Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Poster Boy for DCUO

Wilhelm the Ancient Gaming Noob has cited my recent posts about DCUO as proof of the success of the free-to-play conversion.  I suppose it is a success by the central tenet of the free to play business model - it's hard to make money off of people who aren't playing the game at all.  At the same time, I can't imagine that I'd be John Smedley's choice for DCUO Poster Boy. 

I hear Wilhelm likes travel posters.
I'm a player who tried the DCUO beta but decided to wait and see how the game came out.  When I didn't like what I was hearing about polish, quantity of content, and the inexcusable decision to host PC and PS3 players on separate servers, I continued waiting.  My patience was rewarded on November 1st, when a game that would have cost me $60 for the PS3 box ($50 for the PC) plus $15/month thereafter back in January was handed to the world for free. 

The resulting game is high quality, and different enough from my other activities that it has been my primary MMO this month.  It also looks likely that I will be at the max level and finished with all of the solo content from the launch game by the first month's anniversary of free to play, all without having paid SOE a dime.  I guess they are getting some free publicity from my blog, and they may eventually get the equivalent of $5/month or so in DLC purchases, but that's a far cry from the $60 + $15/month they had been hoping for at launch.

The real hero
If you're looking for a real hero of DCUO, the person to look to is Apple of the DCUO Unlimited Podcast.  Apple has been covering this game since 2008, and when he jokes that SOE finally listened to the Unlimited crew by taking the game F2P, he's not entirely wrong.  It's one thing for the forums to go nuts when the subscription pricing was announced, and another thing for players to cancel their subscriptions for any number of reasons.  From my standpoint following the game from the outside, the true faithful in places like DCUO Unlimited were the only people still defending the game for the months between its launch-time fade from view and its re-emergence as a free to play game. 

As if Apple's accomplishments weren't enough on their own merits, he revealed last weekend that he has accomplished all of this while battling Parkinson's Disease, relying on cohosts to post the news when he could not type and deftly wielding the camera to avoid capturing signs of his symptoms on film.  I don't know of anyone anywhere in any MMO community who has played such a prominent role despite such challenges. 

If DCUO does make it through the tough times - I maintain that this is no certainty given SOE's track record with games that have expensive licensed IP's and disappointing revenue - they will have players like Apple, not late-coming tourist bloggers, to thank. 

1 comment:

Yeebo said...

Holy cow. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.