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"Free players a negative"? Let's talk bandwidth! (Math inside)

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
"Free players a negative"? Let's talk bandwidth! (Math inside)

HisShadowX's Avatar


HisShadowX
11.18.2012 , 09:00 PM | #11
Quote: Originally Posted by RycheMykola View Post
I really don't understand your post, I'll assume English isn't your primary language though.

This game is nowhere near 2 million subscribers..........................I'd say 500k is on the high side.
That's because those 2 million people left when the developers started catering to a small minority. Then Bioware Austin started getting canned after their poor design choices. Even the Bioware Doctors have resigned in shame. 200 million dollars they advertised to the casuals and WoW Crowd and what happened.....they decided last minute to cater and have events to the most undesirable type of people in the MMO world. The Hardcore Minority

HisShadowX's Avatar


HisShadowX
11.18.2012 , 09:07 PM | #12
Quote: Originally Posted by astrobearz View Post
indeed

and again, i do feel like i have to stress this this part, if subs was enough to keep this game a float, why did it undergo a f2p conversion?

please answer this question, and thanks in advance

This game was the most expensive game in history. 200 Million dollars and what happened? Last minute BIoware Austin decided to focus on the cockroaches of the MMO world the Hardcore Minority. Bioware Austin had almost all its staff laid off for their poor, poor, poor, poor choices. Hell the CEO of EA was almost replaced and EA's stock dipped down big time because of Bioware Austin. The Doctors quit in shame because of their poor choices.

This game was supposed to be a casual game instead what happened? Money was spent and the game day 1 had tons of glitches from using the Hero Engine instead of making an Engine in house. Then stupid events like the Guild Summit to focus on the cockroaches the Hardcore Minority.

It took 200 people and major designers to be fired for EA to get it's point across that a dungeon finder was needed. but to further stick it to everyone they kept the dungeon finder and refused to make it cross server and that resulted in 100 more people being fired and the doctors resigning in shame.

Arkerus's Avatar


Arkerus
11.18.2012 , 09:29 PM | #13
Quote: Originally Posted by Guancyto View Post
There are a lot of emotions being thrown around about the free players, it seems like. Words like "freeloader" and even "socialist." One of the more common ideas thrown about is that a free player is a negative on SWToR.

So I set out to gather some data, because numbers beat feelings every time. Setting aside intangibles, free players do cost Bioware money. But how much? Well, turns out it's not a lot. And by not a lot, I mean you can maintain hundreds for a month for the price of a hamburger.

The cost of having a free player running around on SWToR is the cost of the bandwidth he's using - the amount of data transferred to keep his machine and the server updated on what the other is doing (or data transferred downloading the client/patches). He doesn't get customer service (subs only) and development work happens with or without him, and new stuff is largely paid content anyway. Downloading a bandwidth meter(1), I closed all other applications on my PC that might consume bandwidth and went to go play, measuring the various domains in SWToR and measuring just how much bandwidth I was using. What I found:

-Idling on the fleet was actually the most intensive activity I measured, which had an average of 8 kilobytes per second of combined download/upload traffic.
-Questing in populated areas (in this case the Black Hole) was the second-most intensive activity, at an average of 5 kilobytes per second of combined download/upload traffic. Questing is important because it's the most strongly encouraged activity for a free player, and the majority of the game.
-Flashpoints were actually very light on bandwidth usage, at an average of 3 kilobytes per second combined download/upload traffic.
-Questing in unpopulated areas and space missions both also had around 3kb/s; this is not surprising, the least bandwidth is used while soloing or in small groups. The less players/actions you have to update, the less bandwidth gets used.
-Loading into new areas was no more intensive, probably because it's all on your hard drive.
-I have not yet tried to measure Warzones. I kind of like winning and the meter won't minimize. ^^; I feel fairly confident assuming it will be the most bandwidth-intensive activity, so I'll come back with more data later.

(On an unrelated note, I found out that the bandwidth used in SWToR is low enough that if you were able to download the patches before the next patch hit, you could play it on dial-up.)

But this is just traffic. How much does this cost Bioware? I don't actually know how much their bandwidth costs, so I'll use something that's 99% likely to be more expensive: the "any old person could get this price" option. No bulk discounts at all. I chose a Virtual Private Network server(2) because in a VPN, you are also renting the server used. They therefore include the costs of server maintenence in your fee (with a markup, of course), so we're accounting for server costs in our napkin math. They cost 3.99 euros per month ($5.08) for a combined 1 terabyte upload/download, which equals 0.398736937 megabytes per second, or 408.3 kilobytes per second.

The majority activity is questing. I'll use the questing in populated areas average for our numbers here, since presumably places where you'll find one free player you'll find a lot of them. At 5kb/s, this means that $5 per month will get you 81 F2P players who play 24 hours per day. Assume that they instead play 8 hours a day, and that $5 gets you 243 really dedicated free players for a month.

So let's get some metrics, specifically leveling to 50 as a free player. Consulting a thread which lists play time (3). We get some people with 13, some with 6, someone claiming 3 who is probably lying. Let's highball our estimate a bit and say it takes 10 days /played or 240 hours to hit level 50. This comes to 4320000 kilobytes of data, which looks like a lot but it comes out to 4.32 gigabytes of bandwidth used. Applying arithmetic at a cost of $5.08/terabyte, it costs Bioware 2.14 cents to see a free player level to 50.

Downloading the game client is approximately 27 gigabytes of data(4), which costs Bioware 13.39 cents under this model which is again, almost certainly more expensive than what they actually use.

Combining the two and applying some more math, it costs Bioware 15.53 cents in bandwidth for a free player to download the game and level to 50. Okay, so what does this mean? It means that if fifteen free players download the game and play to the level cap, and one of them buys a single operations pass, Bioware has made money.

tldr: bandwidth is not expensive, Bioware needs a hilariously small conversion ratio on free players to make money on them.

(1) http://www.wizard-soft.com/meter/register.htm engaged in trial mode for the purposes of logging.
(2) http://www.edis.at/en/server/kvm-vps/usa/
(3) http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3382432
(4) http://www.swtor.com/info/faq/game

The cost of a free player (or ANY player for that matter) has little to do with bandwidth. I guess you don't know anything about overhead, labor rates, cost of goods, etc. In a game like this...the cost is basically already calculated and is not spread across the player base. It's a set standard that is probably good for about a few million more players until they have to dump more money into servers, etc. Trying to spread cost across each player makes it look like the cost decreases per player. However, were talking about real financial formulas here and I guarantee 98% of the people on the forums have no idea what I'm talking about.

I really wish people would stick to things they actually know about instead of coming to the forums and trying to sound smart. Really. Stop it.


The same goes for you yahoos spouting off the 200 million cost number. Unless you work for EA and have access to their financial data you have no idea what it cost. A few clueless Internet analysts have talked about the 200 million price mark...without ANY evidence to back it up. You also don't know the standard cost to keep it running nor do you know what profits they are making. NO, you don't know. Don't pretend you do.
Hooning in the rex : http://youtu.be/xtXUM6yPMCY

SerowTOR's Avatar


SerowTOR
11.18.2012 , 10:01 PM | #14
I had bad connection to The Bastion over the entire weekend, jumping from 400-1200ms all the time. The only time it stabilised was after Sunday 7pm (GMT +8), where it fell back to what I've been getting pre-f2p (200ms).

HisShadowX's Avatar


HisShadowX
11.18.2012 , 10:33 PM | #15
Quote: Originally Posted by SerowTOR View Post
I had bad connection to The Bastion over the entire weekend, jumping from 400-1200ms all the time. The only time it stabilised was after Sunday 7pm (GMT +8), where it fell back to what I've been getting pre-f2p (200ms).
There problems this game has shouldn't have happened at all. Bottom line they were given 200 million dollars they bought the rights to a broken engine before it was even ready for release. Star Wars The Old Republic is a tale of mismanagement.

Guancyto's Avatar


Guancyto
11.18.2012 , 11:11 PM | #16
Quote: Originally Posted by Arkerus View Post
The cost of a free player (or ANY player for that matter) has little to do with bandwidth. I guess you don't know anything about overhead, labor rates, cost of goods, etc. In a game like this...the cost is basically already calculated and is not spread across the player base. It's a set standard that is probably good for about a few million more players until they have to dump more money into servers, etc. Trying to spread cost across each player makes it look like the cost decreases per player. However, were talking about real financial formulas here and I guarantee 98% of the people on the forums have no idea what I'm talking about.

I really wish people would stick to things they actually know about instead of coming to the forums and trying to sound smart. Really. Stop it..
I am comparing what the cost difference would be between "Free Player Bob Plays SWToR" and "Free Player Bob Plays Something Else" if I were hosting the free players myself. I am doing this in response to the people saying "freeloaders should pay or get out" or "free players are a financial burden on Bioware." I'm not trying to sound smart, and if it looks like I am, I apologize. (I'd settle for 'vaguely credible.') I'm trying to bring some data into this, specifically that the price of adding players isn't nearly as much as people seem to think it is.

The truth is that additional free players cost next to nothing. Or, as you say, until a certain point, really nothing at all. (And after that not very much.) It's napkin math and not a rigorous fiscal analysis; the advantage is that anybody who doubts the price of hosting can follow the links and do the math themselves.

I know about overhead and labor costs, thank you, and that spreading the cost per player isn't precisely accurate. Whether a free player comes or goes has little bearing on the money spent on any of it - except hosting.

Arkerus's Avatar


Arkerus
11.18.2012 , 11:37 PM | #17
Quote: Originally Posted by Guancyto View Post
I am comparing what the cost difference would be between "Free Player Bob Plays SWToR" and "Free Player Bob Plays Something Else" if I were hosting the free players myself. I am doing this in response to the people saying "freeloaders should pay or get out" or "free players are a financial burden on Bioware." I'm not trying to sound smart, and if it looks like I am, I apologize. (I'd settle for 'vaguely credible.') I'm trying to bring some data into this, specifically that the price of adding players isn't nearly as much as people seem to think it is.

The truth is that additional free players cost next to nothing. Or, as you say, until a certain point, really nothing at all. (And after that not very much.) It's napkin math and not a rigorous fiscal analysis; the advantage is that anybody who doubts the price of hosting can follow the links and do the math themselves.

I know about overhead and labor costs, thank you, and that spreading the cost per player isn't precisely accurate. Whether a free player comes or goes has little bearing on the money spent on any of it - except hosting.
I 100% agree its not costing bioware really anything to add free players. Anyone who thinks that it is...is not smart. The base costs are already set.

However, and I'm not trying to insult you, your math doesn't really mean anything. I would take the argument...in the real financial direction.
Hooning in the rex : http://youtu.be/xtXUM6yPMCY

TrakonBazzaak's Avatar


TrakonBazzaak
11.19.2012 , 12:01 AM | #18
Quote: Originally Posted by Guancyto View Post
There are a lot of emotions being thrown around about the free players, it seems like. Words like "freeloader" and even "socialist." One of the more common ideas thrown about is that a free player is a negative on SWToR.

So I set out to gather some data, because numbers beat feelings every time. Setting aside intangibles, free players do cost Bioware money. But how much? Well, turns out it's not a lot. And by not a lot, I mean you can maintain hundreds for a month for the price of a hamburger.

The cost of having a free player running around on SWToR is the cost of the bandwidth he's using - the amount of data transferred to keep his machine and the server updated on what the other is doing (or data transferred downloading the client/patches). He doesn't get customer service (subs only) and development work happens with or without him, and new stuff is largely paid content anyway. Downloading a bandwidth meter(1), I closed all other applications on my PC that might consume bandwidth and went to go play, measuring the various domains in SWToR and measuring just how much bandwidth I was using. What I found:

-Idling on the fleet was actually the most intensive activity I measured, which had an average of 8 kilobytes per second of combined download/upload traffic.
-Questing in populated areas (in this case the Black Hole) was the second-most intensive activity, at an average of 5 kilobytes per second of combined download/upload traffic. Questing is important because it's the most strongly encouraged activity for a free player, and the majority of the game.
-Flashpoints were actually very light on bandwidth usage, at an average of 3 kilobytes per second combined download/upload traffic.
-Questing in unpopulated areas and space missions both also had around 3kb/s; this is not surprising, the least bandwidth is used while soloing or in small groups. The less players/actions you have to update, the less bandwidth gets used.
-Loading into new areas was no more intensive, probably because it's all on your hard drive.
-I have not yet tried to measure Warzones. I kind of like winning and the meter won't minimize. ^^; I feel fairly confident assuming it will be the most bandwidth-intensive activity, so I'll come back with more data later.

(On an unrelated note, I found out that the bandwidth used in SWToR is low enough that if you were able to download the patches before the next patch hit, you could play it on dial-up.)

But this is just traffic. How much does this cost Bioware? I don't actually know how much their bandwidth costs, so I'll use something that's 99% likely to be more expensive: the "any old person could get this price" option. No bulk discounts at all. I chose a Virtual Private Network server(2) because in a VPN, you are also renting the server used. They therefore include the costs of server maintenence in your fee (with a markup, of course), so we're accounting for server costs in our napkin math. They cost 3.99 euros per month ($5.08) for a combined 1 terabyte upload/download, which equals 0.398736937 megabytes per second, or 408.3 kilobytes per second.

The majority activity is questing. I'll use the questing in populated areas average for our numbers here, since presumably places where you'll find one free player you'll find a lot of them. At 5kb/s, this means that $5 per month will get you 81 F2P players who play 24 hours per day. Assume that they instead play 8 hours a day, and that $5 gets you 243 really dedicated free players for a month.

So let's get some metrics, specifically leveling to 50 as a free player. Consulting a thread which lists play time (3). We get some people with 13, some with 6, someone claiming 3 who is probably lying. Let's highball our estimate a bit and say it takes 10 days /played or 240 hours to hit level 50. This comes to 4320000 kilobytes of data, which looks like a lot but it comes out to 4.32 gigabytes of bandwidth used. Applying arithmetic at a cost of $5.08/terabyte, it costs Bioware 2.14 cents to see a free player level to 50.

Downloading the game client is approximately 27 gigabytes of data(4), which costs Bioware 13.39 cents under this model which is again, almost certainly more expensive than what they actually use.

Combining the two and applying some more math, it costs Bioware 15.53 cents in bandwidth for a free player to download the game and level to 50. Okay, so what does this mean? It means that if fifteen free players download the game and play to the level cap, and one of them buys a single operations pass, Bioware has made money.

tldr: bandwidth is not expensive, Bioware needs a hilariously small conversion ratio on free players to make money on them.

(1) http://www.wizard-soft.com/meter/register.htm engaged in trial mode for the purposes of logging.
(2) http://www.edis.at/en/server/kvm-vps/usa/
(3) http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3382432
(4) http://www.swtor.com/info/faq/game
They arent a drain on anything other than our fun level.


"Omg I cant hide my helmet!!!!??? OOMGWTFPHAILIHATEJOOEAAAAAA"
It may be nobody wants to be heroes except when it doesn't count, when it isn't challenging, that people would rather fight "pretend evil" than the real thing, but I don't personally believe that. I still think people are better than that.
Raph Koster

oakamp's Avatar


oakamp
11.19.2012 , 12:23 AM | #19
Quote: Originally Posted by SerowTOR View Post
I had bad connection to The Bastion over the entire weekend, jumping from 400-1200ms all the time. The only time it stabilised was after Sunday 7pm (GMT +8), where it fell back to what I've been getting pre-f2p (200ms).
i don't have that problem during all weekend, same server and same gmt+8,
btw THAT server crashed , DC, rollbacked recently if u recall.
English is not my first language, still working on it.

ChazDoit's Avatar


ChazDoit
11.19.2012 , 01:03 AM | #20
Quote: Originally Posted by HisShadowX View Post
That's because those 2 million people left when the developers started catering to a small minority. Then Bioware Austin started getting canned after their poor design choices. Even the Bioware Doctors have resigned in shame. 200 million dollars they advertised to the casuals and WoW Crowd and what happened.....they decided last minute to cater and have events to the most undesirable type of people in the MMO world. The Hardcore Minority
Most of the updates were dedicated to raiding content by adding more operations, flashpoints and the group finder. I hope that going forward they decide to add content for everyone, like events and more storylines like the one to get HK51.