So last week I talked about SWTOR going free to play and I’m still not exactly sure how this will all work out. Since that news came out, however, everyone and their dog has talked about how free to play is the way of the future, and subscriptions are a dying system.
Eh, I don’t really buy that.
Sure, I think the trend of f2p mmos is finally catching up with the US, but to say that the subscription model is completely outdated and useless is like saying your driver is forever useless once you get near the green in golf. Sure, it might be true for now, but I’m sure a moment will come up in the future where it will come in handy.
The problem that I see happening in what can seem like every mmo nowadays is the lack of thought towards what payment model a game should use early in the design process. The way developers choose to monetize their game is just as important a design choice as combat systems, questing systems, map design, and everything else that should be considered when making a game.
I’m not trying to say that BioWare never thought about how they would get people to pay for their game.
What I am trying to say is that the thought that subscription games fail and should never be made again is silly. It’s like saying the same for any other design choice in a game. Sure, games that employ something like cover based shooting might go through a rough patch from time to time, but that doesn’t make it the wrong design choice when it supports the overall vision of what the game should be.
What will be the subscription model’s place in this new world? Absolutely no idea, time will tell.
Picture is from the SWTOR media page here