July 17th. Kitely has today announced extensive pricing restructuring which has come about in part as a result of requests from users asking that they be able to spend more time in-world rather than receiving additional Kitely Credits (KCs).
New Subscription Options
Under the new subscription system, monthly KC awards are abolished and in-world times revised. This means the basic Bronze level subscription now provides 30 hours in-world per month (up from 25 under the old system of combining free minutes and awarded KCs), with the Silver plan now providing 120 hours in-world, up from the 100 hours offered under the old minutes + KCs model. With both Bronze and Silver plans, the number of supplied regions remains unchanged (two and 10 respectively).
The biggest changes are at the top end of the subscription model, with the Platinum plan being completely abolished and the Gold plan reduced in price from $50 a month to $35 a month. Gold does also sees a reduction in the number of offered regions (down from 30 to 20), but Gold plan users now get unlimited time in-world.
The new subscription plan comes into effect for Bronze and Silver subscribers from August 1st, 2012. Gold and Platinum subscribers have the option of continuing with their old plans if they wish, or swapping to the new system.
There is also a small change to the free plan: new users signing-up to this now receive six hours of free in-world time during the month in which they create their account. After this (i,e, at the start of the next month), their free usage reverts to 2 hours a month.
Further pricing Updates
In addition to this:
- The costs for setting-up and/or storing additional regions (over and above the free allocation of regions within each subscription plan) has now been increased. The one-off cost of establishing an additional world increases from 1KC to 10KC, while the cost of storing a region similarly rises from 1KC to 10KC per day
- Users can now buy up to $500 USD of KCs at any one time (up from a maximum of $50 USD in a single purchase), options rising in $100 USD increments from $100 onwards
- It is now possible to pay for a subscription plan using Kitely Credits as well as PayPal at the start of each month. Three options are available:
- Via PayPal: as per the current system
- Via PayPal, or Kitely Credits whenever possible: providing your account has sufficient Kitely Credits, payment will be made via KCs at a rate of 300 KC per $1. Otherwise, your PayPal account will be billed
- Using KCs only: this option is only recommended for those who purchase large amounts of Kitely Credits and / or who prefer not to use PayPal for their subscription payments. If there are insufficient KCs in an account when payment is due, the plan risks cancellation (a warning e-mail will be sent out in advance of cancellation).
Setting a Price for Visiting Region
Until now, users have only been able to decide whether they pay Kitely for the time others spend visiting their worlds (effectively making the region “free” for visitors), or whether they pass the charge onto visitors. In either case the rate was 1 KC per minute a visitor spent visiting a region.
These options continue unchanged, but as from July 17th, users are able to charge visitors directly for the time they spend in a region; KCs earned can then be used towards subscription plan payments, for example (subject to the notes above). Further, the new functionality allows region holders to pay others for the time they spend visiting the region.
Pricing can be defined in terms of group access and is calculated on the basis of minutes spent visiting the world.
This approach offers a tremendous flexibility of use, including:
- The ability to charge different amounts on the basis of the group a visitor is in. For example, a RPG region could charge one rate for all members of the associated RPG group and a slightly higher rate for people visiting the region out of curiosity
- The ability to automatically pay others for visiting your world – the blog post uses the example of paying performers for their time performing in a region
- The ability to initially have a region set, for example, to free access ahead of an event (allowing people to come and sample it), and then turn on the additional pricing as the event is about to start; users are then presented with an pop-up dialogue asking them to confirm their willingness to pay or to be disconnected from the region if they do not
- Payment options can be mixed within a single region, so it is possible to charge visitors for their time in the region while also paying performers.
All charges applied to a region are in addition to the basic rate of 1KC per minute. Furthermore, Kitely charge a 10% commission on all Kitely Credits that are earned using these monetization options (i.e. so if you charge 10KC per minute to visitors, you will receive 9KC; if you pay a performer 10KC a minute, they will receive 9KC). This commission does not apply to any of the other ways users can transfer KC to one another.