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One-Time Purchase

Score + 38
Hello! I would like to suggest the implementation of a One-Time Purchase payment alternative to the monthly subscription of Roll20 for premium features and perks. Upon my research of Roll20's major competitor (Fantasy Grounds) I've seen that they have a pricing plan of $3.99 / $9.99 monthly subscription for standard / ultimate version. However more recently they've implemented the possibility to pay $39 and $149 respectively for the very same licenses as a one-time purchase that grants all the features of such license for good. This kind of one-time payment system could benefit Roll20 a lot, because there might be many people holding out against paying for subscription and would prefer a steady access to the features regardless of how often they might play in a month. As many roleplayers know, one week might be full of gaming sessions, however the next two weeks might as well be either empty due to unforeseen player events (such as more work to do, etc.). Personally, I would prefer a $149 upfront rather than $9.99 monthly - what about you?
Hey Operativ! Roll20 actually already has this feature. It's $49.99 for Plus. $99.99 for Pro. I think the Roll20 folks said in the last roundtable that they're working on making this more obvious in the future. 
Gen Kitty
Forum Champion
Blackwood, that is not a one time purchase , that is the yearly subscription price.  The request here is essentially for a lifetime subscription.
Gen Kitty said: Blackwood, that is not a one time purchase , that is the yearly subscription price.  The request here is essentially for a lifetime subscription. Exactly! I believe that this would be a rather great way for Roll20 to get these occasional subscribers to have a nice payment amount & for these occasional subscribers to have proper benefits without having to worry that their sessions are slower due to less time overall or so. Such a one-time purchase license would provide nearly every perk of the relevant subscription, at least the perks that do not put a monthly upkeep on the company itself. Although due to how Roll20 works, perhaps some of the perks like storage space on the website itself should have a separate, small monthly fee still, as they obviously require a monthly upkeep of the physical drives, etc.
If roll20 had this, I'd be on it in a heartbeat.
Tom W. said: If roll20 had this, I'd be on it in a heartbeat. Exactly how I feel about this as well! I'd grab the "Pro" equivalent one-time purchase package in an instant (storage space or not) :P
This idea would result in a massive loss of revenue to Roll20, so I can't imagine they'd ever offer this option.  Fantasy Grounds isn't hosted in the cloud - you run it on your own PC and other players connect to your PC to game with you.  Its comparing apples to oranges. -Adam
Not necessarily, because such a license can have the exactly same cloud capabilities as the Free version, with the extra options that don't make bandwidth any heavier included in the Plus and Pro subscriptions, giving somewhat middle ground between active subscription and the free version.
Another thought could be a large up front fee, e.g. 249, and then a reduced yearly cost thereafter, e.g. 24.99 or such.  I love not paying money for things, but I also know its important to keep watering the plants if we want them to grow. I wonder if they've explored the idea of bounties vs upvotes in forums. E.g. a portion of membership dollars is pledged to upvoted features and held until implemented and validated by the community. Probably untenable in practice - but would make an even more compelling reason to pay as the funds would be held hostage until desired work was completed for their customers. Finally -  I think that with a recurring subscription, the best way to reward folks that renew is to provide one-time-only rewards each month or such as well as loyalty rewards. So for each consecutive year you're a member, you get rewarded (perhaps in some escalating way based upon years of membership), and each month there's a thing released for that month that you can only get by being a member that month. Once you get it, its permanently yours *even if you stop paying* - but the only way to get it is to have paid that month (or perhaps to buy it after?). I am thinking tiles, tokens, music, short campaigns, bestiary chapters - etc.
While that'd be so awesome, I highly doubt they'd do it, they'd lose too much money in long term, while FG has that feature, you also have to buy a lot of "DLC" to get compendiums and other stuff that Roll20 has for the standard account (free of charge), plus Roll20 is pretty user friendly where FG is a tad more obscure. 
Cass said: While that'd be so awesome, I highly doubt they'd do it, they'd lose too much money in long term, while FG has that feature, you also have to buy a lot of "DLC" to get compendiums and other stuff that Roll20 has for the standard account (free of charge), plus Roll20 is pretty user friendly where FG is a tad more obscure.  I agree with you on the amount of features that Roll20 has. It's really user-friendly as far as a tabletop can get, and it has rich compendiums for the most popular systems and a nice library for tokens (both free and paid ones). The one-time fee for some of the features however still would be a nice way for otherwise free-to-play people to chip in while having confidence that their purchase will not be chased by time.

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You do not have to buy DLCs in FG, in FG the compendium etc. works pretty the same way as on Roll20. The SRD is free of charge (except the fee for the license of course) and is already in the compendium and, moreover, you can add your own things to the compendium, so no need to buy anything, it is optional while you have to buy DLC on Roll20 to get more Compendium stuff since here is no custom compendium as in FG :) So, not a valid argument in that discussion :P
hope this actually gets some traction some day. Currently i spend 0 dollars and have used it for years....they'd make so much on the thousands upon thousands of people just like me that would easily drop 100-200$. but i don't use this app every single day of m,y life and some times my sessions have like weeks/month breaks. i'm not paying monthly for something id only benefit a few days a month from, but would GLADLY drop a stack on those benefits as a future investment i can come back to on my own time without the pressure of wasting money.

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Does Fantasy Grounds run servers online for people to play, or is it done peer to peer? I imagine that is the main reason for the price difference. It'd probably have to be way higher to support that.
There are a few benefits with life-time deals. I don't think they really apply here because there is not so hard competition (but I might be wrong) One is that is good if you need money to do investments. It means you can do stuff now instead of later. It depends on the investment generating more profit than the future loss. (alternatively it might save a company from bankruptcy if they need money immediately )   Another one is to deny income to your competitors. People haven't got unlimited funds, so if your customers spend all their money on your service (because you have a good deal for them), there is no cash left to use at the competitors.  A third one (that I think is more valid here) is to depend more on the other incomes. In this case revenue from the market place. A life-time customer will of course be very loyal, especially if the subscription was expensive.  Lastly: A life-time deal does not last forever. People quit their hobbies for several reasons. They focus on other things, get involved in new hobbies, have less time when they get children end eventually they die. There also is no guarantee that this platform will exist forever. 
I am not entirely certain what roll20's revenue model is, but they give a lot away for free. But, on the other hand, the maturity of the site is fairly consistent with what you'd expect for free, and not so consistent with what you'd expect for paying 100 a year. If revenue is the main thing that caps the amount of work they're able to do on the platform, I would recommend offering a cheaper tier positioned between free and plus. Perhaps free needs more ads (and thus more revenue) and should cap how many games people can be in or such (which yes, sucks but is life if you're not paying to support the platform) and a very affordable tier that's like 2.99 a month or 29.99 a year eliminates those ads and removes the cap. To keep things fair, existing free players would not lose access to any of their games or anything, just be unable to join additional ones if they're at the cap. This comes full circle to a lifetime membership - it may be more palatable to offer a lifetime option for this tier so that some money is had vs no money. I imagine it's simply not worth 50-100 a year for many users, but they might pay a smaller monthly fee, smaller annual fee, or reasonable lifetime fee. Arguably, the site is not 'worth' the amount of the pro subscription to me, I pay it because I understand that if I don't, this platform will not succeed, and I enjoy the platform. Most of the features I get from going Pro, I hardly use, they don't entice me. That's an issue!
Woah, I'm still surprised this thread is going. Well, I still would like to see a life-time deal "Buy Roll20 Deluxe" or something. Many of Plus/Pro features for a much higher upfront price, minus the cloud storage ones that actually cost electricity to maintain - these would still use a subscription, perhaps a separate one for storage only? I mean take a look at games on Steam or GOG (or some other platforms/publishers) - they're a single-time purchase, yet their servers are accessible to players all-around. That's even included in the current Roll20 free bundle as its choice of content delivery, so why not? There are countless ways to profit from this still, considering quite a few more competitors are arising in the recent years.

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When you get into the realm of $50 to $100+ a year, that starts getting into iffy territory, if not just for the numerical value scaring people. Unless operating costs are nearly high enough that it requires roughly $15 to $25 a year from a good chunk of people each (The rest or so as profit and re-investing) I don't really see why large 1 time payments from dedicated users and more use of ad space for free users wouldn't be enough. Countless other larger sites and utilities do the same. I understand the drive for profit and to cover operating costs, but it feels steep currently, especially in the coming global economy downtrend we'll be in soon with this pandemic. It'll be hard to justify that amount of money for anything other than what is necessary. If it were something like $25 a year, similar to Inkarnate's model, I'd be on board in a second, because $25 feels less like I'm losing a quarter of a work week and potential bill payment than $100 or $50 It's wishful thinking I know, but, this pricepoint does not sound great, especially since the subscription options sound more geared toward people who play publicly and look for random people to join their games often.  If most of us are just looking to play with friends and by extension friends of friends, I don't see the added value for what you get for $100 a year. With Inkarnate ($25/year) Dungeon Painter Studio ($15 One-time), and creative use of limited resources on the free version of roll 20, you can get pretty nice games going. Until there's more features than API stuff, custom character sheets, dev server access, light visibility and character vault, I don't see the value in spending nearly that much, especially as someone who has played with paper and pen all up until this point who, essentially has all the aformentioned features covered through other means, save for light visibility emulation, which, paper doesn't have either. Lets see: -API stuff is nice, but ultimately it isn't necessary unless you really, really, really can't muster clicking a down arrow on the UI to subtract from a number on your sheet when it comes to ammunition and other similarly tracked resources, and other things that you can easily take care of by simply typing a few characters. -Custom character sheets: Pen and paper or apps for $5 do this nicely, don't see much of a value in paying for it on it's own. -Dev server access: You are paying them to beta test things for them. There isn't much wrong with it in practice because you do get early access to things, but I personally dislike that model. Something that is typically work or an employee of a company being monetized and paid for by the consumer   and the company getting free labor for it with a profit on top of that just doesn't sit right with me personally. -Light visibility emulation: While sort of nice, you can do that simply by using the ruler and knowing whether you have darkvision/devilsight etc.. or the dm could just not reveal things if not seen. -Character vault: Pay $50-$100 to drag and drop characters from one game to another?  Or just take 10-15 minutes, probably during a session 0 where no gameplay is going to happen anyway or in the time before a game starts, copying values from one and putting them into another sheet? I feel the latter isn't much trouble. Not enough to entice me to pay $50 to $100 dollars for the convenience. And I get the appeal is moreso for dedicated DM's but, if you have so many specific NPCs that have character sheets, you may be planning a little too rigidly for campaigns in a game notorious for plans never panning out exactly the way you expect them to, nor one where details remain set in stone very often after writing up an adventure. To justify the cost to veterans of Pen and Paper, there's got to be more offered or a reduction in price of some magnitude. It's nice that you get more space for tokens, maps and stuff, but at the end of the day, they're marketing to a demographic that thrives on using our imagination to fill in 90% of gaps in the game, which is is a hard sell on it's own, and charging above $50 for a year isn't doing it many favors in my opinion. But to return to the topic at hand and with what I've described, I could see shelling out $115 to $130 for lifetime access to it's currently offered features, if only for the convenience factor, and I feel like it would be much less of a hard sell if it were cheaper on the monthly basis. Take a play out of the Mobile Games Industry's playbook. Smaller amounts on the surface typically lead to longer retained customers and more spending in the long run. The less you have to make your consumer question whether or not it's a good investment, the more likely to attract them and subsequently keep them paying into it. It should be low on peoples' "Do I remove this from my budget?" list.

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Including below comment from a GM/DM that couldn't post in here due to some reason.

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Weird, I've always been a free member and can post, not sure what the issue is on their end. Anyway: I hate the back button on this mouse, spent 20 minutes on a reply only to have it wiped away from going back a page. Ill summarize it. I don't like Fantasy Grounds' approach because it's too similar to Paradox Interactive's hostile approach to DLC. In the sense that, you spend a large amount of money, usually full price for something only to have the rest of the meat of the content locked behind a multiple hundred dollar paywall, about 3  to 4 times, if not more expensive than the product itself, when alternatives exist for similar quality for less. $109 gets you the basic stuff as well as being able to play with people who only have the demo, which, while nice, Roll 20 already lets you play in/host games, as well as have access to SRD content you can drag and drop onto sheets, as well as use of the charactermancer with the content. There's almost no added value to it. $145 gets you the advanced license, which, gives you access to more than DND basic content, like, you get support for other game systems, but, it doesn't seem like much outside of that, which, again can be accomplished by just getting the books and changing a character sheet option on roll 20. Also Wow a whole 3% discount for buying the ultimate license bundle saving you $4 out of what would have been $149. What an enticing deal. That's more insulting than anything imo. All the while, it bombards you with "Hey you have this content, how about you purchase more content that you don't have, conspicuously listed here for your shopping convineince" on every startup in my experience. I started up the application to play, if I wanted to be sold things I'd have been looking at the steam store page, not the application itself. That attitude in marketing does not sit well with me, especially when a cheaper/free alternative exists. Why would I be inclined to purchase the program on top of purchasing all the books for it, when I can play for free and purchase the books for the same price, minus the program's fee? As, if I remember correctly, it simply directs you to DnD beyond or another site to buy them. That being said, if Roll 20 was/offered a one-time payment model, then there would be some competition going on and then it would be debatable between which one is a better choice, but until then, there is no contest between the product that costs nothing/much cheaper and offers the same level of content than the paid version at this point in time.