SOE's John Smedley: Subscription Model Dead

Oh $30 Internet Tank I love you so very much

Given that DC Online (day-job-pimping alert: and City of Heroes!) just went free to play, somewhat relevant!

There’s another large juggernaut coming out soon in Star Wars: The Old Republic from EA/Bioware. That’s a game that I think has a legitimate shot at a 2 million subscription user base and I believe they will stick with the subscription method. 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.

I agree: SWOTR will be the last subscription MMO of consequence. Not having a free-to-play option limits your market too much. As an example: me! I occasionally play LOTRO, and feel no pressure not to come and go as whim strikes – but usually kick in a few bucks when I do. (Usually on a horse, because, hey, horses.) I doubt I would have ever actually bought World of Tanks (because really, it’s got one of the dumbest names in MMOs since the late much-lamented Yogurting) but this morning I just bought the best damn tank the People’s Republic of China has to offer.

Free-to-play works; for players and for developers. Now if we can just figure out how to get you people to stop talking about your genitalia on disposable accounts it’ll be golden.