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Subscription models


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One issue about roleplaying sims is the tier bill, it's nice having lots of people wanting to participate and join in the fun, but it's a different matter being able to build a sim that is roleplaying for all, for example I have merchant spaces and residential rentals, some people don't like these as they feel it reduces the roleplaying aspect but the reality is that these spaces are often needed to help offset tier bills.

What other models do people use to raise funds towards paying tier? We have donation boxes and people do generously donate, but has anyone tried a subscription model? I only know of one sim that has paid membership and it does seem to work for them but it's not a widespread practice.

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Personally, I don't see a subscription model as better than other models. Some RPGs might actually need this to limit their participants, but I would think that most RPGs want as many people as possible. Mall areas and merchant shops are a good way, but I would like to see more merchants split commission on sales with RPGs.

Granted, I'm not really an RPG player, but I do make alot of stuff for RPGs, and we are looking more into making things that RPGs can make commission on.

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Split commission and involving a merchant in the roleplay, as in using their items in your roleplay has potential, I keep meaning to look into the viability of that, such as you have their furniture in your tavern, or it might even be their tavern, or weapons yadda yadda yadda.

The subscription model I saw was free to all but extras for subscribers, which some MMORPG's have moved to.

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I guess it all depends on how big the group is that roleplays in the sim, if it is a small group, not even donations will help a lot, if it is a big group, then you can do dances, or auctions or something like that, usually role play sims would also have a club, in there to do the raising of the tier money, which is only fair, if we want to role play in a group, that has a complete sim for the role play, I recogn the roleplayers should pay a fee towards the tier

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It might sound harsh, but without the ability to financially support a sim alone, one should not even start building a RP sim. There are different models available in helping with paying (events .. date auctions, donation boxes, shops and also subscriptions like it is being done with the B&J meter when I remember correctly) but in the end, they all depend on how big the community is. If no one is there then there is no one to donate or pay and any RP sim will go through times of big activity and times of being almost empty.

Usually shops and rentals are best to get a more or less long term stable stream of money and donations will add to this as well when people are having fun. And one succesful donation-event can easily get a full months tier together.

 

But in the end ... the sim owner need to be able to pay for it alone for any period of time because there is no really stable and predictable income stream available.

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I'm not sure that holds true Rin, as Linden Lab base their business model around people paying tier, rather than paying it all themselves, but people should be fully aware of the financial implications of setting up a roleplaying sim and that it's not likely to make profits and will more than likely incur direct costs.

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First, and I hope I am not insulting anyone, but if you think you can make a profit off a roleplay sim then you do live in a Fantasy World. A lot of roleplayers do not have the extra linden to assist with paying for the sim. Then there are the empowered players, these are the ones who feel they are doing you a favor because they deem to play in your sim, they will spend thousands on their avatar and clothes and weapons, but not a drop in the donation barrel to help cover the cost of the sim. Then you do have the ones who assist by dropping something in the donation barrel. Malls and retail space will help a lot towards paying for the sim, but unless you attract some of the major retailers it is hard keep all the space filled. So, then you become a manager and your Roleplay time which is what you opened the sim for in the first place suffers. They only way I think a subscription model would work is if you offer something no other RP sim does. There are too many sims that offer too much similar. I know that I would never consider setting up a roleplay sim myself unless i was fully prepared to foot the bill.

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Again, let me state, I do not RP. I like combat, purely, and creating animation stuff. But...... I think with all the different things that 1 can make in SL, RPGs could take on a whole new form of online play, disconnecting itself from a MMO, and having a truely RPG type of play. Some systems in SL are getting there, and this takes alot of time to really learn what is possible and what is feasible. Do I really know? Surely, not, but as a creator for this niche, I see huge potential here.

Being a creator in SL, and doing it full time, means you have to make money first, before you can take big chances or invest in a year or 2 of development. So, some aspects are going to actually move slower in SL. If you look at all the RP systems, the systems make the money, mostly because they have to. This adds massive costs for all the users, and the users really don't get the kinds of products that fit their RPG perfectly, or involve so much complexity that the actual RP part is left out. In SL, we have all kinds of different kinds of users and many just want to wear something and have fun.

As a creator of animations, I'm always looking for creative ways to use animation. RPGs should have environments that are completely interactive. Animation can play a key part, from characters to combat. Where else can you go and use the same avatar for your vampire character, your futuristic sexbomb, or a tiger. SL was kinda made for this, lol.

From a creators stand point tho, once I have a functioning system, changing aspects to fit a specific RPG is kinda the fun part, at least from my stand point. So that is why I could see more of a partnership forming between larger RPG system makers and the people that run the RPGs.

Well, that is what I'm hoping.:smileywink:

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One model that comes to mind, although I can't remember who was doing that, was to have higher priced RP/residences that offset the rest of the area. Not sure how well that worked firsthand.

You can also develop parts of your roleplay that require items that are part of your system in order to play. Something like a HUD that displays data about your area, your players, etc, but one that must be purchased (perhaps a free/trial/lite version as well?)

Or you could blend with a donation model for a "pool" cost, everyone must donate "something" in order to tap into some power or magick that drives part of your roleplay.

I think a subscription model could work, but not without a pretty strong following of course, and you'd have to provide enough monthly reward to make it worth continuing a subscription, such as enough going on to warrant a newsletter, events. In other words a subscription model would probably work best when there's lots going on and it's always fresh. At the very least, you'd have to have trial periods I think to show new players what they're getting into and give them time to acclimate to the RP to decide that this is one of their primary "home" locations for RP.

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Interesting topic, Ciaran and one that I spend a lot of time pondering. 

The majority of the funds used to maintain our Historical RP comes from residential and commercial rentals.  The rules governing these rentals help to preserve the historical atmosphere so that we usually don't get many complaints about them.

Donations are raised and used for specific projects such as our Music Academy which arranges concerts on a frequent basis during the year.   In this case, all the money raised is used to pay for the performers.

We do use an optional RP System that includes a subscription fee which is also optional if you remain under a certain level.  I would love to see our RP supported by subscription but from what I have observed that won't happen.  Part of the reason is that we are in a niche market which will never attract the volume of people necessary to sustain funding at a reasonable subscription price.

I too would be interested in hearing "What other models do people use to raise funds towards paying tier?"

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Most of our tiers are paid from rent.

As a early 20th century city we have very small poor apartments that are cheap but have few prims and large fancy apartments in very good neighbourhoods that cost a few dimes.

We've had 100% tenancy pretty much since day one and a long list of people wanting to move in.

People pay for the kind of class they want to portray, we have "poverty" here and thus it adds to the way the sim is working.

We have tier donation meters and once a week we have a little donation party, we hand out exclusive 1920s themed freebies and the people there donate what they can/want.
Before we moved to a full region these donation days were very important as we aimed to get 25% of our tiers every week so the locals could see exactly how much was still needed and of course everyone likes a freebie.

People know that once the sim won't be able to pay its tier eventually we have to close it.

We also have a supporters gallery for those who are willing to donate a certain amount each month in exchange for nothing but gratitude and having their portrait in our gallery.

We also have tipjars in the sim people can use when working there and a percentage of their tips goes to the sim.
Our police men get a percentage of the fines they hand out and luckily some of our tenants are really bad at parking their cars :)

Most of our shops are part of the roleplay and fit in rather well.

 

I started my sim on my free 512 meters I got from LL and expanded the land as the sim grew.

I was only a month in SL and had no experience whatsoever with building or managing a sim, I learned as I went along.

I hessitated with my first apartment building, not sure if people would actually pay rent to live in a dirty small poor 2 room apartment around a court yard where you had to share a toilet with your neighbours.

They do.

Recently we moved to our own full region.

I can/will not pay for the entire sim on my own, if donations dry up and all our tenants left the sim would die.

But luckily this is very unlikely to happen as people still line up to join and we have a very strong community.

In the end I reckon only one thing really matters; build something people will like.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I think the New York Times or some1 just went to a subscription model. If you ask me tho, a subscription model is more of a limitation than it is a business model. To me, the last thing you want to do is limit your income. That part should always be open ended. I mean WOW has a subscription model, but they still sell things.

In my eyes, an RPG obviously has value to the users. Some of those users will gladly pay their part for the sim or other resources, and some just don't have the money to spend. Do you want only paying customers? I would think probably not, as it would be harder to fill the sim with users. So, the only way that I can think of to give the users more value in an rpg, and pay for the sim, is to sell products for the rpg.

Is that not the point of an RPG? Not to sell products, but to create an environment that is unique and fun. So, what I'm saying is that every RPG has a theme, and a theme requires things to fit the theme. It is these "things" that the RPG can sell. Some of these things might even be consumible things, that either need to be purchased over and over, or gotten for free. Either way, paid for or free, this requires the player to do something. Blood for vampires would be an example of this, tho, I personally would not require some1 to have to pay for anything. To me, a completely volunteer payment model is the way to go.

Maybe it is just me, or possibly the business that I'm in, but I see all kinds of potential for products in RPGs. The problem is tho, there is no system that allows for all these different kinds of products. At the same time tho, you don't want a system that consumes your RPG players time so much that they can't sit back and just RP.

Maybe, some day, some1 will create a system like this, lol.

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