Friday, May 30, 2008


Pay-by-the-month is the All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet System.

It doesn't pester people for money.

It isn't a waiter standing there making you pay him a quarter every time you want another bite of a sandwich.

Don't laugh, some people would actually like that pay-by-the-bite sandwich, and it isn't just the folks with tiny appetites who might not be able to eat a whole sandwich, the folks who would be getting ripped off if they had to buy a whole sandwich that they couldn't eat.

Its also the folks that like the attention of the waiter, like the old blue-haired ladies who make their doctors their best friends, 'cause they're lonely or they feel like they're getting more for their money if they can force some poor shmuck into giving them special attention and approval and they might as well make the guy entertain 'em a little while they're at it heh.

And the All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet isn't a salesman that follows you all around a store, either, telling you the prices of everything you look at with cha-ching symbols in his eyes.

And there's a lot of folks that especially don't wanna be followed around in a movie theater by a salesman making cha-ching noises when they're trying to relax and enjoy themselves heh.

That kinda thing is a hostile environment, you gotta keep your wits about you, something is out there that wants to prey upon you, you can't let your guard down and relax.

That's why it can be good to put that "exchange of money" thing out there in the invisible distance with a "less pestering" monthly fee, or better yet, a pay-for-three-months-save-three-bucks deal, so that the money thing ain't always hanging over folks, they can put that exchange-of-money shit right out of their mind and try to make the most of the All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet and enjoy themselves.

There's some sense that there's more ownership involved when you can rent something out for a whole month than there is when you need to pay by the hour too, but I'm not gonna get into that, that's really just some kinda weird illusion, the folks that play a pay-by-the-hour game know they can always get back in.

And folks do think about the pay-by-the-month deal as an All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet, where part of the fun is in how cheap you can make it if you really take advantage of it, don't try to lie to me about that, I've heard y'all say how cheap MMOGs are compared to going to the movies and stuff.

Unfortunately, there's another kind of folks, folks with tiny little appetites don't like the way they get "screwed" in an All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet, compared to the customers with big appetites, which, in today's world of games with monthly fees, is folks with more time to play.

There's folks that don't have a lot of time to make a pay-by-the-month game "pay off" and it doesn't seem fair that they should have to pay the same price as some Hungry Lumberjack that has ten times as much time to spend at the salad bar.

It really doesn't seem fair to me either, man, I'm actually with the tiny appetite people on that one, even though I personally don't wanna be pestered for money every hour (or worse, have a company selling items in some kinda online gambling casino game where they can not only create their own demand but create an endless supply to satisfy the demands they create, that's like an Antivirus Company that can write its own Viruses anytime it wants to beef up sales, y'know, fuck you very much, I got better things to waste my time with than that shit heh).

And there's another kind of guy that a pay-by-the-hour dealie or some kinda "micropayment" thingie appeals to, and that's the Family Guy.

The Family Guys need some kinda family pricing plan already, goddamit, its bad enough having to buy all the machines for everybody and keep 'em upgraded and running, let alone pay all the goddam subscription fees and the initial cost of each copy of the game and all that!

I'm on the Family Guy's side too, even though I only put up with that for a little while before I got rid of my woman and her "wife's computer" heh.

Y'know, you wanna be my woman and play games with me, you better be able to fix my computer and pay for all my shit ahaha.

I'm not exactly sure how to accomodate the Family Guy without a pay-by-the-hour thingie (and maybe a free client where you just need to pay for separate accounts), 'cause anything else I can think of would be taken advantage of by a lot of other folks who weren't Family Guys, and that would piss off the folks who wanna do it the All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet Leave Me the Hell Alone way without any Tom Foolery, and all of these pay-by-the-hour things may or may not donk around with the money you are making as the guy running the game, either by making it cheaper for everybody, or by pissing somebody (or everybody) off.

And there's probably something to be said for the way that monthly payments makes it easier for the guy running the game to keep things running stable and plan for the future and stuff, 'cause his income isn't all wobbly from day-to-day.

I mean, you can't just think about the games that make a ton more money than they need, that's like pretending that every dude with a band can be the most popular band in the world by following some simple ten step plan, that just ain't how things work heh.

Really the simple answer is that a good salesman knows that there's different kinds of customers but every customer needs to feel like they're getting at least as good a deal as everybody else and "making out" and even screwing the salesman a little (just a little), those are the Golden Rules, really.

You don't want PvP between your customers, you want PvE where you are the Dungeon Master playing a Salesman Monster where you are supposed to pretend to fall over and die at the appropriate point in the dance to maximize the entertainment value and satisfaction of the Heroic Customer heh.

This kinda junk gets into things with metrics that are really complex, 'cause you might make more money by charging 2 bucks a month with a free-to-download-client than you'd make with all sorts of fancy footwork and theatrics (like a pay-by-the-hour-in-the-background until-you-reach-the-monthly-fee deal, a combination of the pay-by-the-hour and pay-by-the-month schemes) to make people happy.

'Cause that Two Dollar Whore price-point is so cheap (compared to other things) that people are just gonna be like, "oh fuck it, y'know, its ten bucks a month for me and my wife and three kids to play this thing, and if I bug the guy making it, he's gonna charge me an extra buck for the cost of replacing the calories it took him to get all pissed off at how much of a fucking cheapskate I am!" ahaha.

Plus it all kinda depends on exactly what kinda game you got on your hands, y'know, mechanically and on the subjective side, compared to other things.

I mean, you can easily repackage the idea of a game into "twenty hours of content a month and all the french fries you can eat hanging out at the Oasis for however long you want" and then the monthly fee thing is like buying a sandwich every month and not renting a sandwich or paying by the bite.

And why isn't there a pay-by-the-minute or pay-by-the-second or pay-by-the-day discount plan with special weekend and non-prime hourly rates and all that fun stuff that you'd need a calculator to figure out heh.

And you could always quit calling it a "monthly fee" and start calling it a "door charge" just to screw with people's heads ahaha.

"Dude I don't wanna be trapped in Disney World for a whole month!"

"Can we leave or will they make us pay again when we want to get back in?"

"I dunno I haven't tried leaving yet!"

There's another advantage to monthly fees, in that you don't feel pressured to make the most of 'em, if they ain't expensive compared to other things.

I mean, think about the way you'd think about every hour you were paying for, if you were paying by the hour.

Or every minute, even worse.

"omfg! I gotta make every second count!"

When its a whole month fer cheap, you might just be willing to relax a little heh.

Yah, mebbe not ahaha.

I think that's really how it was supposed to work originally though.

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