Square Enix: Subs Didn’t Hurt The Old Republic or The Secret World

The director of Final Fantasy XIV Naoki Yoshida does not believe that The Old Republic or The Secret World would be more successful today had they launched as free-to-play titles.

Speaking to Penny Arcade, Yoshida spoke out against the belief that the subscription model is dying. He said:

“I don’t think there’s a right or wrong for having a monthly subscription model or free-to-play model. Games like The Old Republic and The Secret World, I don’t say those games would’ve been more successful if they had been free-to-play, for example. The subscription model was unrelated to the success of the game.”

The relaunch of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV enters its first closed beta today. In its improved state after a disastrous 2010 launch, Yoshida believes the game justifies a subscription fee. Beyond that, he believes a subscription model is required in order to ensure stable operations. He said:

“With the free-to-play model, you’ll get huge income one month, but the next month it depletes.

“Most MMOs have investors in the background, and the company uses the profit and splits the profit with the investors. But, if the game’s not successful, and it doesn’t reach the target, then they have to switch to free-to-play to try and get just a little profit from it.

“Among the MMOs in the market, only Blizzard and Square Enix are making money without investors in the background.”

Do you agree with Yoshida? Would The Old Republic and The Secret World have fared not better if they had launched with a F2P model?

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5 Comments on Square Enix: Subs Didn’t Hurt The Old Republic or The Secret World


On February 25, 2013 at 10:28 am

I agree, it wasn’t the subscription that was putting people off, it was the fact they just weren’t MMO’s. The Old Republic allowed you to have companions which completely removed any need to associate with other players, while The Secret World had such a low difficulty that solo play was the main way of progressing, as well as the fact they kept throwing solo instances in. Why are you having solo instances in a massively multiplayer game? That’s just such a poor idea..

While The Secret World is a fun game, I’m still playing it on and off now, it’s simply not ‘MMO’ enough to keep people coming back. Like any other single player game on the market, people will consume the content then move on, there’s nothing else to keep players tuning in. The Old Republic, however, is just plain bad. It’s all corridors and ten minute cut scenes explaining why you should go and click on 3 random NPCs or glowing boxes.

So the subscription doesn’t matter, it’s the fact both companies made a single player game, opened the world to be inhabited by other players, then expected that to work as an MMO. It doesn’t. There are enough single player games around, give me a decent MMO – an actual MMO – and subscription or not, I’ll be playing it.


On February 25, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I just look at Riot and thier League of Legends and wonder how companies can not consider free to play now. League is killing it and has been free to play since day one. Big corps need to cut down the money they use in ads (and on reviews and trolling / anti-trolling) and just focus on making a good game. Then they should launch it in the right forumn. If it is an mmo or the such you should only launch it as free to play because that genre has too many free options to do otherwise


On February 25, 2013 at 3:01 pm

The problem is not the games. The problem is which game was released first and which one we invested the most money on.

I was a Star Wars Galaxies subscriber and then changed when WOW was released. As the years passed by I switched to SWTOR and Guild Wars 2. But both theses new MMO’s failed because of PVP and everything was so confusing and boring. I think MMO’s will soon die out and I believe Blizzard is the only company that can reinvent the genre since they have the biggest fan base.


On February 25, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I think all of these MMO gamers, specifically WOW gamers don’t understand why games like SWTOR should have solo play mechanics. Anyone that played Star Wars Galaxy must feel really ripped off that they can’t play as their character anymore. That said, hopefully the new publishers and developers will either release a single player version of the games or new games to transition characters and gear over when they close down shop for the huge MMO version. Otherwise it is a sure bet the MMO genre will die out like a bad fad in a very bad way, as disappointed gamers that spend money and time building up their characters will be done with said developers and publishers. Look at companies like Square Enix and Blizzard, it is not a stretch to see the impending loss of profits coming their way, as they are getting too comfortable with MMO type games. It kinda reinforces the direction that David Cage has been espousing by creating hybrid mediums of more immersive gameplay and storytelling.


On February 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I happen to like the single player instances in the secret world. Then again i more often than not play mmo’s because of the setting, story, style, and not the socializing aspect of mmo’s. I admit that i am in a very small minority there, and having a prevalence of events like that are hindrance to one of the key aspects of an mmo game.

I do agree that Star wars the old republic doesn’t really have anything go for it besides the setting, and is otherwise pretty bad.