Question Does "Online" games mean we have to pay by the number of minutes we play?

modeonoff

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If I recall correctly, when Ultima Online came out many years ago, people could not install everything on the PC's HD. They seemed to have to pay whenever they went online. What is the meaning of Online when this word appears in the Game's title? Does it mean it is not a one time payment but pay whenever the player is online?
 

ScrewySqrl

Champion
Moderator
it varies by the game,

Nothing is the old Compuserve/Prodigy/AOL pay-by-the-minute anymore.
but you can have free to play, free to play with microtransactions, or limited free to play with Monthly/quarterly/annual subscriptions,
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
If I recall correctly, when Ultima Online came out many years ago, people could not install everything on the PC's HD. They seemed to have to pay whenever they went online. What is the meaning of Online when this word appears in the Game's title? Does it mean it is not a one time payment but pay whenever the player is online?
"Online game" means a significant portion of the gameplay lives on their server, not your PC.
Payment varies from $0 forever, to some monthly/yearly subscription price.
 

modeonoff

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Jul 16, 2017
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"Online game" means a significant portion of the gameplay lives on their server, not your PC.
Payment varies from $0 forever, to some monthly/yearly subscription price.
Thanks. Why a significant portion of the gameplay lives on their server?
So I need to check the payment details clearly? Do they sometimes trick users into paying a large amount of money?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Thanks. Why a significant portion of the gameplay lives on their server?
So I need to check the payment details clearly? Do they sometimes trick users into paying a large amount of money?
Unless they can physically reach into your back pocket and extract the credit card...they can't "trick you".

If, at any time, it requests a credit card number or other payment type....this is when you read the fine print in detail.
 

modeonoff

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Unless they can physically reach into your back pocket and extract the credit card...they can't "trick you".

If, at any time, it requests a credit card number or other payment type....this is when you read the fine print in detail.
I have created Steam and Epic accounts. I guess when I make the first purchase, I need to enter my credit card information. So, they won't store such info in the system and if I am not careful with the fine print, I will be charged automatically?

Is Steam and Epic serving like a middle person (like Amazon and Newegg) between users and games manufacturers?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
You need to read the details for each game purchase.

It might be $24.99 upfront, and then $0 forever after.
Or, there might be other purchases that could be made. Other DLC or power upgrades....micropurchases.
 

Skpstr

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Oct 9, 2013
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Thanks. Why a significant portion of the gameplay lives on their server?
So I need to check the payment details clearly? Do they sometimes trick users into paying a large amount of money?
Biggest reason is probably the sheer size of online gaming "worlds" and the sheer amount of calculations needed. You just can't host a "world" with thousands of players on a consumer desktop.

Another reason is fairness. With a game like CoD or Battlefield, the multiplayer is designed to be doable on lesser machines. This means each individual player's machine contributes to the overall game calculations. This means that players can add "cheats" for themselves. You could, for example, double the rate of fire of a weapon, or your running speed, or never run out of ammo.

By contrast, a game that is "server side" does all the calcs on the main server. The only info it will accept from your PC is your control inputs, and it decides if that input is valid. So you can hammer the fire button as fast as you want, but the server won't actually take into account any shots that aren't supposed to happen.

As far as payment, you're generally pretty safe. They'll make more money encouraging people to spend over time (possibly in multiple games) than ripping them off once.

They will try to entice you to spend money, it's up to you to ascertain value.

If I try a new free-to-play online game, I make it a point not to spend anything for at least 6 months. At that time, if I enjoy the game, I'll consider what I might wish to spend, or might continue to play for free.

Most games are fairly decent about reducing or eliminating gameplay advantage for paying players, and most have a wide variety of things you can spend on, with a wide variety of pricing, so you can spend as much or as little as you wish, as frequently as you wish.

As far as buying games on Steam, you still have the game on your PC, and can play offline. If they suddenly went bankrupt, you'd still have any games that were installed on your PC.

For me, the only real difference between Steam and physical copies, is that I'm not trying to keep track of a pile of DVDs, and I don't have to switch discs to play a different game.
 

modeonoff

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Biggest reason is probably the sheer size of online gaming "worlds" and the sheer amount of calculations needed. You just can't host a "world" with thousands of players on a consumer desktop.
Thanks for the detailed explanations.

What if I am the only player in those games that have sheer size of "worlds"? Is 9900K and RTX 2080Ti not enough to handle the sheer amount of calculations needed?

I have seen many students playing League of Legend. It seems to be free of charge and does not require installation. There are also some advertisements for games that show up automatically on my browsers. Given that these games are similar to those commercially available games in the price range around $35-70, why spend that kind of money when similar games are available for free?
 

Skpstr

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Oct 9, 2013
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Thanks for the detailed explanations.

What if I am the only player in those games that have sheer size of "worlds"? Is 9900K and RTX 2080Ti not enough to handle the sheer amount of calculations needed?
For sure it is, but that's a single-player environment. A home setup can even handle co-op based gaming. (like an open world RPG where it's you and a few friends in the party)

But to be able to handle the calcs for hundreds or thousands of players at once, you need lots of power.

It depends on the type of experience you want. The only real reason to play an online game, is to interact with real people, and if there's a large number of people available to interact with, a home PC won't cut it. Myself, I prefer singleplayer RPGs, because the storyline is usually more intimate and focussed.

I have seen many students playing League of Legend. It seems to be free of charge and does not require installation. There are also some advertisements for games that show up automatically on my browsers. Given that these games are similar to those commercially available games in the price range around $35-70, why spend that kind of money when similar games are available for free?
It really depends on the game, and how you like to play. If you play for free, you won't get all the content, but that may not matter, depending on the game design.

And again, it depends on the experience you want. If I'm in a competitive mood, I'll play an online PvP game. If I'm in a relaxed mood, I'll play a singleplayer game, where I can hit pause and go have a smoke, or make a sandwich if I feel like it.

The biggest thing pricewise though, is that, even though a game is free, (or especially if) there's going to be some form of enticement to pay. You may find, for example, that character advancement slows at a higher level, due to greater amounts of XP needed. Maintenance costs may rise to the point where a free player can only break even after a raid.

For example, I play World of Warships. I played for free the first 3 years, because advancement was reasonable, and I didn't care to purchase anything. Then I started getting higher tier ships, and my credit gain slowed to a crawl. So now, even though I still don't buy anything else, (they offer "premium" ships, some costing over $80) I pay $15 a month for a premium account, which increases my battle rewards by 50%, and puts my advancement back on track.

If you can play a free game completely free, thats's great. But it doesn't take long for many players to be spending a bit here and a bit there, and eventually enough to buy multiple games.

I do both, just because I like to have gameplay options. Sometimes I want to play online, knowing that I'm pitting myself against other humans, and sometimes I just want to sit back and immerse myself.
 

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