CO2 Pricing Policy

Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

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Hi all,

There has been a lot of rumours and false information going around about our pricing policy. I want to clarify what it is. By way of preamble, this pricing policy is not a subscription service. It is a little different in that you get the game engine for free and pay for the data content. It's an attempt by us to try a different model so we can continue developing our products. The old model of releasing a series of self contained games hasn't worked for us. So we need to try something different and this is it.

Command Ops 2 Pricing Policy

Definitions
  • Core Engine = the Game app and editors plus the three scenarios currently in the Core
  • Data Modules = the Scenarios, maps, estabs and other data packaged in a module format
  • Minor Build = new version of the Core designed to address bug fixes
  • Core Update = new version of the Core that ad new features
  • Module Update = new version of the data modules designed to work with a particular Core Update
Policy
  1. The Core Engine is free, including all future minor builds and core updates.
  2. The Data Modules (including bundle packs) you pay for. There will be a fee for the initial purchase and then there will be an optional fee to update the data so that it may be used with a Core Update.
  3. You are not required to update your data and can continue to use it with an earlier version of the engine. That is completely your choice.
  4. If you chose to update then there will be an update fee that will be determined at the time of the release of the core update based on the extent of the new features. It will not be more than 50% of the initial purchase cost.
  5. We will offer generous bundle deals to update your existing data.
  6. There will be no fee for conversions of data if these are necessary for a minor build.
  7. We hope to release one and possibly two core updates each year. This is an aspirational target.
 

challerain

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Thanks for the information

Question on how things will work. Say I buy the Commander pack and 2.0. You release 2.1 that would require me to update the 5 packs that I have from the Commander pack to use. Say I only want to update 3 of the 5. Will there be a shortcut on my desktop to link to the 2.0 engine and the packs I did not update and another shortcut for the 2.1 engine and the ones I did? Or will these somehow be combined and the game will select the engine to use?
 

Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

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They will be separate installs. So you would have say a CO2 and a CO3 installed on your machine. The CO2 would contain all the modules you purchased and updated for it. The CO3 would only contain the ones you updated for it. They would each have their own shortcuts.
 

Grim.Reaper

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Let's say there comes out a version 3 and 4 at some point. What if I decide to skip upgrading my modules for version 3 by want to do upgrade them when version 4 comes out. Can I just upgrade them once for version 4 or do I have to incrementally upgrade to version 3 first, then 4?
 

Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

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Let's say there comes out a version 3 and 4 at some point. What if I decide to skip upgrading my modules for version 3 by want to do upgrade them when version 4 comes out. Can I just upgrade them once for version 4 or do I have to incrementally upgrade to version 3 first, then 4?
Just the once to version 4.

In other words you will only ever be one update away from the latest and it will cost the same as any other user updating just from the previous version.
 

Grim.Reaper

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Excellent...one last question. On the store page for the core game, it says free for a limited time. In your statement above, it implies core will be free. Since your statement says free, does that mean a final decision has been made to keep the core always free? If so, probably should remove that text from the store page since it adds to the confusion and might scare some folks away.
 

Killjoy

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Is the plan to support all data modules going forward? Also, will we encounter situations like in the past where pieces of the original COTA scenarios have now been split into two separate modules; "once a module always a module".

In other words, if the COTA scenarios were first introduced under this new system we could expect them to be supported as a single module going forward in all releases? Obviously you can't promise to support something forever, but I would hate to see something happen like above without a reasonable discount.
 

Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

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Is the plan to support all data modules going forward? Also, will we encounter situations like in the past where pieces of the original COTA scenarios have now been split into two separate modules; "once a module always a module".

In other words, if the COTA scenarios were first introduced under this new system we could expect them to be supported as a single module going forward in all releases? Obviously you can't promise to support something forever, but I would hate to see something happen like above without a reasonable discount.
As you say it is not really possible for us to support something forever, so in the event that something like that happened we would provide a reasonable discount. I think that's exactly what we are doing now with the Commander Pack bundle deal.
 

*budd*

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i have zero problem with what has been put forward so far but i was wondering about compatibility with future OS's, windows 10 right around the corner.
 

76mm

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I have been watching this series for a long time, waiting for you to move to the Eastern Front. I like your proposed model in many respects, but am a bit concerned about having to pay 50% of the initial price of each "data pack" (or whatever its called) for every core upgrade if you intend to do 1-2 per year. It seems like that could get expensive fast, especially if you have more than one data pack. Also, I understand that currently the only East Front scenarios are made by users, so presumably these won't work at all after a core update unless and until the user updates it himself?
 

Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

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I have been watching this series for a long time, waiting for you to move to the Eastern Front. I like your proposed model in many respects, but am a bit concerned about having to pay 50% of the initial price of each "data pack" (or whatever its called) for every core upgrade if you intend to do 1-2 per year. It seems like that could get expensive fast, especially if you have more than one data pack. Also, I understand that currently the only East Front scenarios are made by users, so presumably these won't work at all after a core update unless and until the user updates it himself?
Welcome 76mm.

You are not required to update your data modules. You can opt not to and they will continue to run under whatever version of the engine that they were last updated for. Eg If you have them up updated to CO2 and we bring out CO3, then you can continue to run them using the CO2 engine.

If you like to look at it from a different angle it is similar to when you buy a stand alone game. Then you buy an engine and its data and they remain valid for as long as you like. You can run them at any time. Eg if you bought battlefield 3 then you got the engine plus a series of data packs and they all worked together with the BF3 engine. Now when they bought out BF4 you got an engine and you had to pay for a whole new set of data packs. When BF4 first came out you could not play any of the BF3 data content using the new BF4 engine. Eventually they brought out a set of updated scenarios originally created for BF3 ad you had to pay for them. Our approach is very similar, except that we always give away free the engine. We only charge for the data modules and you are free to upgrade them or not as you please. Also we offer a good discount for updating your existing data modules. As more and more modules are released we will be offering additional bundle deals. If we release a minor update then we will charge a reduced update fee.

We are not about ripping people off. We are trying to provide:
  • a low cost of entry for new users
  • an option to update existing data with each new engine update
  • the best operational level wargame engine
  • continual improvements in the engine's artificial intelligence and user interface
  • new data modules
  • the best customer service and support
I want to emphasise that updating data modules is completely optional. You are not locked into shelling out money on an ongoing basis. You buy the modules and it's yours and you will be able to continue playing it with the engine version current at the time you purchased it or last updated it. There is tremendous flexibility with this approach. Users who want to keep their data sets working with the latest engine can do so at a reasonable price. Those that would prefer to purchase the latest module but not update their existing modules will be free to do that too.
 

76mm

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Dear David,

First, to be clear, I've never accused you of trying to rip people off; I actually generally like your proposed model, which is very innovative, but am trying to get my head around how it will work in practice.

I guess the main problem I see is with your analogy with stand-alone games, which are typically updated every three-five years (not including patches, DLCs, etc.). People seem to like your games, so presumably will want to keep their engine, and thus their data packs, up to date, and not fall too far behind. This will probably especially be the case for multiplayer, so that everyone can keep playing with the widest possible set of players (or can players participate in multiplayer even if on different engine versions?). So I'm not sure if it is safe to assume people won't want to keep their engine up to date--if I like the game, I'm sure that I would.

Obviously, since you're giving away the engine, I would expect to pay to update the content, my concern mainly arises at the price--if you're releasing core updates twice a year and charging 50% of the initial price to upgrade for each core update, then within two years of release I've already paid the initial price of the game three times over to keep it up to date. Ultimately of course the attractiveness of the proposition depends on how often core updates are released, how much content is in them, and the price of the updated data packs. Also, I think you've mentioned that people will be able to skip updates and then catch-up by paying the same price for the next update, so that helps I guess.

Again, none of this is intended as serious criticism, I actually think that your proposed model makes more sense than for instance, how the Combat Mission games are handled. Also, the initial prices for your data packs (and game engine!) are very reasonable, so I have no problem there.
 

Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

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Fair enough. I didn't mean to impart that you were accusing us of ripping anyone off. It's just that I have had a fair bit of mud slung my way today on another forum doing exactly that. Please accept my apologies.

You are correct in that much will depend on the frequency of updates and the pricing of them. I think it more realistic that we will get out one major and maybe one minor update each year. That may change to two major updates if we can employ another programmer.

As to pricing well I would be looking to provide some sort of bundle deal to update user's existing modules and cap this bundle deal regardless of the quantity of modules. I have discussed this option with LNL but at this stage we have not settled on a definitive option here because we only have the five modules at present and they are covered by the existing Commander Pack. In a years time we will have released at least two and maybe up to four more modules. At that time we may offer another bundle or we may combine all of them into the one new bundle. I want to keep my options open at this stage. But I would envisage on offering a similar type of limited time discount as we have with the current Commander Pack. Currently that's an effective discount of 69% or 31% of the RRP.
 

Mehring

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Hi, I bought CotA years ago and was planning on upgrading it when CO came out and I saw the offer at Matrix. I got BftB instead, at the time, and when I came back recently, Panther was "discontinued." Now I find you here. I was particularly looking forward to playing Crete again with the updates but that's been split off from the rest. Is it possible to upgrade either of my games or will I have to start from scratch?
 

Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

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Mehring, short answer is that you will have to start from scratch. When we went over to LNL there was no way of accessing the Matrix customer database to verify prior purchases. So we opted instead to offer the Commander Pack at a heavily discounted introductory price. That was available for two months IIRC. That is no longer available. We did have it discounted prior to Xmas and it may come up for discount later in the year. But alas not right now. You can purchase just the module you are after though.
 

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