What to Call the New Breed of Payment Models/MMOs

I have posted many articles that were written in response to other blog articles or news items. This will be the first one written in response to a Twitter post, this one from Beau Turkey, he of Massively, MMOVoices, Voyages of Vanguard, et al. To wit:

So, what do we call the newer payment models (EQ2X, LotRO, DDO) — blended models? Tiered? My jury is still out how I feel about them.

I and others have been doing all kind of gyrations of nomenclature over this. In my response to Beau’s tweet, I suggested that they be called “Non-Subscription” or “Semi-Subscription” models (and therefore MMOs,) in contrast to traditional subscription-based models, partly because I’m really tired of typing out the word “microtransaction.” But to be honest, this is a bit clumsy, and not much less work. One could shorten it to “Nonsub” or “Semisub”, of course. But the former implies a complete lack of subscription, while the latter implies an exclusion of games which don’t have a sub option.

So I suggest we call them minipay games. It seems to fit, in that it lets you play while paying less than what a traditional subscription would cost. You can pay the sub, or pay more in microtransactions than what a sub would cost, but paying a lesser or “mini” amount doesn’t exclude you. Just as importantly, it’s a very convenient term to use in a discussion.

It’s not airtight terminology, of course. What about EVE Online, which in principle lets an advanced player pay for his or her account with in-game money rather than real-world cash? (Yeah, EVE has come up a lot lately and is likely to continue to, for reasons previously discussed. But it’s not like I don’t have a long history of writing about it.) But I submit this to be a borderline case. So I think I’m going to adopt this terminology from here on out.

Fun Latin Fact of the Day: “To wit” does not come from Latin. It comes down to us from Old English instead.