When our Shadowrun Online Kickstarter project launched 6 days ago, we were joyous over how many websites covered the launch, and how many emails/tweets/Facebook messages and forum posts we received from excited gamers, and Shadowrun fans alike. While many were very positive, we quickly identified two major concerns within the community. The first was that the game would suffer for being browser accessible. Shadowrun Online is a full 3D game made by gamers, for gamers. And so we have announced that a dedicated game client will be available for direct download from our site, and we’re looking at retail box purchases and the possibility of Steam distribution as well.
More importantly, the gaming community expressed their concern about the free-to-play (F2P) aspect of the game, and especially that the PvP part could suffer from a potential pay-to-win approach. Of course we explained that we don't support pay-to-win, but we also understand that talk is cheap. And that’s why we‘ve put our heads together with our fans, our designers and business guys over the weekend, and had a brainstorming session of what we could do to really prove to gamers that we really mean what we say, and that the gaming community really is at the heart of our whole operation. Really? Really. So, here is what we came up with:
The Campaign model (Guild Wars model)
Following the business model of games like Guild Wars, we’ll also offer the game as a standard client based PC/Mac/and iOS/Android tablet game with NO real money micro-transactions in the shop, but all items that give any advantage in the in-game store can be bought with in-game "Nuyen" you earn while playing Shadowrun Online! So basically, you buy the game ONCE, really OWN the game, and can play it for as long as you wantWITHOUT EXTRA CHARGES. There won’t be any monthly payments either. Only content and feature updates are then sold afterwards as “Add-ons” in packs, but it’s totally up to you if you want them or not. You can play with the basic package as long as you want. We call this model the “Campaign model" since you will have full access to a complete campaign with your Kickstarter pledge, or after launch, with a retail purchase of Shadowrun Online. We’re sure you have a lot of questions regarding this, and so we’ll try to answer a couple of them for you now:
1. How much will the game cost?
The full game will cost $39.99 at launch, but for Kickstarter we’ll have it in a $25 dollar reward tier. Major updates (Add-on packs) will be launched every 3 to 4 months and will be priced at $14.99 USD.
2. Why did you come up with this after the campaign has launched?
We take the reactions and suggestions from our community very seriously. We had the game originally planned with the free-to-play model, only because we wanted everyone to have easy, free access to the core game, but if you think differently – we adapt.
3. Is this model really sustainable?
Yes, it is. We’ve spent many hours thinking this through, and filling our Excel sheets with numbers, and it will also work from a commercial point of view for us.
4. Can I still play the game for free?
Yes, we will offer both free-to-play and Campaign models on different servers, so people can choose their preferred way to play, and won't miss out on anything.
5. Can all items that give an advantage be bought for in-game currency?
Yes, all these items on the Campaign server are for free in-game currency.
6. Can I switch between servers?
Well, to some degree. You can start on the free-to-play server, and then buy the retail Campaign version and continue on the Campaign server.
7. What’s happening with the current monthly Premium subscription Kickstarter rewards?
They are of course still valid for the free-to-play server, but can be updated to a Campaign account for just 5 Dollars. By adding 5 Dollars to your pledge, a 3 month subscription translates into main game + first content pack update, a 6 month subscription translates into main game + 2 updates, and the lifelong subscriptions can be updated to the Campaign mode and receive all updates for free – forever.
Shadowrun Online Kickstarter Update #3: We've solved the Free-to-Play issue, and added new rewards
Shdowrun Online is about 1/5 of the way to their goal with still 3 weeks to go. They've put up an update answering many questions they've been getting about the project.