to choose between eating and paying the rent, and (b) mid-to-upper middle class who are desperately trying to live a lifestyle they think they can (and should) live but really can't. Which probably maps to the very poor and the 'sociologically estranged groups' you mention. But this is a discussion for another time, I think!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 20
05-31-2012, 10:53 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan99
They do see a downward trend. In China. Where the target is young Chinese people, probably predominantly male. Their downward trend is 3-5 years.
Source please.
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