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Netflix and MMORPGs Are Good Value

April 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 99

With all the hoopla over various Netflix price increases, I had a chat with my girlfriend about the value of their service. We talked about our usage of it, the alternatives to it, and the overall entertainment value of it to each of us. I even did some quick number crunching and the bulleted information below is the result.

  • Old Netflix Price for unlimited streaming content and 2 DVD rentals out at a time: $16
  • New Netflix Price for the same package as above: $21
  • Average number of movies we watch per month: 9 (Approx 18 Hours)
  • Average hours watching streaming content per month: 15
  • Total monthly price per hour of entertainment before price hike: $0.48
  • Total monthly price per hour of entertainment after price hike: $0.63
  • Total price increase per hour: $0.15

When I broke our usage down by the hour, the extra 15 cents didn't bother us all that much. We use Netflix quite a bit and deemed the price increase perfectly acceptable. This was especially true when we considered the other available options.

Comcast On-Demand: $5 per movie for approx 9 movies a month = $45 ($2.50 per hour) and that's without any streaming content which is lumped in with the cable bill. This is the most convenient method seeing as it's available with the click of a button (no mailing the DVDs back or dropping them off at stores or dropboxes), but it's insanely overpriced given that we already pay Comcast $130+ monthly for cable and internet.

Local Video Store: $3 per movie for approx 9 movies a month = $27 ($0.66 per hour) and, again, that's without streaming content. While I do like to support local business, the limited selection and competition for new releases is too much of a hassle to overlook.

Redbox: $1 per movie per day = $9 ($0.50 per hour) this would definitely seem to be the best value when strictly considering DVD rentals, but there are some other factors to consider when comparing Redbox and Netflix:

  1. Drive vs. Mail - Redbox requires the customer to drive to their kiosks which, depending on distance, can add up extra costs from gas usage while Netflix has no extra costs associated.
  2. Time - If you want to watch a movie exactly when you want to watch it, Redbox is the way to go. If you want to watch the movie when you get around to it, Netflix is better. Redbox essentially charges a $1 late fee for everyday beyond the first.
  3. Selection - Netflix has a huge library of items which can be queued far ahead of their release time while Redbox has a similar issue to the brick and mortar video stores in that it only holds a limited amount of DVDs. The Redbox selection problem dwindles if you live in a more populated area with multiple kiosks in driving range.
  4. Streaming Content - Netflix is the only service with new release DVDs by mail and streaming content. Hulu does streaming without DVD and Redbox does DVD without streaming. Tell me those two shouldn't think about a merger?

Considering the information, our decision to stick with Netflix was an easy one. For somebody that doesn't use the streaming service or somebody that may only watch a movie or two per month, Netflix may not be the most valuable service for them. Either way, I see no use in complaining about it; assess the value of the service, decide whether it's worth the price, and use it or not.

Relative to other forms of entertainment, including Netflix, and assuming close or equal interest and entertainment obtained from doing or playing that specific form of entertainment, MMORPGs are a phenomenal value. I don't do any paid-for activities that return a better time per dollar ratio than playing MMORPGs (with the situational exception of Netflix).

Assume I pay $55 for a game which I play for six months at a monthly fee of $15. That's a $145 total investment. If I play that game for 33 hours per month for those six months (the same usage as Netflix), I'm paying $0.73 per hour. That's exactly ten cents an hour more than the Netflix service. At that point, both forms of entertainment are fairly close in terms of value. For me, I usually find playing MMOs a little bit more enjoyable than watching movies, so the higher price balances out and I'd deem the two equal. As time goes on, though, things start to change.

9 months of playing and I'm at $0.64 per hour. The next month and every month thereafter, since we played long enough to equal the Netflix rate, would be a super low $0.45 per hour (33 hours at $15). Had I factored in the typical free month of service that comes with most new MMORPG purchases, it would only take 8 months before reaching the Netflix rate. Also, my numbers assume a game price of $55 and a monthly fee of $15 which may be lower depending on sales and multi-month subscription discounts. On the flip side, game expansions do raise the rate for a period of time. The biggest downside, and the reason I mentioned "good MMOs" in the subtitle is that most MMORPGs don't hold my attention for 9 months, so I don't get the highest potential value out of them all the time.

Another thing to note is that free MMORPGs or games like World of Tanks offer tons of entertainment for no price. Many people shun the subscription P2P model that many triple-A MMOs use due to the fact that they can play some pretty fun and interesting games for free. Again, that comes down to a personal value assessment. I love the big name MMORPGs and I'm willing to pay the money for the features and hopefully the extra polish that comes with the game.

While I'm on a numbers kick, here are some numbers to munch on. These are all pay-for activities that have a reoccurring fee associated with them or must be paid each time they are used. Something like throwing a football around doesn't count since it has a onetime fee for the football purchase and none beyond that. If you had to buy a new football every time you wanted to play, it would then fit the criteria.

  • Netflix - $0.63 per hour.
  • P2P MMORPG - $0.40-0.85 per hour (estimated).
  • F2P MMORPG - $0.00-$1,000,000.00+ per hour depending on cash shop spending (estimated).
  • Movie Theater - Movie only is $5.00 per hour (assuming a 2 hour movie). Movie, popcorn, and drink are $10.00 per hour.
  • Miniature Golf - Assuming a game takes two hours (very generous) the price is $4.00 per hour.
  • Midnight/Moonlight Bowling - Approximately $5.00 per hour.
  • Anything on the TV/Internet - Good luck watching enough to cover the $30 to $100 monthly bill.
  • Amusement Park - Assuming the rides are included with entrance, you don't play any games, and you stay a full day, the price is around $2.00-3.00 an hour.
  • Drinking with the Guys - Sitting around and boozing say twelve beers over 5 hours is about $1.75 per hour if the beer was purchased for home consumption. Raise that to about $4.50 an hour if it's at a bar and even more at a club with a cover.
  • Community Pool - Hanging out at the community pool all day? Excluding the cost of sunscreen for soaking up the rays for 8 hours, that activity comes out to about $0.75 to $1.25 per hour. Realistically, you'd stay there for 3 hours which skyrockets the hourly price to $2.00 to $3.33 per hour.

I think that is enough information to reinforce the point that Netflix and MMORPGs can both be phenomenal values, depending on time spent using the services. Still, when companies raise their rates, there is always a backlash from consumers used to the old, lower price. I wonder how many of those consumers take the time to assess the value of the service they are paying for in order to make an educated decision as to whether it is a good value for them personally. It's honestly the first thing consumers should do before making any decisions about a service or before making any negative comments about the service. Otherwise, all they are doing is complaining.

Adam Winter is an avid gamer and MMORPG enthusiast. His blog at http://mmoverflow.com has MMO information, analysis and theory similar to this article as well as game tips, tricks and strategies, and humor pieces. The content there is updated regularly and Adam responds to comments daily. If interested in online gaming, it's a great place to visit!

Source: EzineArticles
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