Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Day The MMO Subscription Model Died

With the news yesterday that The Secret World had abandoned (kind of) the subscription model and gone with buy-to-play (with freemium plans added) I purchased and downloaded the game last night.  The Secret World is one of those games I was interested in purchasing but wanted to wait until the game dropped the subscription fee.

I think that was Funcom's problem with TSW.  Everyone expected the subscription model to go many people just waited.  They only had to wait five months.  I am calling this development the day the MMO subscription model died.

Some, well maybe most, will disagree.  Wasn't the free-to-play model on the rise for the past few years?  True, but I think Guild Wars 2's buy-to-play model will become the industry's standard for the next few years. 

How about Star Wars: The Old Republic?  EA/Bioware turned that game into a free-to-pay/freemium model within a year after launch.  Doesn't that game show the subscription model was already dead?  Not in my eyes.  If Bioware had developed a truly well developed MMORPG with engaging gameplay without spending at least $200 million the Star Wars universe would have carried the game to success and we would see an avalanche of stories stating the subscription model is not dead yet.  The subscription model did not harm SW:TOR, SW:TOR seriously, if not fatally, wounded the subscription model.

The reason that 12/12/12 should go down in MMORPG history as the day the subscription model died is that yesterday was the day that MMO fans forced a game company into acknowledging that they could not charge a subscription.  The pre-launch buzz I received was that Funcom had developed a nice little game that a lot of people were interested in playing.  But the game wasn't engaging enough to purchase as launch.  How many decided that they would wait until the game dropped subscription fees?  We will see over the next few weeks.

8 comments:

  1. Did they have a trial? I am not sure I'd have tried Eve if I had to drop 40-60 just to see if I liked it

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    1. The game had a three-day trial and if you completed 30 missions the trial was extended by two days and you received 1200 of Funcom's points that could be used to purchase stuff in their store. I'm not sure if that offer still holds, but I don't see it on the website now.

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  2. "How many decided that they would wait until the game dropped subscription fees?"

    guilty as charged :)
    just downloading it now as I type this

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  3. Hope you enjoy it, it's really a very good game.

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  4. Doesn't help that Funcom was charging a $60 entry fee. I know that was one of the factors involved in my wife walking away from the game.

    There were others, though, so I'm not sure this will lure her back.

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    1. The game been available for about $30 on Amazon for months, thats allot less than $60.

      And the game is a really decent good game with great written stories and challenging missions.

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  5. The sub model isn't really dead. It is just that there are few games, other than EVE Online, that are worth paying a sub fee.

    If/when the MMO game designers come up with something truly new and engaging, with more than a month's worth of content, players will be there, credit cards in hand, ready to subscribe.

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    ReplyDelete