Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Prices for larps

Two weeks ago I wrote about larp budgetting and prices for larps and I came to the conclusion that larps can be inexpensive and still deliver quality, as long as people keep to a budget.
It seems that this topic is still hot here in Belgium.

Last week Oneiros vzw made it public that they've decided to raise their participation fees for player characters (PC) from €105 to €120 while dropping the fees for non-player characters (NPC) from €55 to €50.
Some months ago this intent was posted on their Facebook page and got a lot of comments. There were a lot of people thinking it was time prices were raised, while others, like me, were against it.
But the ball has been dropped and now the prices for all their events have been raised for the PCs.

For me it is simple, I believe €120 to be too much money for an Oneiros larp. Yes foods and drinks are included, but as I've stated in my previous post, you can have a larp where players pay €80 (including foods and drinks).
I've run the Manticore larp with Oneiros vzw for all it's events and we could easily have lowered the price to €90 and still make a healthy profit for the organisation.
I believe that if people really want they can lower their prices and still deliver the same quality.

On the other hand I understand why Oneiros raised their PC fees. They have a lot of material and they need to rent a big place to stock it all. Such a place costs a lot of money and they've noticed that each of their events has less and less participants, meaning less and less income for the organisation. Also their Manticore and Caege project have stopped so that's less income from those events.
I just wonder if the price increase will not scare off people. I mean, I'm already one person who will no longer participate at Oneiros' Poort events, just because of the price increase.

As far as I know all larp organisations in Belgium have as goal to promote larping. I don't think that can be achieved by having a high price tag. UNLESS you get a lot in return for the money.
I would pay more for a larp if I know that the experience will be really good. I mean, I spent up to €110 euro extra to go larping in the UK. Making my total pay (excluding food and drinks) for the Empire larp to 173 euro. Of course the price get's lower once someone accompanies me to the UK. But that's still a lot of money to go play in the UK.
But for me it's worth it because the game delivers what I want in a larp: IMMERSION, VISUAL REALISM, GREAT ROLEPLAY.
As far as I understand I won't be getting extra value for the €15 price increase I'll have to pay in the future. So for me it's no longer worth it.
Also as a larp organiser (Calam and Manticore) I know how much a larp costs and I know that you don't need to ask €120 to go by.

It is my believe that this price increase will actually harm Oneiros as they will loose more PCs than they will gain NPCs making the net result a loss.
I hope for them that I'm wrong and that they'll keep their public, but I don't have high hopes for it. I've analysed their participation lists from the last years and I see everywhere one constant => less and less participants for most events. So increasing the price is not what brings more people in. Especially since there is so much larp choice here in Belgium. With more than 20 larps a year to choose from.
But still, I'm sure that for some people €120 is not that much for a larp and I can understand them. But for me it's too much for an Oneiros larp. And as said, the Heroquest larp in the UK has higher prices than that and still keeps on going.

So in the end I think that a participation fee can be anything as long as you have enough people willing to pay the price. I hope for Oneiros that the future will prove me wrong.

ETA: also look at the medium age of the PCs, they're all getting older. High participation fees make it more difficult for students to participate as a PC, meaning that these people will go to a larp that has lower fees.

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