Last week Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) stirred up the community when they announced changes to subscription benefits. The changes while not directly impacting the subscription did impact its monthly stipend bonus of 500 Station Cash by replacing it with a new system that allows players to pick one item for 2,000 Station Cash or less each month with no carry over. Some of the details about this and how it might impact the All Access account were a bit confusing and stirred up plenty of drama when it was announced last week.
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Today SOE boss John Smedley took to Reddit to explain SOEs goal with the new changes, address a number of questions from the community on the topic, and even tease us with some unannounced new games (curse your teasing John Smedley). After a brief introduction, Smedley explained why the decision was made to change the subscription benefits and what SOEs long-term goal is, and you just might like this last part about the subscriptions.
Why did we make this change? There were a few reasons really, Smedley wrote. First and foremost we wanted to let players get some of the larger items on the marketplace. People complain the other way on this all the time - they complain that the 500SC isn't enough for them to buy enough stuff. So we thought this would be a positive change.
Second - it helps us deal with some internal issues regarding accrual of balances of SC for people who aren't playing or spending. There are a lot of people who play and have SC in their wallets and don't spend it ever.. this accrues over time and it's a problem. Before the jaded among you cry out that this is really the most important reason - please don't judge just yet. It's actually not but I don't want to hide the fact that it's a part of it.
Third - we have a problem with a disparity between our console titles (which can't use Station Cash) and our PC Games. We can't do the same kind of promotions as easily on the PS3 and PS4. We're a lot more limited because we can't use Station Cash on there. So when we have a 3x sale on SC we have to do something different for our console titles. It's a pain in the neck to deal with this.
Forth - And this is very important
We are considering (and are likely going to move forward with) a plan that means if you subscribe to one of our games you are a subscriber to all our games (this applies to PC titles only btw).. all for the current $14.99 a month. That's a benefit most companies simply can't offer because they don't have our portfolio of games. The goal would be to let you pick an item in each game you play. Some of you might say "well who cares..I only play Planetside 2. How is that a benefit to me?" My answer is simple - we've got a great lineup of games, some of which aren't announced yet that cater to a lot of players. We have EQN and EQNL coming along with other..... games... that PS2 players might just like :)
That last bit makes me think SOE is developing another large scale war game. I guess well have to wait and see on that one, but thats not all that Smedley had to offer on the topic. As the questions began to flow, Smed addressed several inquireies from the community, the first of which asked if SOE will be providing refunds to anyone with remaining subscription time that doesnt care for the new system. Smedley gave a simple one word reply - yes.
Smedley also explained why SOE initially wasnt going to have Player Studio items available as part of the monthly subscription item selection, but that now has a possibility of being included.
Player Studio items - let me make this simple. We excluded them because we didn't like the idea of giving away someone else's item. The player who made it would get no revenue in that case because it's a free item. We are considering just eating the cost of this. Either way we are likely going to allow Player Studio items.
While the benefits are changing, its actually a more positive change than it originally sounded. If the plan goes forward as Smedley indicates in his original post, the All Access subscription cost is simply going to change to what pretty much comes down to being a singular game subscription for one is a subscription for all. So a $14.99 per month sub gets you premium access to all of SOEs games. That's a nice change it you've been eying other titles, and a much better sounding payoff from last weeks confusion. It's a boon for All Access subscription, which will likely get its cost get cut by five bucks and have the added perk of being able to pick one item from each of SOEs games for 2k Station Cash or less each month.
I have to be honest that I have been saving up SC for EQN/L (since it was announced last summer) and spending less on Planetside 2, Redditor Shocktor wrote.
I would say this move was to prevent players from doing that, but your #4 point pretty much dismisses that idea.
You did say, "pick an item in EACH game you play." Please clarify, does that mean, each month, I can choose an item in each game, or only one of the games? (For example, in February, I buy a horn for my Sunderer, then in March, I buy something for my EQII character -- or can I do both in February?)
The idea would be an item a month in all games, Smedley responded. so you can do both!
So that deal, if it does indeed happen, is sounding much more beneficial and sweet for the player. Last week's uncoordinated information rollout caused more confusion than anything else, but Smed has painted a much clearer picture of what SOE has planned. And it doesn't sound half bad. So props to big man at SOE for clearing that up and making subscriptions sound even more enticing. Well played, Smed.
If youre concerned about multi-month plans, Smedley also confirmed that those will still be offered by SOE following next months planned changes. In the meantime, if you have a question that youd like an answer to, you can head over to Smedleys thread on Reddit and ask him yourself.
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