This weekend, Cryptic/Atari offered an excellent deal: not only was STO reduced in price by ten dollars, but for a limited time new customers would receive an additional sixty days of play time.
In a move that surprises no one, the official forums erupted in nerd rage, claiming the inherent unfairness of such competitive pricing. Many went so far as to demand free play time in “compensation.”
Today, the additional sixty days of play time were removed from the deal.
Others have commented on this, mostly in the negative. For my part, I’m shocked at the player outcry against this fantastic deal. Maybe it’s because I have a lifetime subscription; maybe, having invested a massive one time sum, I both want the game to succeed and am not affected by the vagaries of day-to-day pricing.
But the chief arguments put forward, based on a nebulous sense of justice and entitlement, ring hollow to me. The new, temporarily competitive pricing for the game wasn’t a punishment for earlier subscribers, but rather an enticement for new players. Despite how similar the two might feel, they aren’t the same thing.
I’m not saying that Cryptic is completely blameless – when early subscribers bought into the game, they were not expecting the going rate to be so quickly undercut by a better deal. Cryptic could have done something to mollify them – perhaps, provide two weeks free, I don’t know – but it definitely wasn’t obligated to. The idea behind this excellent deal was very sound, and it’s unfortunate to see it go away. Cryptic, I theorize, was gambling on the fact that in three months time, the game will be more fleshed out, particularly Klingon and end-game content. The trick is to ensure customers stay till then. How best to ensure that, than provide them free game time?