This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

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?

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4 thoughts on “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

  1. People are being way unfair to Cryptic here…for all we know, it’s the doofuses at Atari who dropped the ball.

    Personally, I like to think about it this way: I remember back in November when Dragon Age was first released, I knew that with the Christmas season coming up, there was a good chance that retail stores might be having a sale on the game in a matter of weeks. I didn’t care though, because I wanted to play the game so bad. Sure enough, not two weeks later, the price of the game went from $70 to $40 at Best Buy but I wasn’t upset about it at all. Yes, I paid the higher price, but I got what I wanted – to be in the game on day 1 and I had no regrets.

    I kinda look at STO the same way, and I’m not a lifer or anything. Maybe I’m just a lot less critical because when it comes to stiffing existing customers, I’ve dealt with a lot worse in the form of my local phone company.

  2. Early adopters always pay more. I bought the game at release. I’m not miffed about the price cut and extended free time. Bring more people in! That gets more funding for the developers to continue expanding the game which = good for me.

    That self-entitlement attitude always annoys me.

  3. I’ve nearly given up on MMO forums and comment sections on news sites. I do try an keep an eye on the dev trackers for the games I play though.

    I have to agree with you on this whole pricing deal, but then I’m a lifetime subscriber as well so all of the monthly fees and whatnot are a sunk cost to me.

    The biggest thing that irritates me about all of this is that Cryptic is bearing the brunt of the ill will, when it was Atari’s store that made the offer. Makes me wonder if Emmert or Zinc haven’t gone to Atari management and asked them to stop trying to kill their games.

  4. Ditto, MM. Every game and gaming system, not to mention a host of other technological gadgets, has gone down in price as manufacturers try to move more merchandise. Self-entitled nerd rage is exactly what that was and Cryptic should have ignored it.

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