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The Nickel & Dime Generation

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the talking-cents dept.

The Almighty Buck 358

Phaethon360 sends in a piece that looks at how quickly game costs can add up these days, now that DLC, microtransactions and standalone expansions are commonplace, writing, "If you were trying to the think of the most expensive games to play, Rock Band or a monthly-fee MMORPG would come to mind. But Halo 3 is right up there, too." It's reminiscent of a recent post at IncGamers where the author tallied up how much he'd spent on World of Warcraft over the past several years, and was astonished to realize it numbered in the thousands of dollars.

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358 comments

DLC (5, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578207)

That's a total of 4 years and 8 months as of right now. That means that I've paid $14.95 a month for 56 months. That's $837.20.

Considering that's almost 5 years of entertainment and actually a good game, is that really so much. Like he notes, it comes down to $14.95 a month - pretty much every other hobby costs a lot more per month, while still providing less in back in terms of time spent.

Microtransactions and DLC's is a good way. If you like the game, you get more of what you like. It's not like you *have to* buy them. Patches in my opinion should be for game balancing or bug fixes - DLC's and expansions for things that add content to the game. However some companies, like Valve, release DLC's (TF2, Left4dead) for free on PC too.

Re:DLC (4, Funny)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578313)

it comes down to $14.95 a month - pretty much every other hobby costs a lot more per month, while still providing less in back in terms of time spent.

Considering 3 games per month, $40 avg price, you're saving 105 right there. Then consider the cost of tuition, gf, wife upgrade, and possibly kids. The savings are astronomical!

Re:DLC (5, Funny)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578539)

I think wife + kids addon and games are incompatible. You could try installing a different distribution of gf but I haven't had any successes yet.

Re:DLC (5, Funny)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578613)

There's no way to get it to work in the long run, trust me. Reformatting's just plain prohibitively expensive and time consuming which only leaves dual-bootying which is almost impossible to start up properly and usually ends in a complete system failure if they ever interact in the slightest way.

Re:DLC (3, Funny)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578629)

I find it more interesting if the gf doesn't herself play that much, so your whole life doesn't start to be just one thing. Of course it sometimes sucks to be sucked in to "boring" sounding places, but its a good change.

And when she does play something then, its more fun. I can take a beer and watch while she plays GTA Vice City. Or when she comes get me to bed at 4am after a long hours of Left4Dead, while watching me finishing the game all sleepy.

For that matter my father plays a lot too (and used to play when we we're kids too). Even so that calling to come to eat was sometimes done in WoW whispers :)

Re:DLC (2, Funny)

mrboyd (1211932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578663)

From what I saw wife is a mandatory upgrade for gf if you want to keep playing past a certain level. I've heard of account being canceled when some player tried to avoid it. The kid dlc is a sneak update, you can install it yourself on both gf or wife edition but if you don't it will be pushed to your account at some point anyway.

Re:DLC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578865)

women are only needed for procreation. if you don't plan on raising spawn then stay away from women. They possess an evil that will drain your life and wallet slowly and painfully......

Re:DLC (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578441)

>>>>>I've paid $14.95 a month for 56 months. That's $837.20.
>>
>>pretty much every other hobby costs a lot more per month

Yes but it's not necessary to spend all that cash on just ONE game. I bought DDR for just $20 and it still entertains me all these years later. Why spend hundreds of dollars when a single twenty will give just as much fun?

Re:DLC (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578489)

P.S.

And if I ever get tired of DDR, I can always sell it on ebay and recover most of my $20. Good luck trying to recover your $840 worth of online gaming.

Re:DLC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578543)

Or get OpenITG and a $15 ps2=>usb converter.

(ITG is better anyways)

Re:DLC (-1, Troll)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578833)

who "gets tired" of DDR? My problem is moving to an apartment that wasn't on the ground floor. No more DDR for me.

Re:DLC (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578515)

I bought DDR for just $20 and it still entertains me all these years later. Why spend hundreds of dollars when a single twenty will give just as much fun?

If I want to play exactly that game, another game isn't going to do it even if it's just as fun. This is the same reason a gamer wont be moving to Linux even when it has some good games working on it too. But it's not the game he wants to play.

Games aren't like food or a home which you pretty much need for living. If the games entertainment value is justified for the price for you, then buy it and play it. If not, be without and play something else. It's not required for your living. That's why whining about the prices is stupid and as long as market keeps buying with those prices, they will be that amount.

Re:DLC (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578591)

pretty much every other hobby costs a lot more per month, while still providing less in back in terms of time spent.

Try masturbation, its worth every penny.

Re:DLC (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578755)

... and it can be as normal or as twisted [theonion.com] as you want.

Re:DLC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578607)

Older online games like BF1942/BF2 or CounterStrike are remarkable bargains: one time fee of 50$ for years of entertainment.

Re:DLC (2, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578633)

Considering that's almost 5 years of entertainment and actually a good game, is that really so much. Like he notes, it comes down to $14.95 a month - pretty much every other hobby costs a lot more per month

Hmm... that depends. It's easy to find cheap hobbies: knitting, painting (some kinds), writing, many sports (football, running, swimming), gardening, reading, walking.

There are also plenty of expensive hobbies: flying/gliding, skiing, motor racing.

Then there are ones where you spend as much as you like: watching sport or live music are the most obvious -- see a big band/team for £60, or a smaller one for £12 or one that's not very good yet (almost free, or free).

And ones with a large upfront cost, but very small (even zero) ongoing costs: photography, playing an instrument.

One of my hobbies is cycling, which for me has a negative cost -- I enjoy cycling to work, which saves me £664 a year on a train pass. I had to buy the bike, but I spent less than that, and the bike will last more than a year.

Re:DLC (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578773)

It's easy to find cheap hobbies: knitting, painting (some kinds), writing, many sports (football, running, swimming), gardening, reading, walking.

I play soccer. I spend more playing that in a recreational league (the cheapest one in the state that I know of) than on a WoW subscription. I enjoy reading. I admit that I don't work at keeping reading costs down (I'm often buying books and then giving them away to others), but I spend more on books than a WoW subscription. Swimming? Where do you swim? Swim once a week at a pool and you pay more than WoW, own your own pool and you are way way above that. Every gardener I know pays more than a WoW subscription for their hobby. If you like popcorn, WoW is cheaper than one movie a month. Wow, as hobbies go, is cheap. You have to work hard to find hobbies that cost less. 5 years of WoW is still less than what my coworker paid for his PS3, and he pays 3-5 times WoW's subsctiption on top of that in games.

Re:DLC (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578653)

I bought HL2 for PC, it cost ~£30 (DOD:S may have required another ~£30) and ive been playing HL2,DOD:S,dystopia,PVK,etc for 5 years (well on/off) total cost = £30 (numbers may be off)
In my gaming peak (15-18) i played almost games every night (and im talking 5-6hrs sessions), total cost was £300 for the PC (+£200 for fubaring my farther's), £20 (hl generations)+£20 (bfv) + £40 (BF2) = ~£600 (including hardware) [I'm not sure on converting the digits as game prices don't follow currency or inflation much] which is much less that $837.20 + console (+ second console when 1st one red rings)

PC gaming is for suckers!

Gold account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578227)

Any XBox 360 game is expensive if microsoft continue to charge users to play online...

Re:Gold account (3, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578589)

Any XBox 360 game is expensive if microsoft continue to charge users to play online...

Well it's all because of those damn pirates. I mean if people would stop copying games, usually kids and others who don't have the financial means to do otherwise, or even those who wouldn't pay for it anyway, then money would magically appear in their pockets and they would be willing to spend this magical money on games. Then all the games in the world would be cheap! Because that's how unfairly treated EA and Blizzard and Microsoft are, struggling in this harsh and cruel world to barely make ends meet.
 
Not following? Me neither.
 
Disclaimer: I'm not for or against piracy, I keep my worthless morals to myself, and you keep your worthless morals to yourself. I'm just exposing bullshit.

Re:Gold account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578625)

It has nothing to do with piracy! or the cost of games, but, any xbox game has an added expense if microsoft charge their "customers" a monthly fee for the "priviledge" of playing games online!

Re:Gold account (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578703)

It has nothing to do with piracy! or the cost of games, but, any xbox game has an added expense if microsoft charge their "customers" a monthly fee for the "priviledge" of playing games online!

Come on, are you honestly saying that you haven't heard this bullshit argument? Even for online games?

A fool and his money are soon parted. (2, Funny)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578231)

See title. 'Nuff said.

It is immoral and unethical... (5, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578279)

...to leave a fool with any money.

This is taught in business ethics 101, and reiterated in all subsequent business ethics classes.

Re:It is immoral and unethical... (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578463)

>>>It is immoral and unethical to leave a fool with any money.

Hey Barak, is dat u? I cant sy I like ur new 80% tax rate, but I love u man! Ur so hot.

Re:It is immoral and unethical... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578557)

What happened to you man. You used to be insightful. You used to be funny. Now you're just a bore.

Re:It is immoral and unethical... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578731)

baraknaphobia got to him, it appears.

Re:It is immoral and unethical... (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578853)

>>>baraknaphobia got to him, it appears.

I haven't changed. I've always disliked big spenders that borrow money and drive us deeper into debt ($130,000 per U.S. home and climbing). BTW did you know, due to the recession, Social Security is now projected to go bankrupt in 2017? Yay.

"On pages 201 and 202 of the Medicare report, you will find the conclusive arithmetic: over the next 75 years, Social Security and Medicare will cost an estimated $103.2 trillion, while dedicated taxes and premiums will total only $57.4 trillion. The gap is $45.8 trillion." - Why Social Security Should Go Broke Faster | Newsweek, http://www.newsweek.com/id/199167 [newsweek.com]

Re:A fool and his money are soon parted. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578297)

It's not foolish to pay for something you like and enjoy. Even less so because with DLC's and micropayments you've played the game already, know you like it and then pay for more content for your favorite game.

Re:A fool and his money are soon parted. (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578499)

I agree. But apparently the WoW player had no idea about how much he would spend on the game. He even actively admitted this in TFA.

Late in TFA he somehow justified (albeit not without reluctance) the spending, but as far as I can see the whole thing was quite far from money wisely spent.

Maybe he really didn't care. Hell, it doesn't seem he's going broke because of this. Then again, why the whining?

Re:A fool and his money are soon parted. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578505)

Funny. That's what my brother said when he spent $3000 on a push lawnmower. I still think he's a fool. I coulda bought one off amazon for less than $200... fewer features perhaps but it still makes the grass short.

Re:A fool and his money are soon parted. (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578637)

Does it cut the grass with lasers or something?

Re:A fool and his money are soon parted. (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578705)

What push mower sells for $3,000?

Re:A fool and his money are soon parted. (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578665)

It's not foolish to pay for something you like and enjoy.

However many things are foolish to like and enjoy.

Re:A fool and his money are soon parted. (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578779)

"It's not foolish to pay for something you like and enjoy."

True. But to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on something you enjoy, and not really realize that you're doing that until later, takes a first-class moron.

Quit the WarCrack now, kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578241)

...lest you end up like this kid ;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPWnyOvSXoE

Re:Quit the WarCrack now, kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578247)

fake and not even funny

GranTurismo 5 (1, Insightful)

Walterk (124748) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578255)

The only game I regularly play is GranTurismo, and with version 5 they're going to introduce micropayments as well, appearently if you want to buy all cars and all tracks, it will set you back several thousand dollars. Come on! With GT4, you got all cars and all tracks in the single payment! It's just a total rip off. Makes me think twice about actually buying it when it'll come out and that with my favourite game ever. Any other game with micro payments would not enter my house hold.

Re:GranTurismo 5 (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578309)

appearently if you want to buy all cars and all tracks, it will set you back several thousand dollars. Come on!

[citation needed]

Re:GranTurismo 5 (2, Informative)

Walterk (124748) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578497)

Re:GranTurismo 5 (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578583)

Okay so *hundreds* of dollars instead of thousands. Still a ripoff. Meanwhile the music industry is trying to plot ways so you *rent* your songs rather than buy them for life, and the banking industry is hitting Americans with numerous fees, and the electric companies are raising rates to offset carbon credits, and ......

No wonder the typical person carries $10,000 in credit card and $70,000 in mortgage debt. They are being soaked for money such that they can't catch up.

Re:GranTurismo 5 (1)

Ksempac (934247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578609)

Quoted from your article "By Luke Smith, 09/20/2006"

Considering we're in 2009, that the game still isn't out, and that they're was multiple changes made to the game and it's release schedule during theses years, i wouldn't put much faith in that article now.

Re:GranTurismo 5 (1)

Walterk (124748) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578671)

Yeah, so by the time it comes out, it will have 4 years worth of inflation bolted on top.

Re:GranTurismo 5 (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578657)

Should've put that behind a "let me google that for you" link for the [Citation Needed] troll.

Re:GranTurismo 5 (4, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578761)

The microtransaction-focused game, Gran Turismo HD: Classic will be the online-focused entrant into the GT-series

That's not Gran Turismo 5 tho, but Gran Turismo HD (which is cancelled already - the news is from 2006)

If you can't afford it. then... (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578267)

Don't play the game. It is only a game.

I can see whining and bitching about prices for things that we need to function in modern society. Homes, Transportation, energy, food etc... But video games just let the market decide what will happen if it is too expensive and you don't want to pay that amount then don't buy the game. It is only a game you don't need it. If you think you do then you are a shill to marketing.

Re:If you can't afford it. then... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578327)

I agree. The only problem with the entertainment industry is that unlike the housing, transportation, energy industries, if a mass of people vote with their wallet then some companies will write it off as piracy increasing as opposed to people being turned off by gouging and making a monetary vote.

As it is right now, I don't buy any new blockbuster game not only due to its price, but due to the fact that if I wait two years I can get a "gold edition" or a "game of the year edition" with all the content people were nickel and dimed for at 40% of the price of the standalone game.

Re:If you can't afford it. then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578381)

Your point is irrelevant, the article is not whining, you are.

Re:If you can't afford it. then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578419)

Your point is irrelevant, the article is not whining, you are.

From article:

If this sounds a little bit like a rant, well, it is.

Your reading skills are amazing.

My New MMORPG ... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578271)

is called The Road to Serfdom. I think you would make an excellent beta tester. Are you interested?

Nickel and diming is everywhere (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578287)

Be ready for nickel and diming across the board. I see strategic war games on Steam selling sprite packs for $2.50.

Browsing around yesterday, I knew that when I saw a "Buy today and get four landmarks free" advertisement for CitiesXL [citiesxl.com] (MMO SimCity) that if I were look into its pricing scheme a bit more, I'd be in for a doozy: $9 a month to play with "free" content each month, followed by add-on packs called GEMs. Right now people are in an uproar over it because the general impression is that people will need to start paying the monthly fee to have access to mass transit in their single-player cities, something many consider an essential part of a city/world-building game as opposed to an optional add-on.

In my mind, ignoring facts that I'm sure will prove otherwise, nickel and diming all started with Elder Scrolls: Oblivion's horse armor for $2.50 :)

Re:Nickel and diming is everywhere (1)

BenevolentP (1220914) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578651)

I am not opposed to paid DLC, though I usually have played the game to a point where some minor expansion packs can't rekindle that interest when they come out.

The most ridiculous PAID DLC was for Tales of Vesperia. You could actually buy 5 levels for your character. In a non-MMORPG. So you don't have to level up in a single player RPG.

That's a little like buying an autopilot for a Truck driving simulator.

Well, duh (1)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578295)

It's reminiscent of a recent post at IncGamers where the author tallied up how much he'd spent on World of Warcraft over the past several years, and was astonished to realize it numbered in the thousands of dollars.

Don't forget to include the cost of Cheetos and HoHos.

But seriously, it's entertainment, and, compared to a lot of other things one could be doing (going to the movies, fly fishing, buying new hardcover books, restoring classic cars, etc.) it's relatively inexpensive. Yeah, sure, the cost adds up, but it does on everything. How much have you spent on rent, mortgage interest, food, shoes, or transportation? You want dumb? Consider how much people spend on cars between the device itself, maintenance, fuel, and insurance versus what percentage of their time they actually spend in it.

DLC is great (4, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578325)

for the developers:

CEO: "Are we going to meet the release date?"
Project Manager: "Most of the game is done, but not all the bonus maps have been completed or tested yet"
CEO: "You'll just have to pull all nighters until it's done"
Project Manager: "Well I was thinking that we could just release that stuff as (paid) DLC when the game launches"
CEO: "Kind of like how you'd release a patch to fix a hideous software bug you only noticed just before game went live?"
Project Manager: "Exactly, and that leads me to my next point..."

Re:DLC is great (2, Funny)

Xoron101 (860506) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578793)

If you've ever worked for a software development development company, it goes a little more like this:

CEO: "Are we going to meet the release date?"
Project Manager: "Most of the work is done, but we still have some bugs to work out"
CEO: "Release it, we need the revenue"
Project Manager: "But it's still pretty buggy, users are going to notice and not be happy about it"
CEO: "Release it, we need the revenue"
Project Manager: "I really think we should push the release date out a couple of weeks"
CEO: "You're fired!!!"

CEO: "Head lead developer, we need to release this software ASAP"
Lead Developer: "Yes Sir!"

Re:DLC is great (1, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578889)

I'll see your scenario and raise you a more wacky one:

Ballmer: "Is Windows Vista ready?"
Project Manager: "Not even close"
Ballmer: "OK, release it anyway, finish the OS later and re-sell it as a new version"
Project Manager: "?????"
Ballmer: "Profit"

Why single out games? (5, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578359)

It's reminiscent of a recent post at IncGamers where the author tallied up how much he'd spent on World of Warcraft over the past several years, and was astonished to realize it numbered in the thousands of dollars

TV services will add up to thousands of dollars in ONE year, not several.

If your hobby is auto tuning or off-roading that souped up sports car or SUV will gobble through even more money a year in parts and gas than the afore mentioned TV bills.

Is your hobby reading? Only a fraction of titles are available in the libraries of most municipalities, this means at least as much as WoW a month if not more.

The point is this is nothing new. Every generation has had its "nickel and dime", it's the nature of all hobbies.

Re:Why single out games? (2, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578473)

Because companies intentionally cripple games and then charge you extra to get the full game. THAT is why. When you pay for HBO, HBO doesn't leave out certain shows that you have to pay extra for or only show you 3/4 of an episode and you have to pay extra for the rest of the episode. When you buy a car, they don't sell you the car and then say "oh, well you have to pay another $5,000 if you want a FUEL tank. What? You want to be able to turn it on? Well that's another $4,500 for the ignition!" That kind of garbage is the problem with DLC.

Re:Why single out games? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578565)

They sell you a car which works completely, but for extras like leather seats, a fancy paint job, cruise control, etc. they charge you. That's what DLC is.

Re:Why single out games? (1)

bstreiff (457409) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578887)

And when you turn around and sell that car, you can sell the leather seats, fancy paint job, cruise control, etc. as well. Not so with most forms of DLC; those are usually tied into an account in some way making them impossible to resell.

Re:Why single out games? (4, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578579)

Because companies intentionally cripple games and then charge you extra to get the full game. THAT is why. When you pay for HBO, HBO doesn't leave out certain shows that you have to pay extra for or only show you 3/4 of an episode and you have to pay extra for the rest of the episode. When you buy a car, they don't sell you the car and then say "oh, well you have to pay another $5,000 if you want a FUEL tank. What? You want to be able to turn it on? Well that's another $4,500 for the ignition!" That kind of garbage is the problem with DLC.

When you pay for cable though you don't get all the channels. You have to pay for HBO, Showtime, ESPN sports packages, then there's pay-per-view, on demand fees, and lets not forget a separate category for HD feeds.

When you buy a car you don't get all the features either. You might say "oh those aren't necessary", but I hear stories from my mother about cars and HOMES without air conditioning a few decades ago.

Do I think the practice is abusive? hell yeah! It should be fought tooth and nail too!, but this article makes it seem unique, which is far from the case.

Re:Why single out games? (1)

Leolo (568145) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578891)

Neither my car nor my home has air conditioning. I consider both nice to have, but unnecessary.

Re:Why single out games? (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578597)

No, but for a new car the paint is a separate cost. Yet I can't get an unpainted car. You don't get pay per view shows (wrestling) without throwing out something extra. Server companies will charge you for a piece of paper to run more processors on their servers. When the socket is there either way. ISP and phone companies are legendary for charging extra without even asking you. I would say this is the systemic. Do I like it? No. Should something be done about it? Maybe. The only thing that I see fixing it is people voting with where their money goes.

Re:Why single out games? (1)

paulhar (652995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578605)

We don't have HBO here but we have Sky with Sky Sports. You pay for the Sports channel and get it, except for the premium content (boxing matches etc) where you have to pay extra to see the event (PPV).

When I buy a car I'm asked "oh well, if you want bigger alloys and a bad boy spoiler then you have to pay another £5,000".

Instead of complaining that once you've got something that everything else derived from it must be free (included) why not just be happy with whatever you get for whatever you've paid for. If new content comes along that is compelling to you - buy it, or don't.

Re:Why single out games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578621)

HBO is the DLC of cable. So is pay-per-view. It has it's market there, and it'll have it's market in video games too. If you don't like what the game ships, and don't want to pay the extra then spend your money on other games.

The industry is still in it's evil little infancy trying to see how far it can push the boundaries.

Re:Why single out games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578635)

How is this insightful? Unless you are paying for bug fixes disguised as DLC (which probably happens too), the analogy is nonsense. It should go:

When you buy a car, they sell you the car and you can drive off in it. "oh, well you have to pay another $1000 if you want it painted shiny purple instead. What? You want to be able to deafen a neighborhood? Well, that's another $2000 for the jumbo sized subwoofers in the back."

Re:Why single out games? (3, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578643)

Because companies intentionally cripple games and then charge you extra to get the full game. THAT is why. When you pay for HBO, HBO doesn't leave out certain shows that you have to pay extra for or only show you 3/4 of an episode and you have to pay extra for the rest of the episode. When you buy a car, they don't sell you the car and then say "oh, well you have to pay another $5,000 if you want a FUEL tank. What? You want to be able to turn it on? Well that's another $4,500 for the ignition!" That kind of garbage is the problem with DLC.

No but they might offer alloy wheels, metalic paint, a sun roof, cruise control, built in GPS, a Carlos Fandango trim kit, and an upgraded stereo at extra cost. Is that so different?

Re:Why single out games? (0, Troll)

ojintoad (1310811) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578733)

As an example of a company crippling its games, I heard Windows 7 will include Micropayments for it's classic games. For instance:

Soltaire, Spider Solitaire, and FreeCell come with only half a deck. 99cents for a full one per game.

Minesweeper has only the small board. 99cents for the medium and large ones each.

Pinball, in an effort to be more true to life, will charge you 50cents per game.

Knowing Microsoft this will probably expanded to other areas of the operating system. Maybe, we can pay 2.00 to have images display on our screens, or 1.00 per hour for use of the windows calculator. Start menu clicks going for 5 cents each for a limited time!

Re:Why single out games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578789)

I can only say that someone is twisting your arm out of its socket. My cable package is €15/month and includes television, radio and internet. (My "television" is a €50 circuit board in my computer.) Anyway, to get back to the point, entertainment has its price. We know that and accept that. But sometimes you look back upon your spending and can't help but think "I could have had just as much fun for a lot less bucks" and this is for lots of folks true of mmorpgs. It has probably something to do with the psychology of a small subscription versus a big (I went shopping yesterday; €50 is apparently common for games nowadays, but you can do better in the last year's games bin) up-front price - it just sort of creeps up on you.

keep paying (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578423)

suckers

Cost per hour (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578471)

wonder what his /played totals? I can't look at mine. The money is nothing compared to the time wasted. Generally I think of WoW as saving my entertainment dollar. What other entertainment could you possible find for $15 a month. Heck Netflix costs more. Of course if you want to go crazy add in the net connection, the new PC every couple of years, the junkfood for raiding, and the gym membership that you got to take off the raiding pounds (but have never used)

Re:Cost per hour (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578611)

Yeah, I agree. WoW costs $15/month, or more like $12 if you're on the 6 month subscription. That's what, the equivalent of an Xbox game every 4 months (or 5 on the cheaper plan)?

Very few 360 games provide four months worth of play time. If you actually enjoy MMOs, they are a bargain. (And if you don't, then you should take your money elsewhere.)

Re:Cost per hour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578695)

Actually netflix costs around $9-$12 / month if you only want to take out one DVD at a time (while watching as many movies as you can stomach streaming).

Three Words (5, Interesting)

BigMeanBear (102490) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578475)

Magic The Gathering

Re:Three Words (1)

TheBilgeRat (1629569) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578683)

Thread over. I can't even count the dough I laid down on cards in the three years I played this heavily.

Re:Three Words (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578803)

Used cards bins, my friend. For a $10 limit, I built four awesome, custom decks.

They may just get a seat. (0, Offtopic)

shitdrummer (523404) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578495)

They may just get a seat.

One of our current federal senators is Seven Fielding, of the christian political party called Family First. http://www.stevefielding.com.au/ [stevefielding.com.au]

That fool got his seat with only 1.8% of the primary vote. The remainder were on preferences.

Re:They may just get a seat. (1)

shitdrummer (523404) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578529)

Oops. Wrong topic. Must be a bug in the system. Couldn't possibly have been user error.

I JUST LOST THE GAME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578511)

...

Poor examples. See Fallout 3 for better one. (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578567)

Warcraft is a poor example of where it is hurting the player, MMORPGs have always charged and if they provide new content it usally saves the player money because they are not out purchasing new $50 games.
Where you can see DLC hurting the player is with Fallout 3 and similar. It use to be you could purchase an expansion pack for $20-$30 and it had plenty of new content to last the average player a few extra weeks. With Fallout 3 you have them charging $10 per DLC with the DLC aimed for 2-3 nights of play. So Fallout 3 DLCs costs the player $50 and less content them a previous $30 expansion would of had.

Re:Poor examples. See Fallout 3 for better one. (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578677)

In other words, you're a WoW fan but not a Fallout 3 fan...

I, on the other hand, have never played WoW & have no plans to, so cannot really comment on it.

But I do play Fallout 3, which I bought some months after release in a "3 for £25" offer ($40 approx or $13 per game). So far, I've bought two of the DLC expansions, one of which adds additional levels over the original limit of 20 to 30 - so I could argue that expansion alone increases the gameplay time by an additional 50%.

So I cannot make a comparison to WoW but your figures for Fallout 3 don't stack up, I'm afraid - especially as I am over here in supposedly "Rip-Off Britain".

MMO's save money. (1)

Capsy (1644737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578581)

Look at it this way. You pay $14.95 a MONTH to play WoW. Now, granted you have to buy the games as well, which will cost anywhere from $20-$40, you're essentially paying $15 a month to be entertained. Now, being a one time payment every month, MMO's have a nasty tendency of destroying a social life. This is fantastic if you love to save money, because you wont be dropping $18 for those two movie tickets and another $10-$20 on snacks for the movie. That's just one night. Now, the average pack of ramen noodles (gamer's food) is roughly 50 cents. That's at a maximum. Now, given that any average sized human being, meaning around 5'6" - 5'11" and around 100-180 lbs, you'll eat roughly two packets of ramen noodles every 3-4 hours. Now, tack on that 12-pack of Dr. Pepper, which is around $5, and you're spending about $9-10 a day. So, $15 plus $10 a day for 30 days on average, is $315 dollars a month. This is the figure we will go for a WoW gamer. Now, on the same token, if you work, you're spending about $5 in gas to get to work and back, probably $5.49 for that value meal at McDonald's, and then $15 for the pizza every night because you're just too damn tired to cook for yourself. So, on average, that'd be $25.50 a day, plus that $30 you spent on one night at the movies with someone. So, that brings us to... $795 for the person who complains that they spend too much money on MMO's. That's even BEFORE you factor in an active social life which involves, but is not all inclusive, gambling, drinking, partying, bowling, more movies, dates, etc. I think I'll stick to staying at home with my son and playing WoW thanks. Saves me some epic cash.

Re:MMO's save money. (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578767)

Wow, $15 for a pizza. A frozen pizza in the supermarket costs far far less than that. Anyway, I assume that WoW addicts are far more likely to order out for fast food beceause that's only a minute or two away from the computer, compared to the five minutes spent preparing noodles, etc.

Actually, most of them get their mothers to bring their dinner down to the basement.

Re:MMO's save money. (1)

Capsy (1644737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578877)

Wow, stereotyping us as mom's house basement dwellers? I have a son and live by myself with him. Therefore, I make my own food, you fool.

MMOs are amazingly cheap entertainment (2, Informative)

ccdotnet (786114) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578667)

Might not have been his intention, but the author has basically proven that MMOs, in terms of the game fee itself, are incredibly cheap entertainment.

He also demonstrates that stupid people will spend stupid amounts of money on MMO-related bits and pieces. That's not the cost of playing the game.

And surely paying the 1-month-at-a-time fee of $15 is fine when you're trying it out, but surely at some point in the 4 year 8 month saga you realise you're going to stick with it for a while, and take one of the cheaper/longer sub options. Even if he takes 8 months of "eval" to arrive at that conclusion, using 6 month subs saves him $100 over the next 4 years.

Breaking news! (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578685)

the author tallied up how much he'd spent on World of Warcraft over the past several years, and was astonished to realize it numbered in the thousands of dollars.

So the author's incompetence in 2nd grade mathematics is suppose to make this news how?

He knew what he was getting into when he signed up. Just because he's reflecting on the price years into it doesn't mean it's a rip off. This isn't like getting your car tuned up for some amazing low price only to find out they stack fee after fee that double the price. Anyone who's doing anything on a subscription basis should understand what they're getting into as they get into it. Anything short of that is just foolishness on their part.

Sneaking in everywhere (2, Interesting)

Skraut (545247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578687)

As a big hockey fan I picked up NHL 10, to play with friends on their online league, the EASHL. In past years the game just featured "real" equipment that the players in the league wore, and you could chose any of that for your character.

This year they featured customized "cool" equipment with boost slots. So a piece of equipment could be unlocked with 3 boost slots, and then up to 3 boosts could also be unlocked and added to it. So suddenly if you decided you wanted your character to look like he rides the short bus, you could actually increase your character up to 60 points, which is a major increase, considering leveling up your character fully only gets you about a 75 point increase.

EA set most of these "unlockables" to some really impossible tasks. Play 4 seasons, manually playing at least 40 games each season and score X number of goals each season. If somebody has a month, they could probably achieve this, but because these would be used in a competitive league, people wanted them now and EA allowed people to purchase them. $3 per equipment, $2 per boost. Maxing out the boost equipment on your guy comes to roughly $40, yet if you don't you're at a disadvantage from those who either have too much time and can unlock, or too much money and can just buy it all.

I bought one or two pieces to try and keep up, and would probably have bought more but my 360 RROD'd and its given me time to think. I doubt I'll buy a $60 game in the future where the part of the game I'm most likely to play will cost me a full $100, then I'll be fully expected to do it again next year.

Is WoW really nickel and diming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578691)

At the risk of being deemed a heretic, I'd argue that World of Warcraft is not a good example of nickel and diming, as they seem to have struck the right balance between giving the base players an excellent value for their money, while letting the more fanatical players pay tremendous amounts of money for things that are -- and this is key -- absolutely superficial as far as gameplay goes.

I think that's the perfect way of doing things. For players like myself, who just want to play the base game, I can experience 100% of the content the game has to offer at the price of the monthly fee + game + expansion packs, all of which are a great value. No, I won't have a shimmering translucent mount to ride. No, I won't have a set of Nerf bats to play with. No, I won't have a murloc pet following me around, and frankly I don't care. I just want to quest and raid.

For those that want to pay more, they can shell out $40 for a video feed of BlizzCon just to get a pet, shell out $100 for a case of World of Warcraft's Magic:The Gathering cards to try to win some mount or pet, buy the books, buy the pricey sword replicas, figures, etc.

A World of Warcraft player could easily blow thousands a year, but at the end of the day, we'll both be happy with the in-game experience we've had and I won't feel like I'm at any sort of in-game disadvantage despite the difference in "investment."

There are more expensive hobbies (1)

Ragoscy (1646505) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578707)

One of my hobbies is kayaking and canoeing. With three kayaks, two canoes, and all the other supplies needed just to be safe and fun, I already have more than $5,000 spent. Then tack on the price of traveling to the water whenever I want to get some paddle time in. I have no idea how much I have spent in the last five years, but I would say it's more than $15,000. I think that's money well spent, because it is for something that I have a lot of fun doing. If WOW is your thing, and it's fun for you, then $1,000 per year is well worth it.

All Software an MMO (1)

happy_place (632005) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578709)

The irony is that this system works. Almost all software companies envy the MMO's and would love to charge you a yearly/monthly/hourly/etc subscription rate to use their products. It means that you've a garanteed clientele and enables marketing to focus on content and improvements as the product matures, rather than having it all perfect before it is sold. It is not nearly as unpredictable as the model that requires a certain number of sales to break even, because the server support is scalable. Personally I've avoided MMOs cuz I've always loved the RPG, and no doubt I'd be totally addicted if I joined one. My current (writing and sketching) hobbies cost me much less than a typical MMO would. It's kinda interesting that the subscription based software model hasn't worked as well in other areas of software. Perhaps its due to the fact that there are free and cheaper alternatives.

Oh no! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578721)

It's OK that I've wasted thousands of hours of my life playing games. But now that I've realized I'm spending money too, well, that's just ridiculous!

WoW is cheap because it becomes your life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29578725)

It's reminiscent of a recent post at IncGamers where the author tallied up how much he'd spent on World of Warcraft over the past several years, and was astonished to realize it numbered in the thousands of dollars.

Yeah, but he saved more than that because of not having a social life which involves travel, lots of drinks, meals in restaurants. Girlfriends require even more costs, whereas in-game "relationships" are cheap.

However the fast food deliveries should also be factored in, if he would have had far cheaper alternatives (home cooked or even ready meals) if he had the time to spare from grinding in WoW.

Halo 3 numbers- so what? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578737)

Just to translate into real UK prices we have FTA:

        * Halo 3 (standard retail SKU): £30
        * Heroic Map Pack (DLC): £7
        * Legendary Map Pack (DLC): £7
        * Mythic Map Pack (DLC): £7
        * Total cost: £51

and here's the important point, OR:

        * Halo 3 (standard retail SKU): £30
        * Halo 3 ODST (standard retail SKU): £30
        * Total cost: £60 (but includes whole extra ODST game on top)

His numbers are stupid. You can't factor XBox live in because it's not a Halo 3 only requirement anymore than your internet connection or electricity bill is so I've outright removed that as it's not a Halo 3 cost. I've separated it into two sections because Halo 3 ODST comes with all the map packs he listed. ODST is in itself a whole new game however, and I played through it this weekend- playing it on Legendary it gives a good 6 - 8hrs gameplay which is shorter than many games, but as long as others so having actually played it first hand now I disagree with the idea it's an expansion.

But here's where I really disagree that anything has changed, I bought Dawn of War and all the expansion backs, with 3 expansion packs at £20 and the original game at £30 it was more expensive. This hasn't changed either, I remember buying Warcraft III and it's expansion totalling up to a similar price to £60.

Really, I don't see the guy's point at all- MMO charges have been around since the UO days circa 1997, and charges for games like Halo 3 + addons aren't anymore expensive than games with addons have always been when you had to buy them as hard copies in shops.

For what it's worth I think in many cases the DLC options give you more for your money. I've bought games for 400 points on Live Arcade (which is about £3.50), these sorts of games would have been at least £5, but more like £10 or £15 in the shops before the DLC option came about.

I don't buy this guys argument, I do not believe games are more expensive now than they've ever been. You only have to look at the price the average PC game goes for- down from around £34.99 on average about 5 - 10 years ago, to around £24.99 on average now. MMO subscriptions I believe are on average about the same now as they have always been also.

The only thing I took away from this guys article is his revelation: "Hey wait, entertainment is actually costing me money?". What happened, did mum and dad stop buying him games and he suddenly had to start paying out his own pocket all of a sudden?

A couple of figures... (1)

emanem (1356033) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578743)

I've played WoW for some time...
I got all game +2 expansions, so 40 eur + 2*25 (?) = 90.
and then the subscription costs: 4 years/6 month rate is= 11*12*4 = 528 eur.
total: ~620 eur.
Not so cheap isn't it? just consider that for Wc3 I've spent only 90 eur... (game + TFT)...

Anyway, even a game as SF4 on PS3 can be very expensive: game: 30 GBP, proper pad: 30 GBP proper joystick (couldn't fully enjoy playing with pad) : 40 GBP = 100GBP...
Gaming today is expensive...
Is not just for kids anymore...
Cheers,

Second life: did someone say... (3, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578765)

Did someone say microtransactions? You can easily blow $20 a month on buying Linden Dollars to buy clothes and skins and hair and animations and gadgets. Then if you want to buy land that's another $10 a month for a premium account, $20 to actually get some land, plus now you're buying houses and trees and furniture. And that just puts you into "lower middle class". The real status symbol is owning a whole island.

Private island: $1000 down + $295 / month.

That's US dollars, not Linden dollars...

Context is important (1)

Fross (83754) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578777)

I think it's important to realise the context of the amounts being talked about. Lets say you play WoW for 5 years, at $14.95 a month. You earn $50K, you pay $2000 a month in rent/bills. You have a Starbucks $4 coffee every working day.

Total income: $250,000
Rent/Bills: $120,000
Starbucks: $5,200
WoW cost: ~$1,000 (subscription plus expansion packs)

In that context, it doesn't look that much, does it?

On the other hand, for about as much fun:

Team Fortress 2 total cost: $20

my nephew (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578783)

my nephew spend a grand total of 500euro's in one year, he even snatched his dad's credit card on which he billed 200euro's! i don't pay for down-loadable content and neither should anyone else, there should really be laws against trivial billing.

People prefer small upfront fees, better TCO (3, Interesting)

Francis (5885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578847)

I've noticed that people in general seem to greatly prefer lower upfront fees compared to total cost of ownership (TCO).

For instance, when AT&T halved the price of the iPhone and almost doubled the cost of the text+dataplan (raising TCO, but lowering the upfront fees), this made consumers happy and there was a bump in sales. We see this in other industries - to many car buyers, they only really consider the monthly payment amount, rather than the total cost of the vehicle, which is why car companies are now pushing 72 month leases. Even in the game industry, many people criticize the Playstation 3 as "too expensive", preferring the XBox's prices. Well, once you add in the cost of XBox Live ($50/year) compared to the Playstation Network (free) the difference is less significant.

Companies are just getting smarter and more efficient at extracting money from consumers. In a capitalist society, this is really an inevitable consequence. The only solution to this is for consumers to get smarter, and start making better and more informed choices. I am sure this will never happen.

Subscription services, paid add-on content and endless nickel & diming are the future.

*Disclaimer: I'm not sure if these observations are specific to Americans, or this is how most people around the world behave.

You don't get your money's worth like you used to. (1)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578861)

You don't get your money's worth like you used to out of video games. I remember paying $60 for a copy of Fallout 3 a while ago. The game was quite short. I ended up spending another $40 on downloadable content. Don't get me wrong--the game is fun and so was the DLC, but I can't help feeling that the DLC should have come with the game in the first place. Not to mention the fact that most of the miscellaneous quests could be completed in under an hour.

For instance, the Broken Steel add on extended the game's plot line another 5-10 hours. Considering the fact that the main plot only took about 20 hours to beat in the first place, this plot thread should have been included in the original game.

I would like to contrast this with another, slightly older Bethesda Softworks game--The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Sure, there was downloadable content for this game, but if you played the original game's main quest in its entirety along with the miscellaneous quests (some of which were longer than the main quest), you could put hundreds of hours into the game without spending a cent on DLC.

What changed between the release of Oblivion and Fallout 3? Why could I get hundreds of hours of play time for $60 from the former, but only a fraction of that from the latter?

Just an interesting thought (1)

wangand1 (1646519) | more than 4 years ago | (#29578925)

Reading through this article made me come to realization how much money I spend on video games in a year. A college student spending 60 dollars a pop now-a-days on video games can become very expensive very quickly. At least I have a steady paycheck to pay for my gaming hobby. But then I thought back to the days when I was younger and couldn't afford to buy the amount of games I do now but wanted to. With increasing technology and ability to validate a person's personal information, how could companies benefit by charging customers of different ages different prices like a tax bracket. The older you are the more you'd pay and the younger the less. Now I know this is a far stretched idea and there are a lot of loopholes with it, however I believe that'd promote sales of games much more and make it affordable to the younger generation of games. Just a thought.
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