Warhammer EU Pricing – Fustercluck

By John Walker on August 22nd, 2008 at 1:25 pm.

A scene at the no HQ because they don't have one.

There really does seem to be a lot of confusion regarding the pricing of Warhammer Online. You’ll remember that a couple of weeks back the EU prices were announced, and we called them into question, noticing they were simply conversions of Euro into Pound, not only very odd numbers, but numbers well above the competition. We nagged at the UK PR, Indigo Pearl, and they eventually came back to us with new prices in line with what we’d expect. Well, madly, it doesn’t end there.

The set-up for WAR is messy. Mythic, who previously created long-running MMO Dark Age Of Camelot, had a relationship with French company GOA to host their games in Europe. That was confusing enough, published by a mixture of KOCH, Wanadoo and GOA. The same plans were in place for the early days of WAR, with GOA set up to handle the European market. And then EA arrived, bags of money in both hands, and bought Mythic. But with deals already done with GOA, the result appears to be (and good grief, we have no clue for certain) that EA are handling N. American territories, with GOA taking care of Europe, and the communications between the two seeming muddled. Now it seems there’s a breakdown within just the one territory.

This brings us to a forum post from yesterday by GOA’s Magnus Kjellström, the new Community Manager for Europe. He says,

Rumours about UK price cut
This is a big one, naturally. As far as I know, these rumours origin from a blogger (forgot which) who called EA to ask about the UK prices, only to be told that they were lower than those announced in our Press Release last week.

As of now, the information we have at hand is those stated in named PR document. If there are any changes to the UK pricing, we will announce this. I’ve made enquiries about the truth behind these rumours, but I’m afraid I have nothing solid to go on so far.

This is peculiar news to us, as we were told by GOA’s PR representatives, Indigo Pearl (because it wasn’t complicated enough for them without introducing a 43rd company), the following:

“Please see below for the updated subs prices for WAR :

£8.99 per month

£25.17 for 3 months

£46.14 for 6 months

They could well be ameding the box price too but I will let you know.”

To double-stress, this announcement was preceeded by an Indigo Pearl email telling us,

“I’ve spoken to GOA about the prices and they’re going to review them for the UK and let me know Monday.”

Which would seem to imply that someone at GOA had said something, but apparently not told the GOA communications manager. Which wouldn’t seem a great plan. Perhaps there is a specific confusion between European and UK pricing, and that this distinction either isn’t understood by all, or simply doesn’t exist.

The moral of this story? Don’t be successful? I dunno. But flipping crikey, it seems WAR needs some sort of UN body to manage the various factions, allowing them to communicate with each other, before the game gets exclusively released for N64 in Mongolia. We have, of course, enquired to find out what on Earth is going on.

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65 Comments »

  1. CrashT says:

    Warhammer the game of Fantasy Battle and Fiscal Irresponsibility..?

  2. Okami says:

    Suits the Warhammer background: Everybody is fighting against everybody all of the time..

  3. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    So, massive online RPG, massive offline puzzle game?

  4. Bobsy says:

    “What’s that, stapler? No no, these are actual businessmen. They run companies.”

  5. Willem says:

    Why do the prices in Britain have to be lower than those in the rest of Europe?

  6. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Willem: They have Big Brother. That alone is worthy of a discount.

  7. John Walker says:

    It’s primarily because WoW costs £8.99 a month here, and it would be a special kind of madness to try and out-price their most obvious rival.

    Also, it’s because at the stated prices, their boxed game would cost more than any other PC game on the market, which would seem very odd indeed.

  8. Swyyw says:

    I never thought I’d say something like this, but I’d like EA to publish this game in Europe

  9. Naseer says:

    Warhammer Online – the challenge is in the subscription.

    The new tag line that.

  10. Arnulf says:

    This does not bode well.

  11. Lacero says:

    Looking at that thread the german newsletter says people who buy the Standard Edition get in the “Open Beta” but Magnus Kjellström has said in that thread they don’t.

    This doesn’t look good.

  12. phil says:

    You see? Pricing PC games just leads to confusion, distributing games through bit torrent, stuck on the front of magazines or in form of hidden tracks on 90′s dance compilations is the only way forward.

  13. Dexton says:

    After following the game for a few months I have seen numerous complaints about the service for EU customers and alot of it seems to stem down to the main body behind WAR (EA Mythic) doing whatever they do for the US with minimal communication with their EU counterparts.

    Either they need to work with the EU managers or they need to take over the EU themselves and stop dicking people around before the game has even been released. Considering that Games Workshop and the Warhammer IP has always been based in England, the mess they are making with the EU support is really disappointing.

  14. cullnean says:

    GOA are buffoons as proved by DAOC

    so it looks like i may as well try and get on the US servers

  15. Schtee says:

    Wasn’t European DAoC like 2 expansion packs behind the US at one point? Mass rubbishness for Warhammer, if so.

  16. Nallen says:

    no one f’ing knows! why can’t that be the pricing model? “yeah sorry guys, not a clue”

    At least that way they’d all be saying the same unhelpful crap.

  17. Willem says:

    John: That’s just it. Why does WoW cost less in Britain than in the rest of Europe?

  18. John Walker says:

    For the same reason it costs nearly half as much in the US – the local economy. So far as I know.

  19. Willem says:

    If we’re looking at currency, it’s $, € and £, in that order. So, I don’t get why the price would be US, UK, rest of Europe.

    Unless it has nothing to do with currency. Then I just don’t get why the UK isn’t seen as a part of Europe.

  20. Beefeater says:

    It’s a shame to say this because of the hard work that GOA’s community managers have overwhelmingly obviously put into their role, but GOA does has an image problem, because it has so far felt unresponsive to the EU community. The problem looks worse than it is because Mythic has been particularly good at communicating with the US community – but the problem is still real.

    So why has GOA left the EU community feeling unloved and ill-informed? I’m honestly stumped, but here are a few possible reasons:

    1. It’s because GOA is French and has a different working culture. All responses to the community need to be cleared with someone senior, who is only sometimes available. Alternatively, standard practice at GOA has not yet caught up with the culture of immediate response, and policy is to make statements de haut en bas at a time of the company’s choosing, not because some customer has asked a question. I think this ties into the point above – Mythic evidently understands the need to come back quickly to complaints or queries from its customer base, and GOA looks worse than it is because it’s not as good as Mythic. I should stress that this doesn’t reflect upon the community managers at all, but may say something about the importance the organisation as a whole attaches to community relations.

    2. It’s because GOA doesn’t know the answers to the community’s questions (although if this is the case, they are not as good as they should be at stalling. Cf. Mythic or Stardock’s excellent community management in this regard). For US/overall points, perhaps Mythic isn’t communicating information to them well enough, as Dexton suggests. For EU-specific points – well, that’s scary. If GOA doesn’t know, who does? There’s got to be a story behind the flash website, for example, and the relatively unimpressive EU version of the WAR herald.

    3. GOA as an organisation is bad at communicating information internally – the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. Alternatively, responsibility isn’t clearly defined inside GOA, and individuals or departments have as a result to waste time working out whose problem each issue is.

    There may be other reasons – anyone else got a clue? I’d love to have been a fly on the wall at the GOA offices throughout: this is a mammoth undertaking for any company. Hell of a case study if it was made public.

  21. BrokenSymmetry says:

    Why do there need to be separate operations for the US and Europe at all? I really like the Guild Wars setup much better, where (for some time now) you can freely move between all US, European, and Asian servers.

  22. arbitrary says:

    Thansks for putting the events down in full, so at least we can now see what GOA come back with. Magnus did say he was waiting for confirmation – but I thought it was odd you got confirmation before the CMs.

  23. shon says:

    In Pricing there is only WAR!

  24. no says:

    $9 GDB is $18 USD. I won’t be spending $18/mo for an MMO when every other MMO is $15 or less. Especially on top of spending $55 for the game itself.

  25. Jocho says:

    WAR is everywhere!

    But, seriously, why can’t you just pay in Euro like the rest of non-Euro Europe? It’s not the 19th century any more, so Britain isn’t that Super Power it once was as far as I know.

  26. John Walker says:

    Oh, believe me I don’t understand why the UK doesn’t have the Euro. Or why Europe is charged more than the UK for games. It’s all bonkers.

    The point remains: WoW costs £8.99/m in the UK, and PC games cost £30-£35. So asking for over £10/m and just shy of £40 for the box is pretty poor marketing. Whether it’s fair on Europe or not.

    The further point remains, GOA don’t seem to know which they’re doing.

  27. KingMob says:

    It does seem that someone’s invented all these pricing factions and their squabbles for the purpose of explaining later why they’re shooting at each other on a tabletop.
    What’s your favorite ridiculous explanation for why the Space Marines and Imperial Guard were in a fight?

    ps. I hate Bright Wizards. Whenever I see one and their nasty forked beards I just want to smash ‘em. Grrr.

  28. iain morrison says:

    John Walker,

    The UK doesnt have the Euro as we are an independent country within the EU. we will not be moving over to the Euro any time soon.

    Now we have the pricing issue thread, why dont Rockpapershotgun.com investigate the 2nd class treatment of EU players on the subject of SE pre-orders now not getting into open beta, even though, EA.store.com are offering this very deal along with Direct2Drive

  29. Janto says:

    Hmm, I know GOA employees, and I have heard a certain amount of… cynicism over internal communications standards. So this mix up isn’t hugely surprising.

  30. Bahamut says:

    Has this whole thing any influence on the other European prices or just UK?

  31. John Walker says:

    Iain – The more I look into the WAR Europe business, the more bemused I am. I absolutely cannot fathom what they are doing with the open beta, and am further bemused that buying a pre-order doesn’t get you on it. Then that there’s no official forum, and that there’s no preview weekend… it’s not very impressive.

  32. Okami says:

    The UK are part of the EU? You sure about that?

  33. Beefeater1980 says:

    Okami – indeed we are in the EU, although one could be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

  34. Willem says:

    John: £30-35? That’s €38-44. Most games tend to cost €50-55 (£40-44) on the high street. So, that plus the subscription cost. It’s obviously rather unfair and I have no reason why this is the case.

  35. Mark Stephenson says:

    Not wanting to open up another can of worms like piracy or “WoW plyrs Ned 2 get LiVeS” but as a citizen of this septic isle who has worked and travelled through out the world and europe I have no idea why we don’t have the euro either?

    There are far more intelligent people than me on both sides of the argument but all I know is whatever the nationalist sun reading fucktards are against … I am for.

    Euro Euro go Go GO!

  36. The Hammer says:

    @Willem: In the north-east of the UK at least, PC games are normally capped at 30 quid.

  37. Willem says:

    That is a can of worms. Let’s not make this one of *those* threads.

    But yes, hoorah for the Euro >_>

    Edit: That’s even worse. ;_;

  38. OAB says:

    Willem: I guess because companies want a better reason than FX rate fluctuation to change their price point.

  39. Quine says:

    Businesses will always come up with the most complicated subscription models imaginable if you give them the chance. Presumably because they’ve spent all week finishing some pie charts showing a extra percent’s profit in Region A if they shaft them slightly less than Region B. As someone who’s had to code these increasingly-twisted pricing edifices into provisioning systems I’m not surprised about the Euro/UKP/USD thing at all.

    I’ve heard a few tales (non-WAR-related) of multi-region publishing woe similar to the WAR fiasco as well- Region A is writing the game, and treats Region B as an afterthought. Both regions develop their own websites for cultural/political/language reasons, Region A forgets to include multi-currency/language/character-set handling into their backend systems, etc, etc.

    Anyone know of any worldwide publishers that have a single body directly managing ‘regions’ without using parallel office/management structures?

  40. John Walker says:

    Willem – I’m not sure what you’re point is. PC games just do cost £30 to £35 in the UK. Whatever they may cost in another country, that’s how much they cost here. If GOA were really to release WAR for £40, it would be the most expensive PC game on the shelves. That’s just how it is, no matter how much it might cost somewhere else.

  41. Willem says:

    I’m not really talking about WAR anymore, but about all games. My point is that it’s kind of unfair and shit. But then, not really surprising.

  42. Azhrarn says:

    Actually UK pricing lines up fairly well with dutch store prices. (although at the top end) most games cost around €45-49 here. With prices over €50 reserved for special editions or MS games. (yes they’re usually more expensive for some reason)

    Subscription prices in the UK are probably a bit lower due to the previously much stronger position of the pound. Not to long ago 1 pound was over €1,50 making the 9 pound a month subscription pretty close to the EU default of €15 after conversion.

    Since companies rarely change their pricing schemes to reflect the value of the local currencies a drop in the value of the pound would leave the effective price in the UK lower than in the rest of Europe, which is exactly what happened.
    The US has this to an even larger degree. (with the dollar as weak as it is now)

  43. Willem says:

    FFS Belgium, then. FFS.

  44. gro says:

    Anyone know if GOA improved during the lifespan of daoc?
    Cause during the short time i played they were totally clueless

  45. Paul S says:

    It’s intensely annoying that to play a game that I’ve been looking forward to for years, I am put completely at the mercy of a pack of clueless arseheads. It’s ridiculous. The difference in customer support and simple quantity of information available between the US/Australia and Europe is shocking. Currently, the GOA excuse for the lack of an EU preview weekend is that they “were caught by the bed”. Which is laughable.

  46. arbitrary says:

    GOA is a huge, unfunny joke. Everyone who played DAOC and kept his eyes open knows this.
    It begins with the horrible, horrible translation which took years to actually get decent after release and continues with patches going live MONTHS later on the EU servers – which is STILL the case. US has 1.95 on live, EU 1.91.
    Happy fucking birthday to everyone wanting to experience new content unspoiled while not cutting himself completely off from any forums.

    It finally ends with a retarded petition system (read: none ingame but only using a website), seriously impossible work hours so that sometimes you KNEW shit didn’t work because it was weekend in France and they didn’t give a fuck about the servers being down and theeen, to the grand finale – hacked servers with some guy getting GM rights spawning raid mobs all over the RVR zones and GOA reacting by changing passwords of ALL accounts (so who knew WHAT exactly all leaked) and a lot of downtime, somewhen in 2003.

    If stuff like this would happen today with Warhammer I really don’t want to see the shitstorm.

    PS: Oh I forgot their absolutely, utterly, completely retarded billing system that cut you off from paying / doing anything at all to your payment options if you only closed the fucking browser and interrupted the input process – for up to and more than 24 fucking hours. AND THIS IS STILL THE CASE TODAY (at least so people tell me that still pay this bunch of crooks).

  47. Duoae says:

    @Willem. It’s not just a factor of converting from one currency to another. The economy and affordability of items is a factor too. The price of bread isn’t the same in every country and it’s a basic staple… the value of a pound in the UK is variable depending on where you are in the country – the south is more expensive and the north is less so…. for no real reason other than that’s the way the country’s economy has evolved.

    I’m all for staying as pounds sterling for our currency because quite frankly people couldn’t afford to live (it’s already expensive enough here) if we switched to euros (however convenient it would be) because of the massive price hikes that would take place and not be reflected in wages and thus result in a disparity of being able to afford items – as has been seen in other countries that have made the switch.

  48. Torn says:

    What’s worse – and even more of an upcoming FusterCluck – is Magnus saying that “Open Beta access is not planned to be a part of the European SE Pre-Order offer.”

    Now, the OFFICIAL EAStore and direct2drive.co.uk are selling EU Standard Edition pre-orders that include ‘open beta’ as well as in-game bonuses.

    If there is no open-beta for EU SE pre-orders, or if there are only 55,000 keys total for this, how are the retailers and Mythic / GOA allowed to get away with this?

    This goes against all sorts of trading standards EU laws, and unless GOA sorts this out (by inviting all the EU SE EAStore & d2d into open beta) there’ll be a lot of people left with no recourse but the offer of a full refund.

    Scandalous. More info – read MagnusK’s postings on freddy’s forums

  49. Gorgeras says:

    In Britain, if you sell a PC game for £35, it had better have good reviews or *it-will-NOT-sell*. Most consumers for the platform do not buy games at launch but wait and wait and wait for it to drop in price. It’s like a reverse auction: 30, can I get a 25? 22? 20? 15? SOLD to that man for £15!

    No one does this like British PC gamers and no one does this like northern British PC gamers. Buying power includes the power to NOT buy. The Pound is strong, the Euro is not and never can be as strong as the Pound. Our Sterling is worth a lot, it’s worth even more when we aren’t actively using it.

    Animosity between Britain and ‘the continent’ is strong, more so in the general population than it is the europhile political class. GoA were pissin in the wind before just because they’re part of a nationalised, non-competitive French telecoms company which has no incentive to do anything right. It’s even worse when they magnificiently live up to that stereotype.

    I’m one of those that desperately wants to be a WAR player, but two years of GoA interpreting any criticism as if it were automatically unreasonable and invalid has taken it’s toll and arrived at the only outcome it can possibly lead to: they will fail to deliver on their oft-made but never-delivered promises. They will continually procrastinate. I’m going to see what I can do to play on the US servers.

    In response to those that say they are going to play on US servers, GoA and their forum attack dogs paint a picture of US servers being dead during our natural playing hours because of the time-zone difference. It’s utter tosh which assumes that the people thinking about avoiding GoA’s service are somehow in a minority. If lots of people from Britain and Europe play on US servers, the timezone doesn’t matter. Right now, it’s the best possible outcome I can hope for and Mythic finally gets the message: we don’t want GoA.

  50. Gap Gen says:

    Maybe sites like play.com have undercut competition so they have to charge less or lose business? Whatever the case, I probably won’t buy a new game for much more than £25, and you have to wonder who buys new games from the high street.

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