I woke up this morning to another email update from MoviePass, the “seems to good to be true” service that works kinda like NetFlix, but with real movies. I am hopeful that they are able to figure out a model that works, because Deb and I see a ton of movies with MoviePass, now that we are done with weddings and are true empty-nesters.
But, like so many other great deals in life, they are changing and tightening their service process, because a few (maybe a lot) of people have apparently cheated the system, and found out ways to get more advantage than they are due. This seems to be the norm these days. Great deals, slowly defray into deals that aren’t as good, or simply flip on a dime with little warning. Sovin so many ways, TSTO is a great educator about life in general. In short…”Don’t think that this is the way it is always going to be…because we know you will adjust, as long as we do it slowly.”
As a guy who can take the time to think about such things…I started adding up the number of ways this kind of thinking has slipped into my daily life over the past few months. I was kind of shocked when I started realizing how many things in my life were changing…slowly…and not for the good. And how I was just like the frog in the pot…kind of ignoring the heat, until I reached a boiling point.
There are so many examples of this in modern society, and not surprisingly, so many of them are mirrored by the changes we have seen in TSTO.
I have been flying a bit in the past year. One would have to be an idiot to realize that the trade-off for all of the “Free Air Miles” and Super Discount Fair Apps, is that they now have completely changed the way we fly these days. It used to be nice. You picked your seat, you got a meal, they gave you a pillow and a blanket, the in-flight movies were free, and you always got a free carry-on and one checked bag. Needless to say…once the Airlines figured out that the driving model was low fares, they started changing the rules…slowly. The last time we flew…we got a GREAT deal on the ticket. Except that we had to pay to choose our seat, pay for each item of luggage, there was no meal served, and the movie/entertainment only worked with the airline’s earphones. Nice. What a DEAL! Oh…and to make up for lost revenue, they have crammed another row of seats or more, into the coach areas, making leg room and seat comfort a thing of the past. Progress!
Amazon Prime, one of the single greatest inventions for global commerce disruption, is something that continues to change its model, but in fact, adds more features and benefits to its users every year. This year, they asked almost apologetically for a $20 increase for membership, which won’t take effect until your current year is over. Pffffffttttt… no-brainer for me. I’ll make that up with my first order of erroneous. strange and random electronic gizmos that I can’t find anywhere else…and even being just $4,99 (gizmos are cheap), will be delivered in tow days or less with FREE shipping! Free movies. Free Music. Free Books. Sheesh…how can you complain about that? You can’t…unless you are one of the thousand of traditional brick and mortar stores that have been forced out of business. Toys-R-Us? See ya. Bookstores? See ya. Radio Shack? See ya. The list goes on and on and on. Are we better for the changes? Not sure. We’ll see how long it takes for the pot to start boiling.
I could use these kinds of analogies in countless examples, of how “Free” isn’t always a great deal in the long run. But, we are experiencing it right now, with TSTO. Like it or not…many of the changes in pricing, lack of customer support, and yes…most likely even Item Limits…are a direct result of a situation where more and more people (including little froggy me) have resorted to Donut Farming…or even worse…hacking. I farm, because I can. Just like so many other things in the world…I do it, because I am able…nobody is stopping me…and I can rationalize that “everyone does it, so what’s the harm?” Well…I think at some point the answer is obvious.
But, being someone who has worked on the “owning an Internet Services company” side of things…I know that nothing is free. Every bit of labor, time, creativity and support costs money. So free? Not really a sustainable business model.
I am going to make a very bold request. VERY BOLD. One of the most boldest things anyone has said about the great numbers that we have never seen before in the history of the…Oh. Wait. Sorry. I was channeling POTUS there for second.
But this is bold. I am going to suggest that you pay your fair share.
What is fair? Gosh…perhaps some kind of equation that comes down to how much you play? How many hours of FREE enjoyment (or addictive activity) do you get a week from TSTO? How many different games are you playing? A,B,C,D or more??? Are you paying for any of it…even though your activity is creating server drain, and adds to the overall impact of EA’s ability to afford to provide the service?
I’ll wait for your answer.
And how many of you are playing on expensive padular/cellular devices, which require expensive (and ever-increasing) data/internet plans in order to participate? You whine when your bill goes up…but, you pay it.
Are you a “cable cutter?” One of the new breed of folks who have cut cable TV, but think nothing of adding a ton of “Just $9.99” services so you can still “get your media on.” Hulu? HBO Go? NetFlix? And countless others…all providing what I would guess is far less time each month in entertainment as TSTO does for you.
What I am asking is tantamount to the same issues we face in the world for problem solving. Become a giver…instead of a taker. Just like those who complain about social injustice, but don’t do anything about it but whine, I am asking you to do your fair share. Do something that can solve the problem.
It’s really, really simply. Come up with a fair way to do it.
Here’s an example for you donut farmers. I’ll make it EAsy. For every 500 donuts you farm for free…BUY A DOZEN DONUTS for $1.99!
That seems more than fair…and you would be shocked to think how much that would add to the revenue stream for the game…which could actually entice EA to FIX the plethora of issues the game is facing. If the stats are correct, and less than 2% of all players spend actual money on the game…think what a change of even another 5% of payers would mean.
The issues we are facing in TSTO are all things that can be solved…If EA wants to spend the time, resources and money to correct them. If they don’t…the end of the game is inevitable. There is nothing more telling than enduring a huge, 6-week event, which with every prize earned, seemingly renders the game more unplayable.
Those Frogs in the Pot who keep adjusting and adjusting and adjusting, by storing items…figuring out ways to play by turning something on or off…or in my case, being forced to delete items in my town, so I can add the items I am being forced to add in an event, are all just biding time, without a solution.
If you already pay for TSTO. Good for you. I’m not asking the rest of you to do anything that doesn’t make sense…I’m simply asking you to pay your fair share.
Otherwise…just like leg room in coach, shopping at Toys-R-Us, and getting good entertainment on TV for free…we are going to look back at this time and say, “Remember when we used to play that game about the Simpsons for free?” Because the fact is…at this point, EA is going to have to make some hard choices…and I don’t think the Frogs are gonna like them.
Do it. $1.99 for every 500 donuts farmed. It’s equitable. It’s fair. It’s revolutionary.
I’ll wait for the backlash that I know is coming. No worries…you know I’m right. And that’s what will torque off the free-loaders.
SEE YOU ON ADDICTS LIVE TOMORROW!