BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic will be “the last large-scale subscription MMO,” Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley reckons.
The game has a “legitimate shot at a 2m subscription user base,” he’s told GamesIndustry. But: “In my opinion this is going to be the last large scale MMO to use the traditional subscription business model.”
“Why do I think that? Simply put, the world is moving on from this model and over time people aren’t going to accept this method. I’m sure I’m going to hear a lot about this statement. But I am positive I’m right.”
SOE just this week announced plans to shift its PS3 and PC MMO DC Universe Online to a free-to-play model. The following may offer some insight into where the decision came from: “We see some very interesting trends in subscription gaming. In our cancellation surveys for EverQuest II, fully 40 percent of the people that fill them out list subscription fees as one of the primary reasons they quit.
“Economic times are hard out there and a recurring subscription is something that glares at you from a credit card bill every month. For some people, saving money starts with getting rid of subscriptions that hit the credit card every month.”
Still, Smedley sees subscriptions as “a strong component of revenue for the foreseeable future, although I don’t believe they will be remotely as dominant over time.”