Re: gaming fees...?
To an extent I agree that fees are necissary for online games which require huge amounts of servers, support personel, and GMs, but at the same time it seems like they're just charging rediculous amounts for the sake of making more money. For these types of games, I think $5-$10 would be a more reasonable amount, and based on what I've seen they'd still be making a healthy profit off of it. There are even free MMORPG servers out there, and MMOs like Guild Wars and now Anarchy Online have no monthly fee, so obviously it's not a TOTAL impossibility for developers to find cheap ways to keep the game running.
However, what I WOULD like to see for these types of games is the ability to play them WITHOUT paying a monthly fee, but limiting the amount of time you can play to around 30 hours each month (or maybe just to an hour each day). Then, for those who want to play more, offer a monthly fee to play the game an unlimited amount of hours. That way, your initial $50 doesn't go to waste after you stop paying a monthly fee, casual players who wouldn't pay for it anyway would still be occasionally hop on and see what's new, and the developers themselves have an encouragement to actually make the game worthwhile enough to make people want to play it more than the "default" aloted time. Plus, it would give people who stopped playing the game a chance to check it out again later after a couple of patches to see if they added enough to rekindle their interest in it (almost like an extended demo). To me, this would be a great solution: no losing characters when you stop paying for the game, no needing to download new demos or needing to re-buy the game to check out any new features, and most importantly your $50 "investment" doesn't go to waste after the first month.
The other thing I would like to see is a "MMO game pass" where you could play ANY MMORPG on the market by paying a single monthly fee. Obviously, this is practically an imposibility since few MMORPG developers even achnoledge that other MMORPGs exist, let alone work with them, but I think this would encourage a LOT more people to check out MMORPGs. For example: the main MMORPGs I've played that I really bothered to put time into are Earth and Beyond, Planetside, and Anarchy Online (for this example, lets pretend E&B isn't shut down and AO isn't free for the non-expansion packed version). Now I liked all of them, but there was no way in hell I was going to pay $13 to $15 a month for each of them, so I never paid a dime for them after the first month. But, if they offered some package deal where I could play any MMORPG I owned for $30 a month, I'd probably be willing to pay it. Just having the freedom to play whatever game I want, when I want, is worth the extra cost for me. The developers can split the earnings based on how many hours each MMO is played. And it wouldn't even cost the developers any extra money, since a single person can only be playing ONE MMO at any given time, and therefor they wouldn't have to pay any extra for servers or GMs than they normally do. SOE has a small-scale program similar to that, except it only includes Planetside, Everquest, and a few lesser-known games. If you want to play Starwars Galaxies...whoops, you have to pay ANOTHER fee for that! So basically they expect you to pay $35 a month to pretty much play their 3 big multiplayer games online...not exactly a popular option. If SWG was part of their all-game pass, I think a LOT more people would jump on it.
Edit: forgive any spelling or grammar mistakes, mornings are not a good time for me (of course, my definition of "morning" starts at noon).