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Author Topic: Pricing and reimbursement  (Read 4240 times)

Offline allanfieldhouse

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #30 on: 06 January 2017, 09:03:44 PM »

Here is MY analogy.

I Buy a Toyota with all the bells and whistles to go off-road alone I don't want/need anyone with me cause anyone with me it came with a winch (campaign mode) if I get stuck. So I off driving the trails and all of a sudden my truck stops running. I have gas I have spark there is nothing wrong with it. Unbeknownst to me Toyota just sold the rights to the truck line to GM and a kill command was sent to my perfectly GREAT vehicle (at least to me I like it even if others don't). I then find out that in order to continue driving the trails I have to use a DIFFERENT truck does not have all the features that I am used to and really the only ones that matter to me (campaign mode) and to add insult to injury I have to pay ~50% of what I paid originally EVERY YEAR for the privilege.

Oh and as far as the first year free not on my account.

Good news!

They're developing campaign mode, so you'll be set there later in the year. They've also promised a Dominion Offline version where you can own all the expansions forever (even if they later lose the license). Offline isn't done yet, but if you purchased all expansions on the old site, you can get it for free when it's done (instead of the free year subscription).

So it sounds like they've promised you exactly what you want, but it's just not done yet.


Edit: Okay, it sounds like you probably only had the subscription. In that case, they sold it to you as something that would only work until the end of the year, and they were pretty explicit about that being the case. You can still buy the new truck you want though!

Offline tufftaeh

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #31 on: 07 January 2017, 04:53:02 PM »
If you don't like the gift you got, don't use it. Have some other fun and come back in a month or so to see if it then suits your requirements.
"If you don't like the gift you got, don't use it." seems rude.  I don't think I made hyperbolic or unfair criticisms of the product.

Sorry if you felt that way. I didn't intend it to be rude but just as suggestion, especially clarified by the next sentence which you might have overlooked. I didn't mean to imply any unfair criticism of the product but just wanted to point out that you were basically complaining to be forced to pay zero for an unfinished product.

Are you an employee of Shuffle iT?  You seem to say things on the forum that makes me think you are.  If so, you're not representing your company very well.

I'm not an employee of Shuffle iT at all. I'm just a normal guy who happens to like this game and to like the new implementation the best of all I've seen so far. I have bought all IRL card sets, plus several copies of the base cards already, and of course all available sets on Goko/MF. Somehow, this doesn't make me angry at DXV or Rio Grande and even less at Shuffle iT who have done nothing wrong. At the predefined release date they just were not completely done with development, unfortunately, but for me (I don't play on phone or tablet) the experience was much better than with any previous implementation at that early stage.

Offline kivron

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #32 on: 07 January 2017, 06:19:21 PM »
I'm one of the user at MF.
As clearly described in the first post here

https://forum.makingfun.com/showthread.php?8711-2016-plan-future

"If you purchase or have already purchased a Dominion expansion set in v1 or v2 you will also have it in the new 2017 Dominion experience. Just as we honored all v1 purchases in our new v2, Donald and Jay have committed to honoring your previous purchases in their new version."

This is not like an year subcription.
I'm very upset.
IMHO you have to be aware: I don't think many users will pay again for some that they've had already paid, and surely this will be a lesson learned for the future...

Offline bananny

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #33 on: 07 January 2017, 06:49:19 PM »
I purchased most of the expansions with Making Fun.  I also own several expansions of the physical cards.  If I moved to a new house, does that mean I have to buy my physical cards again?  No!  The game moved to a new house.  My cards moved with the game.  I shouldn't have to buy them again.

My theory is that the online popularity of Dominion grew to a point where Rio Grande saw a bigger money making opportunity.  I bet they killed their relationship with Making Fun just to move to a new provider to give them an excuse to start charging an annual subscription so they could keep making money off of the players.

The new platform is of lower quality than the one created by Making Fun.  That alone is offensive and asking me to hand over more money for a lesser quality product is even more offensive.

I don't think Rio Grande thought ahead when they allowed players to buy expansions.  Once purchased, they no longer profited off of us.  They found a loophole to keep making money and while I get it, it's effing BS.  If a subscription was offered from the beginning, we wouldn't be having this argument.

Those of us that already purchased cards should be given our access with no additional charge.  Apply the new policy to new members or the cheap members who refused to buy cards in the past that are always in chat asking to be invited to expansion games.  That's my 2 cents.

Offline Donald X.

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #34 on: 08 January 2017, 02:12:41 AM »
My theory is that the online popularity of Dominion grew to a point where Rio Grande saw a bigger money making opportunity.  I bet they killed their relationship with Making Fun just to move to a new provider to give them an excuse to start charging an annual subscription so they could keep making money off of the players.
That isn't what happened, and I would know.

I was the one who wanted to switch from MF to someone else, whoever that turned out to be. I felt let down by them repeatedly. I decided to give them more of a chance and they kept letting me down. Finally I discussed it with Jay (RGG) and we agreed to switch when their contract ran out. This meant finding someone to take over and ideally getting them started in advance so they'd be ready Jan 1 2017.

The Goko and MF versions never made us much money. We just figured that it wasn't that popular; if a lot of people were playing well I guess those people were playing for free, since that was possible. That wasn't a motivating factor, but did contribute to it feeling like, whatever, we're not losing anything here.

When it came time to negotiate with Shuffle iT, our plan was simply to pay for every existing customer's service on the new system. This would mean we'd be out more money than we'd ever made from online Dominion, but it just wasn't that much money. However we found out that RGG had blown it on the contract back when; online Dominion had been making money, we just weren't seeing much of it. There was no possible way to pay for everyone. We negotiated to receive less money from Shuffle iT over the first year with them, in exchange for them giving old users the option of the offline version (to keep) or a year of subscription. It seems very likely that this will end up costing us more than we ever made from online Dominion (though it will be a year before I know). I don't mind and I'm not complaining; I'm just saying this to make it clear: that because other people seemed to make promises that couldn't be kept about my board game ("seemed to" because probably technically people just bought funny money, and I value accuracy so I am being accurate), I gave up some income on the off-chance that some people would be less mad. And so did RGG. From our perspective we were, not only not greedy, but generous.

We did not suggest a subscription-based system. Shuffle iT wanted that, and we decided to let them try it. Worst case, people don't buy it. That's very bad for Shuffle iT but it's the risk they wanted to take. For us, that worst case is just business as usual; I have a lot of experience with not making money from online Dominion, both from the years when people played free online versions, and from the Goko / MF years. It's not so bad.

It's a bummer that people felt they were buying Dominion forever, and weren't. I have tried to give those people something even though my technical involvement is just a contract with RGG that lets RGG sub-license for digital versions in exchange for a % of the take.

There was a point, not at the beginning but eventually, when MF wanted to try subscriptions. Jay and I didn't like the idea - we felt that people wouldn't want to buy a subscription. That proposal made it easier for us to agree to subscriptions when Shuffle iT also wanted them; and then MF asked again and we said sure and they had subscriptions for the last however many months. In retrospect of course it's sad we didn't let MF have subscriptions earlier, because fewer people would be unhappy today. I prefer the way old computer games worked, where you bought a disc and it was yours, to keep playing until your OS didn't support it anymore. A subscription however at least has the benefit (over the Goko system) of, when the company's contract is up, no-one feels owed anything.

Offline bananny

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #35 on: 08 January 2017, 04:12:05 AM »
I appreciate the response, thank you.  However, I still feel like it's unfair to have to pay again for something I've already purchased.  I purchased Catan expansions from Google Play years ago, I continue to play Catan as usual and I've never once had to switch to a new system or buy my expansions again.  Another example is MTG on Steam.  I've purchased new versions over the years they have been released, so they're technically new expansions with new cards and I haven't had to re-buy them.  They're still sitting there on my Steam account ready to be played and I've never been asked for more money.

It should have been make crystal clear at the beginning that purchases of expansions were temporary.

I adore Dominion.  It's a fantastic game!  I play every day for eff's sake!  I don't want this to sound like I'm an ungrateful jerk, because I'm not.  The invention of the game itself and the concept is fabulous <3  I just think the digital / online execution has been done poorly.  It was super fun when it was first available online, back in the isotropic (did I spell that right?  It's been a long time) days.  Whoever that was that got the online game going, I love you!  It was cheaply done, but it worked and we all had fun.  When it evolved into purchasing expansions, I was on board.  It made sense.  So I paid for them.

I am not on board for paying for something I've already purchased.  This could have been done through Steam, Google Play or somebody else by creating a base platform, the option to purchase expansions that stay with you for life and it would have been simple.

Is this how things are going to be for Dominion year after year?  Switching to new provider after new provider and paying more money as we go?  If so, just tell me now so I'm braced for impact.

Thank you :)

Offline Donald X.

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #36 on: 08 January 2017, 06:27:17 AM »
It should have been make crystal clear at the beginning that purchases of expansions were temporary.
Of course? Even if no-one ever does that.

The BGG news post mentioning the new online Dominion (no not the second news post with a video, the first one that just had it as news) also mentioned that Solforge - an online CCG - was closing down at the end of January. So there's one you could check; had they really made it clear, in their kickstarter and purchasing screens, that it was all ultimately ephemeral.

I am not on board for paying for something I've already purchased.  This could have been done through Steam, Google Play or somebody else by creating a base platform, the option to purchase expansions that stay with you for life and it would have been simple.
I could have prevented all problems by simply not getting Dominion published. No good? I could have prevented all problems by refusing to allow Dominion to have digital versions, in the original contract. Mostly that doesn't matter, so maybe RGG would have said, okay.

If you're going to say, I should have insisted, in the original contract with RGG, that digital Dominion be on Steam, or whatever other thing works for you, well really. I don't know that I can ask for that in a contract for a new game today, let alone when I was some guy trying to get his first game published.

The contract lets RGG sub-license. RGG found some people to do an online version and signed them up. I never had a contract with them (and still don't - no contracts with Funsockets/Goko, MF, Shuffle iT). Goko had good reason to care some about my opinion - maybe I would threaten to dump RGG if RGG renewed their contract - but they did what they wanted. And there were things I tried to get and they did not just happen. I tried and tried to convince Ted that the campaigns shouldn't be awful (levels would give the computer e.g. 3 Provinces and a bunch of Silver to start; you were expected to pay for Zaps to lower that to something beatable). Man there's work I did in 2011 that has yet to be used in any version (it's achievements).

Anyway, what you're saying could have happened, it could not have happened. It would have required anticipating everything that followed when whatever contract was signed. We had not had the experiences already in order to have learned anything from them. You may note that what we have now does not have this problem of "the contract expires and it all vanishes." It's a subscription that doesn't go past that date.

Of course no-one wants to pay for something twice. With video games, there's so much you can play for free, it's something to even pay once. I understand you feeling cheated. And I know that people tend to inflate their opinions of themselves, so that a third party is a better judge of things; so you don't want to be asking me, what do I think about my role. I am the only one talking in this post though, and well I do not feel like I cheated anybody. I sucked it up and negotiated a worse deal for myself because of money people spent that someone else got.

Is this how things are going to be for Dominion year after year?  Switching to new provider after new provider and paying more money as we go?  If so, just tell me now so I'm braced for impact.
I can't predict the future. If you want to know how long Shuffle iT has the contract for, look at how far in the future they will sell you a subscription. For sure we would prefer that things go well with them. Of course if they do, then everyone (playing online) is paying more money as they go, since it's a subscription.

If things don't go well with Shuffle iT then I am not sure I am up for trying online Dominion again. Maybe I'm just that much of a sucker though; I can't predict the future.

Offline josh bornstein

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #37 on: 09 January 2017, 02:47:04 AM »
Donald X,
Thanks for the lengthy responses.  I am sure that you are not surprised at the level of frustration/anger, but--even if expected--it's not a ton of fun for you to read.  My own thoughts are that a lot of us (ie, people who spent a lot of money buying all the expansions at the old site) will end up paying the 2018 subscription, IF the price is reasonable. 

I think that, in real life, I can buy the entire set--if I look for a good deal--for about $150 USD, right?  So, if we "legacy" members have to pay an annual subscription of around 10% of the IRL cost . . . that's about $15/year, and I can live with that.  If you want to gouge a bit more money, and charge us 20% of the IRL costs, that would end up being around $30/year.  That leaves a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth, but I think I'd be okay with that (esp if that included the newest expansion or two that was unavailable at the old site).  But if this site asks for, say, $40-50 a year, then we are talking about paying ONE THIRD of the "forever" IRL price for just one year of use, and that would obviously be too much of a rip-off, and would not be something I'd be willing to do.  I'd much rather just go out and buy the physical sets (so, you'd still get my money  :D), and have them forever.

I get that the way things resolved themselves was less than ideal.  And so there was no way to do the deal that would have made everyone happy.  But prior posters have pointed out examples where people under old systems were grandfathered in, with different prices and pricing systems for new and/or incoming users.  To us, that seems much more fair.  When I bought all the existing expansions online at MF, I sure did not notice any warning like "Hey, you *do* realize that what you're paying for will go away if Donald ever moves to a different provider, right?"  (It might have been buried in the fine print, but so what? . . . no one on earth has read to the bottom of a User Agreement.  :) )  I am a photographer, and so I use Adobe Photoshop.  I spent hundreds and hundred of dollars, over the years, buying that programme and several upgrades.  But when it went to the now-current subscription system, we legacy users were (and continue to be) allowed to keep using our program, and will be allowed to do this forever.  And that's what I am doing . . . until such point as new digital cameras will not be recognized by my old version of PS.

I wish that you, in your negotiations with Shuffleit, had done something similar with us legacy users.  But if, when it comes time to figure out what to do for 2018, we legacy users are asked to pay somewhere in that 10-20% range--for all the expansions--then my guess is that most of us will be okay with it.  You (and Shuffle) will obviously make the ultimate pricing decisions, and we'll just wait and see.

Offline werothegreat

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #38 on: 09 January 2017, 03:43:20 AM »
Well, you don't need to be online to use PhotoShop, and nor is it hosted on expensive servers.  If MF had released an offline, single-player program, I could see your reasoning, but they didn't.

Offline Donald X.

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #39 on: 09 January 2017, 05:08:13 AM »
I am sure that you are not surprised at the level of frustration/anger, but--even if expected--it's not a ton of fun for you to read.
Yes, and I have big plans to not read it all. There's nothing I can do, and if I could have done better at some point in the past, well it's not great to think about what an awful person I must be for not managing that.
 
But if this site asks for, say, $40-50 a year, then we are talking about paying ONE THIRD of the "forever" IRL price for just one year of use, and that would obviously be too much of a rip-off, and would not be something I'd be willing to do.  I'd much rather just go out and buy the physical sets (so, you'd still get my money  :D), and have them forever.
I don't know what a good price is for actually selling this service, and I don't know what a good price is for supporting the digital publisher. If the second number is higher then it just doesn't work? You can't go lower than the second number.

I always felt that it was their call; they were the ones who would be screwed if it didn't sell. The worst case for me and RGG is that we don't make money from this (and yes we still make money from the physical game); the worst case for them is that they lose money. They discussed pricing as part of negotiating and I'm not looking to see exactly how it went, but the rough way it played out is they got a price they wanted. I don't know if they will think a different number is reasonable in the future; not a question for me.

You can argue that maybe for some people a digital version substitutes for a physical one and so we lose money on those people if the digital version is too much cheaper (Wizards of the Coast felt so strongly about this at one point that Magic Online is exactly as expensive as Magic IRL). OTOH you can argue that the digital version promotes the physical version, and that some people buy both, or that some people were never buying one or the other regardless. I can't do any of that math.

But when it went to the now-current subscription system, we legacy users were (and continue to be) allowed to keep using our program, and will be allowed to do this forever.
We started out negotiations with exactly that plan, more specifically that we would pay for all existing users by giving up more than we'd ever gotten from them - turning our profits into losses. Then we found out that we hadn't actually gotten much of the money they'd paid, that what it would cost to pay for them was many many times what we'd gotten. If we had been stuck with that plan, there would simply be no online Dominion. Instead we negotiated lower pay for ourselves to get existing users a year of the new system - or offline versions that you can keep, for people who just want to play bots (and like the new version), and I know at least that that's a nonzero number of people, that everything works out fine for (once that version is available).

The situation with Adobe seems likely to be much different; for example, I bet that the money from those existing users actually went to Adobe.

Shuffle iT is an entity comprised of people who eat dinner every night and so on; if you don't give them the money for it and we don't then where are they getting it from? Other jobs that mean they aren't really working on online Dominion? So I mean, I personally do not mind if you want to try to talk Shuffle iT into giving existing users more (I don't have a contract with them and sure don't speak for RGG or anyone else here). I don't see how they can agree to it though. And I personally am not going to pay for more time on the service for you; again I am already giving up what is likely to be more than I've ever gotten (it's a % so I can't say for sure until the year is up), for that year that will be gone before we know it.

Offline Ranna156

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #40 on: 09 January 2017, 05:30:15 AM »
i hate to even mention this, but has anyone considered adding ads to help lower the cost of the yearly subscription. They suck, I know, but it does generate cash flow. The thought of having to wait between 'hands' and watching viagra commercials is making me cringe just thinking about it. But i guess you could always just have a 'waiting' period for paying subscribers and make the people who play for free watch the lame adds. ;D

Offline LaLight

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #41 on: 09 January 2017, 06:37:56 AM »
i hate to even mention this, but has anyone considered adding adds to help lower the cost of the yearly subscription. They suck, I know, but it does generate cash flow. The thought of having to wait between 'hands' and watching viagra commercials is making me cringe just thinking about it. But i guess you could always just have a 'waiting' period for paying subscribers and make the people who play for free watch the lame adds. ;D

Yes, there is such a thing and maybe, for some reason, in some time it will start to be considered. It highly depends on people obv. For now, it's too soon to even think about it. I do not know policy of Shuffle IT developers about that, quite possible outcome is that they are highly against ads (and I can understand this).

Offline josh bornstein

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #42 on: 09 January 2017, 08:32:12 AM »
i hate to even mention this, but has anyone considered adding adds to help lower the cost of the yearly subscription. They suck, I know, but it does generate cash flow. The thought of having to wait between 'hands' and watching viagra commercials is making me cringe just thinking about it. But i guess you could always just have a 'waiting' period for paying subscribers and make the people who play for free watch the lame adds. ;D

Yes, there is such a thing and maybe, for some reason, in some time it will start to be considered. It highly depends on people obv. For now, it's too soon to even think about it. I do not know policy of Shuffle IT developers about that, quite possible outcome is that they are highly against ads (and I can understand this).

I think it's a great suggestion.  And a good way to add a bit of extra income.  Don't like the ads?  Then pay some small amount ($1-2 per month) to get ride of them.  As long as we have the choice; paying tiny amounts like that should be no issue for most of us.  If it's like many other sites, lots of people will start off with the cheaper option, and then realize, "Wow, a 30 second ad is really annoying between Each game.  It's worth a buck a month to get rid of that."

Nice idea.

Offline Philip

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #43 on: 09 January 2017, 08:43:44 AM »
Ads will not be considered because, for one, RGG doesn't want them.

The closest thing you'll see is us pointing out in some way to non-subscribers that hey, if you'd like to see more of this awesome game, you can purchase a subscription.

Offline allanfieldhouse

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Re: Pricing and reimbursement
« Reply #44 on: 09 January 2017, 05:14:45 PM »
Ads will not be considered

Thank you. (I know there are some serious benefits to using ads, but thank you.)