Pumping Irony had a post about this and I noted how Hellgate has who knows how many players burned with their "Lifetime" deal.
No refunds there.
Right now, only two games have offered these lifetime deals (that were commercially viable titles that is...not discussing any freebie or Korean MMO's).
Hellgate London and LOTRO.
Hellgate as we know is a failure.
But, is LOTRO any better in regards to quality? 200+k players think so.
In regards to this conundrum..Scott had this to say in comments...
I absolutely think Lifetime Memberships are valuable, though not without inherent risk.
For me, LOTRO ended up being my main game and the lifetime membership has already paid for itself. Mines of Moria has a feature list (on paper) that is more exciting to me than the lists of any other expansion or full game coming out in the near future as well, so now the personal value of that lifetime has increased.
But if people jumped on the Lifetime for LOTRO or Hellgate without trying the games, just on hype alone, then they were burned. Doubly so for Hellgate since it’s being canceled.
From a players point of view...what about the company?
How would someone even know if they liked the game as no trial was available yet.
Then they did not offer it again until they started the lowering of the price for the game and scrips and must have seen sales diminishing.
I am sure the influx of cash helped Turbine immensely.
But, what happens to a company that does not continue to have a flow of cash?
These players instead prove to be a burden, as they continue to play with no income being offered to Turbine.
The lifetime is meant for that impulse player who feels that they may be getting a good deal paying forever for that game with just one price...
Yet, it did not do much for Hellgate...
We may never know how many players did this offer there and then got burned.
I still think trials are key. Then reduced pricing, but not lifetime.
I think lifetime scrips lead to less "quality" of content.
Turbine is forced to release content on a regular basis or upset customers..especially those who paid lifetime.
Book 14 (their last patch before MoM) proved to be quite buggy, and took quite a few months to release compared to previous patches and content updates.
Turbine discussed making UI changes and model updates for MoM when the expansion was first announced...yet all screenshots show the same middling UI and very skinny non-fed males and vapid females...
Imagine if people payed lifetimes for AoC, and the content output is what it is now? YUCK!
I think it hurts the company and the player in the end.
Think of it this way. You did not have to buy AoC, or WAR and could have waited for reviews or a trial.
The LOTRO deal was meant to be a one time offer for those willing to take the leap at launch.
Look how many of those people they spit on with that deal...by offering it again after 6 or so months.
But, this still begs the question. Can "lifetime" scrips be a good thing for an MMO?
Yes, we would pay for one if WoW offered one, or EQ2...i.e: established games.
But, how would this affect the game after the fact?
Weigh in folks..