First it was minecraft with its buy now, play now but pay less alpha. This model was good because it rewarded early access users with the game at a cheaper price. Then these people told their friends. As the game added more features it got more expensive to new players. It worked and it was fair.
Then came the Kickstarter early access games. That is, give the dev enough money, usually the full box price and gain access to the game. Star Citizen, Starbound etc.
Now you have the premium alpha/beta games, this is your Elite Dangerous and more increasingly Free to play MMO's like Archeage, Neverwinter and Everquest.
Archeages price seems a bit of a joke, the include items in the bundle are limited. Your $150 gets you:
- $75 worth of in game currency
- 4 day head start
- A database text box entry, I mean title
- 90 Day subscription
- 6 lottery chests
- 10 Teleport stones
- 10 Disenchant Stones
- Sparkle Glider
- Crest for armor
- 10 Pet potions
Problem I have is most of this stuff will just run out and you will be left with nothing more than a title cloak and glider for your $150.
I am sure people will see value in this but on a game which I have no real knowledge about I am reluctant to dump money on.
Now if you got access to a beta / alpha before having to pay money it might be different and I could end up throwing money at the game.
I am sure the montization of Archeage will put me off. I don't want a free game, but I want a reasonable priced game that makes me want to spend money on it. Not sell hats for $75 or tools which cost $10 for 5 ( stones ).
As for Elite: Dangerous, that is another story and I am fighting myself over dumping $200 onto its beta.