Michael Pachter is known for his somewhat ‘unnecessary’ predictions on the gaming industry and his ideas for a successful future, but he has really outdone himself this time. He believes that companies like Activision should start charging gamers a separate fee to play online multiplayer games.
It sounds a bit crazy on first reading doesn’t it? He does give his reasons for his admission though. When speaking in a recent interview with Industry Gamers, Pachter reiterated last night’s NPD results which concluded in a 6 percent US sales drop year-over-year.
Because of this, he believes that the time is now right for companies to start thinking of ideas to monetize their games and singled out the Call of Duty franchise as a key target to get the ball rolling. Here is a portion of his interview with IG:
“We think that it is incumbent upon Activision, with the most popular multiplayer game, to take the first step to address monetization of multiplayer. It is too early to tell whether that will be a monthly subscription, tournament entry fees, microtransaction fees, or a combination of all three.”
He added that Call of Duty: Black Ops may be the first game which Activision uses to introduce some sort of business model but either way – it doesn’t look good for gamers.
On the plus side of things, a standalone fee for playing Modern Warfare online could result in steady updates for the game and free content – namely extra maps and new weapons as an example, but would there be guarantees on constant bug fixes? Gamers will be really angry if they have to pay for a game that doesn’t work wouldn’t they?
Then again, you could argue that why should gamers have to first pay a fee for the game (worse for UK gamers), and then ANOTHER separate fee to play a core feature of the game which should be free in the first place? At the moment, you have to say that PS3 owners have got a pretty good deal with free online gaming, but this could turn into a real problem if Pachter’s ‘visions’ come true.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you see both sides of the argument, or are you completely against this?