How to remove a key driver of membership

Today premium players of Planetside 2 (and Everquest 2) receive an email bursting with platitudes outlining a change in the membership benefits. Here is the notification,  that begins with a lovely generic “dear … member” so you could half believe it to be a spam email.

The Email

2014 Membership Update – New Benefits for Valued Members


Dear PlanetSide 2 Premium Member,

We regularly evaluate our offerings at SOE to ensure we are consistently delivering great games and products, while also offering exceptional value to our players. Given that we just started a new year it seemed like the perfect time to add more value!

The week of February 3rd, 2014 we will be making a very important change to Premium Membership in PlanetSide 2. The current benefit of receiving 500 Station Cash (SC) monthly will be replaced with a new benefit that allows you to select one single item valued up to 2000 SC each month. Nearly all items within the games’ Marketplace will be available for this selection. Player Studio items, bundles and additional exclusions may apply. This new benefit must be claimed each month that you are a member as it will not carry over to subsequent months.

We appreciate our customers, especially our valued members, and therefore are excited to bring you this additional value.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you in game soon.


Sony Online Entertainment LLC

Cynical Me

It is very hard for me to remain neutral when this announcement follows a large sale in Planetside 2 over the last week, which urged the community to use Station Cash to pick up some in game items, getting players to spend on cheaper than usual items.  Now this alteration has arrived via email tell us that next sale, you’ll not have built up any Station Cash just for being a member.

On the face of it the concept is straight forward and almost looks like an improvement, they are giving premium players a “benefit”(token) that will allow the purchase of one item from the in-game store up to the value of 2000 station cash, this must be claimed within 1 month.

Sadly this change is removing the flexibility that acquiring stations cash grants you:

  • It can be stored for use later on
  • Can be used for booster perks, especially the 6 month boosters than appear on very rare occasions
  • Can be stored to purchase a bundle deals of multiple items at a cheaper rate
  • It can be used to purchase a number of smaller items and get change.

The reasons

So far the reasoning behind this isn’t clear, there are rumours abound that it could be laying foundations for when the Playstation 4 is enabled to play some of the SoE titles. On the flip side I hear comments that it could be to stop people being subscribed to PS2 and EQ2 and earning 1000 SC per month.

The fear that many people are highlighting is that due to the current pricing structure and the fact the new 2000sc token won’t give change, the in-game store prices may become inflated.

and effect

The announcement thread on the official forums is slowing growing in size as many players are pondering the ramifications of this change, many just want answer to questions, some are cancelling their membership, additionally some are asking for a refund as one of the key components of the Membership is going to change in February, which isn’t good for persons who have just paid for 12 months membership in advance.
There are a number that appear to indicate that they were considering subscribing but the Station Cash was seen as a major factor in their decision, without it they are less inclined to do so.
As for me, if nothing changes by February 3rd I shall be unsubscribing along with other players.
Another question is, could this lead to us seeing other companies swapping to an alternative system for monthly rewards in the future?

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