Trion Worlds On Rift Lifetime Subs: ‘Nope, Never’

In an era in which subscription-based MMOs are increasingly squeezed, and even franchises which should have been invincible are forced to go free to play, it’s understandable that those games still carving out a living via subscription are thinking very carefully about how they conduct their business. Take Trion Worlds, makers of Rift, for example. In an interview with A List Daily, Rift global brand director Jim Butler discussed their strategy at length. Though the whole interview is fascinating, we were most struck by his comments regarding the possibility of a lifetime subscription for dedicated Rift players.

“Nope; never,” Butler said when asked if Trion might ever provide such an option. “I was against the idea when we did it at Turbine, and it won’t happen on my watch here at Trion. Lifetime memberships are a great deal for consumers that plan to spend the next few years playing the game, and a financial disaster for subscription-only companies that have to continue paying for new feature development, salaries, server costs, marketing, etc. Ultimately, it’s a bad deal for the consumer in the long-term.”

He’s got a point. To keep things profitable, you need a steady infusion of money. Letting people frontload their investment might make you temporarily flush with cash but in the long term, lifetime membership users don’t typically tend to expand. And besides, it isn’t that expensive, if, that is, you’re the kind of person who really likes MMOs. But what do you think, Game Fronters? Is this a chincey way to conduct your business? Sound off in comments.

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2 Comments on Trion Worlds On Rift Lifetime Subs: ‘Nope, Never’

Michael

On October 26, 2012 at 8:10 pm

This is corporate BS. You dont need to pay for any subscription. You really have to look at every MMO’s subscription model to see where they get the 15 dollars a month number. Its technically a number ripped off previous MMO’s. People dont understand that this is a pyramid scheme.

We as the consumers already paid for the cost of the game and its service when we purchased the game from them. We are paying internet fees to play these games and we shouldnt pay any additional fees for playing these games. As a developer there job is to continue creating content for us to buy just like they do with DLC in consoles. Imagine if you had to pay 15 dollars a month to play a game like Call of Duty or Battlefield on consoles?

Now tell me whats the difference. I paid for a game to play online because thats the feature it comes with in which the company has to provide there service to us the consumer to play it. You have to ask yourself a question add all the months you played any MMO times how much you paid and tell me if the game you are playing is worth what you payed for and how much content was released for it.

Mathew Sewell

On October 31, 2012 at 8:30 pm

@Michael
I completely disagree. I still play LOTRO and I have played Rift since release. I have a lifetime sub with LOTRO and they have most certainly lost money from the choice to do that. Given that we, as consumers, expect them to continue to produce material for us, we need to pay for that product.

Now, with a game like WoW, you would be right. They have 10 million subscribers and put out maybe one major patch a year, if you’re lucky.

However, with Rift, it isn’t just corporate speak. With maybe 1/10th the subs as WoW, they put out massive content releases, character changes, new raids, radically new features, an entire continent, etc. The money for this has to come from somewhere.

I largely suspect that the lifetime membership hurt LOTRO and more rapidly pushed them F2P. That hasn’t happened with Rift, and it won’t for the foreseeable future, largely because what we pay for is what is delivered: constant flows of new content.