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Posts: 32
July 2005
Web Card pricing? Mon, 01 August 2005 21:27
Guys, I hope all is going well with this endeavor to provide both virtual and non-virtual play. I, however, have a bit of a problem that got me wondering about the current pricing.

It appears to me that the main bulk of your business comes from board games and not people buying web cards. I would love to know what the percentages are but that's a bit proprietary. While you only make a percentage of the price charged for a board game, you make the entire amount on web cards so that suggests it's a much more lucrative item than one might otherwise think.

I mention this because, at the moment, I own several of your games. In fact, T2RE and SOC just showed up 10 minutes ago. I have 1 1/2 years on my play time and gave 6 months to my 10 year-old son so that we can play T2R online together.

The problem is that I really have no interest in the other games offered online here. I LOVE Tichu and, as such, I find Gang of Four to be lacking in comparison (you don't have to agree, this is my opinion only). I bought Fist of Dragonstones but didn't like it. I have yet to play Queen's Necklace but the lack of bots is an issue for me as I tend to like the hassle-free play bots allow or I play entirely with limited family and friends (which means I won't play them very often). Thus, that leaves Ticket to Ride. I just cannot justify paying $24 a year to play this single game when, for similar money, I can buy a complete PC-based game once and play it for as long as it can be played. Couple that with the fact that I want to play family and it's not very nice of me to force them to ONLY play with me, so now I'm looking at $24 at least 3 times for my family, all to play a single game.

I'm not sure if there is an answer to this. I'm just posting the comment to make the opinion known. I think you guys make wonderful products. I even appreciate them when I don't really like the game. (I ended up finding Mystery of the Abbey to be flat but LOVED the production values)

I guess I'd be curious about some sort of "family plan" or a "single game plan" but suspect it would be some work to get the system set up to support such things. I could keep buying your games, but at the rate they come out, I will run out of time before others are available.
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Posts: 140
October 2002
Re:Web Card pricing? Tue, 02 August 2005 00:13
Dear Agrajag,

You are correct, we consider ourselves foremost a boardgame company and that is where most of our sales occur. And most of our online play comes from those who have purchased our games, not from buyers of webcards. We hope to encourage sales of the games, by including online play as part of that purchase. We added the ability for people to purchase just the webcards for those who either ran out of time on their free webcard, or who simply want to play online.

As for pricing, the ongoing support required to maintain a networked game where you can play in real-time against other players is much higher than a standalone PC game on a CD. Our fees in comparison to some online game subscriptions are quite reasonable. World of Warcraft for example costs $12.99 per month if you sign up for a 6 month subscription.

As for family pricing, we have no plans to offer it. However, remember your son or other family members can sign on as a guest player for free. They can't initiate games, or track their rankings, but they can play with you in games that you initiate.

And hopefully between now and when your current webcards expire, we'll come out with some new boardgame titles that you will fine appealing.



Posts: 32
July 2005
Re:Web Card pricing? Tue, 02 August 2005 02:26

I understand your situation but personally feel it's a bit out of step with other pricing. Comparing what you're doing to World of Warcraft is not close to apples to apples.

They're dealing with servers that maintain several thousand people at once (and often a LOT more) and a game that was built for a few million dollars. Consider Guild Wars, one of the current top PC games. It's massive multiplayer, cost a bundle to create, is under continual development and comes with a one-time price of $50.

While Ticket to Ride (online) represents an excellent offering, it didn't cost even a fraction of that to build. It also should have a much lower cost to maintain.

As I noted, I was aware that friends and family can sign up as guests but then since they won't be able to start their own games (and many players are like me in that they prefer the ease of playing with bots) so they won't really be able to effectively "practice" on their own time.

I was thinking that if the main purpose is to drive sales of the board games, perhaps a year is a better time limit. That's the recommended web card time. As it is now, for many of us 6 months passes in a flash. I'm not sure I quite get the pricing either. I can get 6 months of access for spending $14 (and probably less if I look around more) on Gang of Four or pay $12 and get nothing?

Again, I do understand your situation better than most probably do, but still find the current situation restrictive. In other words, I'd like to give you more money, but not the amount it would require to enjoy the offering to its fullest.

Finally, don't forget that I am still a huge fan. Not everything is a perfect fit for everyone and I just feel it wouldn't be right to not say anything even though I have this concern.
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