Opinion: The subscription MMO is dead - long live free to play?

By Kate Cox on August 27, 2012, 2:17 AM

The era of the subscription-based online game has well and truly ended in 2012. It had a good run, really. Fifteen years is quite a long time for anything to stay static in the land of gaming.

Ultima Online introduced the idea back in 1997, when those of us who had internet access were mostly still on dial-up and got booted off of AOL whenever anyone called the house. In 1999, EverQuest came along, drawing in fans and addicts and making the idea popular. It would take another five years before World of Warcraft, launched in 2004, would take the MMORPG mainstream. When Mr. T is hawking your online game in TV commercials that even your grandparents think are kind of funny, you've hit the jackpot of cultural relevance.

World of Warcraft remains the undisputed king of the "traditional" monthly subscription MMOG, yet even its dominance is waning. Blizzard's most recently quarterly numbers put the subscriber base around the nine million mark, a significant decline from the plateau of 10-12 million they held steady at for several years.

Other games in the Western, big-budget MMO space have long since gone free-to-play. All of Sony Online Entertainment's titles, including EverQuest and its successor, EverQuest II, are now without a subscription fee. City of Heroes and Lord of the Rings Online haven't required a monthly charge in several years. DC Universe Online saw a 700% jump in revenue when it became free. And years before the others converted to free games, Guild Wars had already formed a devoted fan base without ever requiring a monthly fee.

Then of course there are the browser-based games: while generally still less well-regarded among American audiences, they boast participant figures that even World of Warcraft in its heyday could barely dream of. RuneScape, in its decade online, has gone well past the 200 million player mark.

So why, then, does the specter of a decade long gone still hover over otherwise-good games and prevent them from being successful?

Star Wars: The Old Republic, launched by BioWare at the end of last year, and The Secret World, brought online by Funcom this summer, both looked to be promising games. The former uses the setting from Knights of the Old Republic, which to this day is still lauded by its many fans. BioWare's story-driven, dialogue-driven style of play, as made popular in KOTOR as well as in the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series, was an immediate draw, and SW:TOR sold well over a million copies right out of the gate.

Unfortunately, the subscribers didn't stay. By the beginning of this summer, there were fewer than a million remaining, and BioWare Austin had been hit hard by waves of layoffs. In July, EA gave the impression of caving in, and announced that the game would go free to play this November.

The Secret World, meanwhile, hoped to be an entirely different sort of game. It dispensed entirely with common tropes like leveling or set classes, and instead hoped for a more free-form experience set in a modern-day Earth. Despite provocative storytelling and regular content updates, though, Funcom has not been able to attract the required subscribers to their venture. This week, they laid off half their staff.

Every positive post or tweet about either of those games has generally been met with a wall of, "It looks interesting, but I'll wait until it's free to play."

Players, and potential players, aren't stupid. As every previous big-budget MMORPG, with the exception of World of Warcraft, has inevitably gone to a free-to-play model, they will wait on the sidelines until their new game of choice follows suit. The audience has become a self-fulfilling prophecy: unwilling to pick up a game until it has gone free-to-play, a game must then go free-to-play to gain those players. MMORPGs are also now faced with the simple fact that competition has driven down prices. As players can dabble in so many without paying a flat fee, there are other places to go.

There will not be another license to print money like World of Warcraft was. The audience is done paying up-front for the box and continuing to pay a third as much again each month thereafter for continued access. Persistent multiplayer environments are not the novelty they once were, and the subscription model now feels like the antiquated relic of a time gone by. The Secret World is certain eventually to follow in the footsteps of SW:TOR and nearly every other MMORPG before it, and go free-to-play if it wishes its audience to grow.

The games themselves are getting better, and more varied, than ever. They aren't all traditional fantasy RPGs anymore; some are shootersrs, and others are exploring all kinds of environments and play. But the one thing that almost all the new online games have in common is that they will not require a monthly fee.

The subscription model is dead. Star Wars: The Old Republic and The Secret World

* Except for that hat. And that horse. And that house...

Republished with permission. Kate Cox is a contributing editor at Kotaku.




User Comments: 44

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ramonsterns said:

And good riddance.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I must admit I never was a part of this era. I'm happy there were Free-to-Play games available when I started looking to play a few game titles once again.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

F2P is a hideous invention. Before, you bought a game (with or without subscription fee), you installed it, and you had the same game as everyone else, with access to exactly the same things as everyone else. You were on the same playing field as everybody else.

Now, you get the "basic" version of the game, with in-built screens trying to sell you things within the game. "Oh, would sir like access to the GOOD weapons? That will cost you X" or "Would madam like to be able to play THAT character? Please pay us X". In the end, to unlock all the content that should be part of the game anyway, you'd have to pay a hell of a lot more than if you'd spent the normal cost of a game. Even the subscription fee balances out.

If I approach this from another angle, using World or Warcraft and MMOs in general as my focus. An MMO, by it's very nature, is a game that is designed to consume a fair amount of someone's time in order to play. Since, it traditionally built around a player making a character, investing that time into the the character in order to improve their character, and use their character to interact and play with other people. It is not designed to something like tetris where you can play a 10 minute game on your lunch break and then put it down. It rewards time investment.

Now, knowing that MMOs are meant to require time investment, lets look at subscription fees. For World of Warcraft it's between £7.69-£8.99 per month (depending on your subscription plan). Now, given that if you've chosen to play an MMO, you're supposed to expect to play a fair amount of time to get the full experience out of the game. To the point that, excluding other hobbies or the occasional big game release, you're unlikely to really be playing much in the way of other games anyway. So effectively, you're paying around £8 a month for a game you can continue to play as much or little as you wish (since it's nearly impossible without extra-ordinary dedication to fully run out of things to do in a large and long running MMO like WoW). This compared to spending £40+ per console game which may not even last you 24 hours of play time.

Obviously for F2P you don't spend any money upfront, but then as I said earlier, you inevitably have to pay just as much or more in the long run if you actually want access to the good parts of the game. Almost turning the game into a pay-to-win situation (in games where purchasing more powerful weapons and alike is allowed). With something like World of Warcraft, you know that every player is getting the same content. Everyone is on an even playing field.

These points don't come from someone ignorant either. I have played subscription based (World of Warcraft) and F2P games (Guild Wars, Tribes Ascend, Team Fortress 2). The only F2P game I could recommend in good conciousness is Guild Wars. A one off fee, no strings attached (aside for one or 2 little non-performance based extras) , and a nice experience all around. It didn't keep me as engrossed as World of Warcraft, but that's just personal taste. Whereas something like Tribes Ascend, a game where I enjoyed the game and it's game play, I ultimately gave it up fairly soon as it soon became apparent that the only way to ever unlock every character and weapon (these being game changing items) without spending thousands and thousand of hours playing was to pay for their points to unlock them. Now, had the ONLY way to unlock the weapons been playing a lot, that would've been fine. I would know that anyone who had "the best" weapon had at least earned it through skill and time in playing. But, given that any mug could walk in and just buy all of the best stuff, their was little or no incentive to try and unlock anything. No incentive to keep playing.

Apply that to MMO's. Why would I play any F2P MMO if I know that the only way I can ever be as good as I can be is to throw money at a company to get them to unlock all the shinies automatically for me? Or that the good content won't even be available unless I give them my money? It feel like those "cheap" airline companies. You pay little to nothing for the flight tickets themselves, but as soon as you add things like food, baggage, and all the other little things that almost everyone would expect, you find you've barely saved any money (if any at all), and that all you've really done is give yourself a lot of hassle over something that should've been very simple.

Another way to consider F2P is as a trap. A lot of games don't have demos released for them anymore. So if someone looks at a game they don't know much about and has a medium sized price tag on it, they'll probably leave it be. But, show them a game they don't know much about, and they see a "free to play" tag, when they'll likely go "sure, I'll give that a try". They play the game, realise they like it, and just as they get to like it and are discovering it, they get a screen going "You know, if you pay us some relatively small amount of money, we'll add some more items into your game". So the player goes "Ok, I like this, why not. After all it's the only a litte bit of money". So they play some more, advance further, then hit a wall, followed by a little message going "Hey you. We just added some awesome new level for you to play. But we won't let you play it unless you pay us some more". This cycle then continues until the player has spent a large sum of money over lots of small payments that they think are inconsequential.

So to round that up, there is nothing wrong with subscription fees if they ensure a quality and equal service to it's subscribers. F2P is fine in principle, and seems to be handled very nicely by the folks at Guild Wars, but for the most part it just seems to be a way for companies to try and trick people into giving them more money. All be it a very clever way of doing so, but it ultimately only hurts gamers who actually just care about gaming.

Rasta211 said:

Some people don't have the time to put in to get the great gear and honor. That's why they literally pay money in exchange for time.

Put a lot of time in the game, you win. Put a lot of money in the game, you win. Seems as fair as it's going to get with that respect.

Games will probably cost you more in the long run if you choose to pay money in the Free to play model but nobody is forcing you to do it.

The majority of people who complain about the Free to play model are those who don't have the money to spend. What's making these Free2play games an attractive sales model is not the players who play for free but the players who spend real money. If you start out as a free player then decide to give real money, it seems like a fair thing to do. You started a game, realize it's fun and worth paying for so you give money. If you didn't enjoy the game you wouldn't spend any money on it. So in essence you spent money on a game you enjoyed, that seems like a fair deal to me.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Put a lot of time in the game, you win. Put a lot of money in the game, you win. Seems as fair as it's going to get with that respect.
If only that were true.

I'm currently playing a game that would take years to achieve items that could be bought for a few hundred dollars. Thats 3 months of hard play each day just to purchase one item that would cost $30. Lets get real here, with these conditions I will choose to continue playing for free. I'm not gonna spend that kind of cash on any single virtual item. Even though I won't pay these prices, I know there are those who will because prices are not dropping. There are thousands of in-game items, why is a single item so outrageously high. They are virtual items for crying out loud. I would be more inclined to spend $30 on a bundle of 50 quality items than a single item.

Mister Apathy Mister Apathy said:

The problem I have is MMO's which offer you a lifetime subscription for $100 or more dollars, which then go Free 2 Play, so are they going to give you a refund?

I think not.... so The Secret Wars had better not go Free 2 Play or I will be vigorously pissed off

Guest said:

The MMORPG has been dead/dying for years now, everyone knows that. It's funny how after the success of WoW there was a mad rush of others following the subscription model and quickly saturating the market before it all came crashing down shortly after, and now again we're seeing the same thing with the rush towards free-to-play and in-game purchases, wonder how that's going to end. *rolls eyes*

Guest said:

The problem I have is MMO's which offer you a lifetime subscription for $100 or more dollars, which then go Free 2 Play, so are they going to give you a refund?

I bought a danish pastry at a cafe yesterday morning, then on the way home in the evening saw the same cafe selling them for half price to get rid of them before they closed. Do they give me a refund? None of this is true obviously, but intended to highlight how ridiculous the idea of getting a refund over games going F2P is. "You pays your money and you takes your choice." If you decide to buy a lifetime subcription then that's your own decision with the options available at the time, if the right-owners decide to make it F2P at a later date that's entirely within their rights, as it's within any sellers right to change the price of a good and has no bearing on what previous buyers have already paid. Welcome to how the world works.

Guest said:

I played WoW for years and thoroughly enjoyed it. Never cared to try any other pay-MMO because I never saw anything that truly set itself apart. I've tried free ones, but hate the constant nagging for nickels and dimes and they just felt "cheap" compared to WoW. Having said that, Skyrim is one of my favorite games and I'll be there on day one for The Elder Scrolls Online.

Guest said:

EvE Online has an interesting model.

Essentially if you earn enough money INSIDE the game, you can pay for your subscription. The hard part is "leveling" a character high enough where money comes easily. I'd guess about 3-4 months of "paying" for the game gives you a good enough character whereby about 20 hours of gameplay will pay for itself, leaving the rest of the month open to play the game "for free."

Seiyorah Seiyorah said:

Darkfall is still living (barely). For a game that is 100% competitive, full loot, and an "FPSMMO", it was really developed by a company without the budgets the producers of these large MMO's had. I do not believe the new system companies are using would be good for a game such as Darkfall, unless the paid-for pixels did not affect fighting ability at all. I have played many, many MMO's, including the paid models and F2P models, and I am glad to see the up-front cost (monthly) disappearing. I prefer buy-to-play.

Rage_3K_Moiz Rage_3K_Moiz, Sith Lord, said:

Free-to-play can work, as TF2 and Dota 2 demonstrate pretty well.

The quality of the games needs to be good enough to warrant spending time (and money, if need be) on them; Blacklight: Retribution is another example of a very-good F2P game.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

I dont know about other games, but when City of Heroes went F2P, depending on how many months you had been subscribed for beforehand, you got tokens that would unlock several things that the players that started playing after they went F2P would have to buy now. I had built up enough subscribed months that I can play and do most anything in game for free.

Guest said:

what about iracing ?

what about WoW2 ?

I thought FPShooters are starting to go down a pay system. I basicaly dissagree...

a sub based game system means there are more funds to run better service..

thats life.. pay or FROOB ?

£2 a week aint that much if one game satisfies

GTA MMO RPG << wants>>

MilwaukeeMike said:

F2P isn't better. You've heard the expression, 'there's no such thing as a free lunch.'

Funny how you say World of Warcraft's dominance is waning. That game is between expansions, which is kinda like saying in June 'The NFL isn't really popular anymore' Their giant new FREE upgrade patch came out TODAY. People have been waiting for it since May or even earlier. They'll have thousands of returning players before the day is out. Their expansion is due out in a month (it'll cost like $30 or $40 or something) and they'll get tens of thousands more back after that.

I personally can't stand F2P. I like excelling because I'm better or smarter, not richer. WoW rewards time investment, but only in small chunks. (I.e. 6 hours/week can get you the same rewards as 60 hours/week).

Guest said:

Companies and the people than work on them need money, like anyone else here.

1 person liked this | Tygerstrike said:

Ive been playing FFXI since its NA release. I can say that I agree that F2P games reward those that can pay instead of earn. Its the same argument they had over 5 years ago about gold buying. Only this time its the games themselves selling. Those with the cash can rocket to the top, those w/o the cash have to plod their way forward hoping that they get something good for all their time invested. I happend to enjoy the fact that I have never purchased gold/gil/rupees/ect. I have earned all my in game gear with dedication and skill. To others that achievment means nothing. They would rather just buy their "epeen" gear then actually put in the hard work to earn it. To each their own I guess. I will just take a small amount of pride in my accomplisments and let those that can buy the items do so.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Talk about a quick reaction for an article, the author must be young.

Subscription fee's for MMO's are not dead, nor will they ever be.

There is just intense competition in the genre, with many free-to-play's now.

Game creation is much easier, and there are more studios.

That being said, most of the free-to-play MMO's that I have seen are graphically limited, content limited, lack quality or don't offer the same options as something like World Of Warcraft does. Also, the term free-to-play is a general term, some games still require a subscription to access the better content/or proceed past a certain level.

The only issue I have with subscription MMO's is the monthly rate, and I will use WoW as an example. I would leave my account online/up if it was $5-$7 a month, but $15? Even with all the new Panda content thats about the most I am willing to dish out.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Free-to-play is an abomination, something that was dreamed up by the likes of Zynga and EA to extort more money from the player base.

Once upon a time, people payed a subscription to play hard core games that had challenge and if you wanted to achieve anything in that game you had to work for it.

Today, we have more random, "fun pplz" games than any REAL games with content. The morons and slackers can pay to win rather than learn to actually play the game and work to be better players.

EA and companies like them are only looking at their bottom line, give the morons the bait to lure them in and then ding them with countless micro-transactions to milk money out of their pockets. This also allows companies to slack on producing quality games and content as they are free-to-play they can downplay criticism with "well, you didn't pay for it, so don't whine about it."

Once upon a time, we got original games and story lines, and we paid one time for that game and we enjoyed it. Some gave us bonus replay value like Chrono Trigger with its 25 endings. Now, we pay $60 for a game that has downloadable content and a story about as in depth as a kiddie wading pool.

I will announce it now, the death of gaming as we know it by 2020 and replaced with micro-transactions and "fun pplz" morons and slack-tards complete with game interrupting commercials brought to you by Sony Online and Microsoft.

Nintendo will die a slow, painful death as it releases only their own in house titles and the only third party game developers will be producing some Barbie or Bratz or Justin Bieber games for each of their "newly released" consoles, with more cheap gimmicks.

ramonsterns said:

Free-to-play is an abomination, something that was dreamed up by the likes of Zynga and EA to extort more money from the player base.

Once upon a time, people payed a subscription to play hard core games that had challenge and if you wanted to achieve anything in that game you had to work for it.

You can't extort money out of the player base if it's optional. Unlike buying a new game which they can advertise as one thing and be completely different and you can't get your money back.

I too played subscription based games with actual economies once upon a time, namely Star Wars Galaxies and EvE Online, but they require a certain amount of dedication, which in turns requires you to pay more if you want to see that dedication pay off, for what? Pixels and pixels. It's like working but you have to pay them instead.

peperonikiller peperonikiller said:

I started my MMO experience with Silkroad Online, which was released Free to Play with, of course, an item mall that I shelled out over $1,000 over the course of 6 years that I played that game. Damn.

I think more companies will adopt a Guild Wars 2 style of launch. You pay for the game once, then it's free to play on that account.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

I started my MMO experience with Silkroad Online, which was released Free to Play with, of course, an item mall that I shelled out over $1,000 over the course of 6 years that I played that game. Damn.

I think more companies will adopt a Guild Wars 2 style of launch. You pay for the game once, then it's free to play on that account.

Yes, but the game needs consistent income to continue to put out new content.

In 6 years $15 a month in an MMO would cost you $1080. My Directv at $90 (which I've cancelled) would have been $6480. High speed internet at $55 is $3960. Only netflix comes in at less at $576. But Netflix sucks. I think $15/month a good deal if you play regularly. You can barely go to the movies and get a popcorn for that price.

Hanike Hanike said:

I think it's good, but not like if it was an all-good thing at all!

For example, It's for sure a good thing don't have to pay SOE high monthly fees to play their games, but Sony kinda destroyed Everquest II servers on the process.

I think it should be more like Dragon Age, so, in theory, just responsible players would get in, but with the internal marketing features of EQ2. So the developer team would still win something in charge and the players would be more responsible.

Ubwarcher07 said:

F2P is a hideous invention. Before, you bought a game (with or without subscription fee), you installed it, and you had the same game as everyone else, with access to exactly the same things as everyone else. You were on the same playing field as everybody else.........(Shortened).......So to round that up, there is nothing wrong with subscription fees if they ensure a quality and equal service to it's subscribers. F2P is fine in principle, and seems to be handled very nicely by the folks at Guild Wars, but for the most part it just seems to be a way for companies to try and trick people into giving them more money. All be it a very clever way of doing so, but it ultimately only hurts gamers who actually just care about gaming.

For the most part, I agree with you. I wouldn't necessarily call it a trap or trick, but rather a strategy. I haven't looked at the numbers with subscription vs micro-transactions, but I can definitely see how the latter could overtake the former. I believe the main "hook" of the micro-transaction model is the control given to the player. "You can pay if you want to or not". Of course paying will have all the good incentives but that's to be expected. Pay-to-win is another matter.

I used to highly favor the Subscription model over the F2P, mainly due to the overall quality of the game. From my experience, a majority of subscription-based games have a more polished feel to them. They have also kept my interest significantly longer than any F2P game. Now jump to the current me. I take a F2P over subscription anytime. What changed? I'm not as active as I used to be in the MMORPG genre. After buying and subscribing to a new MMORPG(s), I sometimes play for just a couple of sessions per month. Sometimes even no sessions a month. I also normally buy a 3-month sub for any new MMORPG I get into to save a few dollars. Unfortunately, not every MMORPG appeals to me, so I might drop it within the first "free" month even. All in all, F2P's level of quality has increased tremendously and has given players the ability to manage their time/funds.

psycros psycros said:

Sigh...this again?

The author isn't seeing the whole picture. Its not subscriptions that turn people off, its the lack of DEMOs or TRULY FREE TRIALS. Secret World offered no "try before you buy" experience to see if you liked it. That's the death knell for a subscription game these days - you <b>*must*</b> have a free trial or you're DOA. How do you think a joke of a game like EVE Online survives? The limited trial version lets newbs get in there and get humiliated with no cost. Maybe one in 10,000 decides he likes being abused and subscribes. (Of course, EVE would still have long since shut down if it had an EA or other big publisher breathing down its neck - 150K subscribers is pathetic).

ramonsterns said:

Maybe one in 10,000 decides he likes being abused and subscribes. (Of course, EVE would still have long since shut down if it had an EA or other big publisher breathing down its neck - 150K subscribers is pathetic).

You seem to really dislike EVE for some reason.

distantreality said:

OMG Please go check your history...Meridian 59 by 3DO was the first suprscription based 3D MMO..UO Came along shortly after....BTW Hiya Moongazer and all my other old friends on server 105 that I've forgotten since it has been way to long and way to many crappy mmo's out there free or not.. I had high hopes for SWTOR....what can I say another fail atleast I didn't spend years in a game to have them " FILL IN THE BLANK"...I don't know if 3DO was still owned by EA at the time but if it was then you would have to credit EA for being part of the first real MMO I guess I could see the author not wanting to give them any props lol Have a good day all...

distantreality said:

Eww then again EA owned UO to Gawd just can't get away from them lol

Ten4ok said:

Without replying the 3rd comment nailed it on the head hands down. UO was the first mmo I played, and I played beta in like 1995 or 96(still have original beta cd lol) back then that was without a doubt the best experiece I have had from any MMO for a long time.I still remember the terror when a moongate opened up in a dungeon(Say Covetous) and like 10 ppl came through and just smacked and looted you dry.It was prtetty crazy to the point u could at one stage camp outside somones house and kill them for thier key and loot their house until they fixed it and made keys soulbound. Rogues/thieves were actually just tha, theyt stole from you and annoyed the hell out off you and they wernt just some mock up dps garbage that alot of mmos now churn out. UO you kill shit, kill ppl, steal from people, cause havoc and if u wernt into that you could kill other stuff craft and stuff like that....

Basically I have played WoW, Vanguard, DDO, AOC,Darkfall, GW, Rift, Secret World and GW2 and I still think back to the good timesand horrific times in UO that game nailed it.

Guest said:

I guess it depends on the game and how they do it. I play Team Fortress 2 and have enjoyed it and I can choose to pay for some items at a reasonable cost or not and earn them through playing time. In either case, it's a fun game with no major imbalances. I tried Lord of Ultima and found that the path to winning really required you to pay with no way around it. They desgined LoU so initially you could play for free however once you figure out the path to becoming LoU you soon realize that you can't do it without paying since the imbalances are extreme for paying vs free players.

Guest said:

The paid MMO method is dead? Are you one of those people who get on the WoW General Forums and say that X game is going to kill WoW every time a new X game is released? What an incompetent statement to make that paid MMOs are dead. Free to play games are not free. It's a diversionary marketing tactic, for which you (the author of this article) have apparently fallen.

Tygerstrike said:

Also a Fan Base helps these subscription games. If the players didnt fork over the cash, they wouldnt have a game. I point EVERYONE to the article on AOL. They stopped offering internet access but still rake in a ton of cash from ppl who still havent cancelled their AOL internet access service. Kinda the same thing here. There are a lot of players out there who continue to pay for a game even if they are not playing it. Sometimes its forgetfulness, sometimes its just they want the option to play it anytime without having to reactivate their account. Either way, there will always be a revenue stream to the subscription games.

Zilpha Zilpha said:

Also a Fan Base helps these subscription games. If the players didnt fork over the cash, they wouldnt have a game. I point EVERYONE to the article on AOL. They stopped offering internet access but still rake in a ton of cash from ppl who still havent cancelled their AOL internet access service. quote]

I think this more a lack of awareness regarding how the internet works than anything. Yes it brings them profits, but I doubt it's because anyone is really so loyal to AOL that they can't bear to lose their subscription.

Guest said:

I doubt that that's actually the case.

I also hope that it's not. It would be the end of one of my most cherished pastimes.

Cinders Cinders, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I've tried a few F2P games, but never liked any enough to actually stay and play. EVE may have a small player base, but it's the best internet spaceship game in the business, and I don't mind paying my $15.00 a month for access to their servers and all of their content.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

Pay to play: Dead

Pay to win: Dying

Pay once: Winning

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Pay to play: Dead

Pay to win: Dying

Pay once: Winning

As much as I would like to agree with you, paying once does not cover the cost of keeping servers on-line. However if they want my help they will have to give more virtual items for my money.

Prosercunus said:

Pay to play: Dead

Pay to win: Dying

Pay once: Winning

As much as I would like to agree with you, paying once does not cover the cost of keeping servers on-line. However if they want my help they will have to give more virtual items for my money.

It completely depends on what sort of stuff they are selling. If it is detrimental to your own gameplay that sucks. If it is mostly cosmetic and level shortcuts then I say "so what?"

If people are so worried that they can't get anywhere with F2P than spend the $15 micro transaction a month and be a winna

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If it is detrimental to your own gameplay that sucks. If it is mostly cosmetic and level shortcuts then I say "so what?"
Whether or not the items are detrimental to game play or cosmetic is irrelevant, they are still virtual items and each virtual item shouldn't cost any more than a soda from the nearest super market.

Prosercunus said:

Whether or not the items are detrimental to game play or cosmetic is irrelevant, they are still virtual items and each virtual item shouldn't cost any more than a soda from the nearest super market.

Well that simply comes down to a agree to disagree scenario. if someone gets a fancy hat or an experience boost by paying for it... well it is no skin off my back.

Guest said:

I think runescape had a great model back in the day 5 bucks a month for all the extra content was really worth it, In theory u could still play without the subscription but leveling up things would be so slow and horrible. Now there going the way of many microtransaction but so far they have all been cosmetic stuff and nothing to really give a player the upper hand because they paid to win

DanUK DanUK said:

I like the idea of free to play.. have just started playing GW2 which looks so far like an excellent game. Will be hard to get me to go back to a pay monthly game after this to be honest. Have also been playing the Planetside 2 beta and fully intend to be all over that on release.

I wouldnt say that the pay monthly model is dead though - I think SWToR is dying not because you have to pay for it (imo people will pay if its good) but the end game PvP content completely sucked. Me and a load of my Aion buddies (another game that went F2P recently) were all loving the levelling experience of SW and the PvE was brilliant but as soon as we got to end game and saw there wasn't really any good PvP we dropped it. A real shame as that game had a lot of potential.

As far as The Secret World goes ... I tried the beta and I thought it sucked.

gobbybobby said:

Eve online is quite expensive to play. I have 2 accounts, I pay for one and Plex the other.

In EVE you can buy a "Plex" with in game money. (30 days playtime)

People can buy Plexs using a Credit card, and sell it to other players in game. Players that earn lots of in game cash can buy plex's instead of paying the subscription fee.

Where as other people who maybe don't have much time to play, and just want to have lots of ISK to spend on expensive ships, can get out there credit card and buy some Plexs to sell.

CCP games, eves creator,They must make a fortune! But they do provide great support., and are developing free to play game DUST 514 for the PS3 right now, it ties into Eve online.

Deagor Deagor said:

I find it strange how no one ever mentions EvE Online in these reports its a game that is sub based has been around since 2003 and still is is going strong - 1 or 2 hiccups, and is a game that I quite frankly dont see going F2P indeed it is a game that just plain would not work F2P I think why ppl aren't paying subs for MMO's anymore is because why play WoW when you can play 1 of the hundreds of clones out there for free and when your bored move to the next but EvE is unique and thats why people like me are willing to pay the money for it

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