Turbine Says Subscription MMOs Aren’t Dying
The last few years has seen a large number of MMOs go the free to play route. DCUO and Star Trek: Online are only two of the more recent examples. One might be tempted to say that the Subscription-based MMO is dying. Not so, says Adam Mersky of Warner and Turbine, makers of Lord of the Rings Online. Speaking to Eurogamer, he asserted that the system retains considerable strength – assuming you’re willing to slightly redefine what is meant by “subscription-based”.
“People now in the West expect to have full control over their entertainment dollar and spend it the way they want to,” Mersky said. “It’s probably not right to say the subscription MMO is dying, it’s probably more right to say the idea of forcing a player to only have one option for having to consume your content – that’s probably dying.” And there’s the detail – the part about not only having one option. Mersky continued, “you can choose to subscribe to your satellite or cable television service, or you can buy an IP box like a Roku or an Apple TV, and get your TV shows by paying per show versus paying a monthly fee for all the TV you can watch. This is going on across entertainment.”
He’s somewhat right of course, but it kind of obfuscates the real issue. Obviously, most MMOs that go F2P retain some system of incentive for players to pony up more money. Maybe they retain some kind of subscription, or maybe it’s just pay more on a one-time basis for more content. This doesn’t mean they haven’t switched away from a subscription-based system. So yes, subscription based systems will likely continue along side other payment options. But the day when sole access to an MMO was via purchase of a subscription will probably come to an end sooner rather than later.
There’s plenty more worth reading, and you can do so over on Eurogamer.