On December 15th 2013, Kitely announced the first phase of a major overhaul of their pricing structures. That announcement covered the introduction of their new account types (Regular and Premium) and their Metered world options which have replaced their “time-based” system of payment options.
I covered that announcement in some depth at the time, noting that there would be further clarification to come from Kitely on elements of the new Regular account, as well as information on the new Fixed-price options. On January 1st 2014, Kitely followed-through on their promise of providing this additional information when they issued a further pricing update.
More on Account Types
As I reported in December alongside of Kitely’s initial blog post on this subject, the company has introduced two account types, Regular and Premium. The salient points to note on these are that:
- The Regular account is free of charge and includes a single Metered region and a one-off 6-hour trial period which can be used in developing their Metered region(s)
- The Premium account costs $19.95 a month, and includes up to five Metered regions with the ability to visit any metered region on Kitely (their own or anyone else’s) for free
- Either type of account can be used when joining Kitely
- Either type of account can be used when purchasing Fixed-price world options (of which more late in this article)
- Either type of account can add further Metered regions at the rate of 10 KC per day per Metered region (+ access costs for Regular accounts, where applicable).
Metered Regions and Regular Account Visitors
The key point to grasp here is that the time anyone with a Regular account spends visiting any Metered region (including their own) must be paid for by the region holder. This means that someone with a Metered region will be charged at the rate of 1 Kitely Credit (KC) for each minute a Regular account holder spends visiting that region.
The only exception to this is the initial 6-hour trial period Regular account holders are given in order to start developing their own Metered region. Once this trial period has been used, a Regular account holder can either continue to pay for their time on their own region(s) at the rate of 1KC per minute, or opt to pay for one of the Fixed-price world options (there is no charge for anyone visiting Fixed-price regions) or opt to upgrade to Premium (both of these latter options are open to Regular account holders at any time).
Because there is a cost involved in having Regular account holders visit a Metered region, Kitely has included an option for region holders to block Regular accounts from accessing their Metered regions if they so wish, thus preventing the build-up of unwanted costs in respect of such visits. The Kitely blog post elaborates in detail on how this access restriction can be set.
Fixed-price World Options
As of January 1st, 2014, the company has discontinued its original $40.00, $60.00, $80.00 and $100.00 fixed-prix options – although users already paying for these options can continue to do so if they wish. Three new Fixed-price options have been introduced in their place, referred to as the Starter World, Standard World and Advanced World options, as defined below.
Both the Starter and the Standard World options come with slightly reduced resources, as indicated, while the Standard and Advanced World options include the ability to combine the regions included in those worlds into a single Advanced Megaregion. As with the old Fixed-price options, no-one is charged for the time anyone spends on a Fixed-price region.
Whether or not users on one of the discontinued Fixed-price options will want to change to one of the new options will depend upon on a number of things, such as the complexity of their build(s), and their typical numbers of daily users or their requirements for avatar-intensive events. However, the ability to swap is there for them to use, if they so wish.
It will be interesting to see broader reaction to the idea of Metered region holders having to pay for any visits made to their regions by Regular account holders – and how many Metered regions are closed to Regular account holders as a result (I have already closed my own Kitely region to Regular account access, for example). However, the initial reaction to these changes has been favourable, even allowing for the confusion which occurred when the initial part of the restructuring was announced in December 2013.
As it is, the new Metered and Fixed-price payment options continue Kitely’s tradition of offering competitive and flexible payment options, and may well serve to attract new users into giving the platform a try.