Cancel That Subscription! @ Gamasutra
Gamasutra have a piece where Mark Jacobs of EA Mythic, Daniel James of Three Rings Design and John Smedley of SOE discuss the benefits and drawbacks of different business models for MMOs. Microtransactions vs. Subscriptions and the three interviewed get a page each to express their views:
You know, everyone thinks it's just so cool to say that the subscription model is passé, that it's dead," notes Mark Jacobs, general manager and VP. "They love to talk about their new models and how they are going to revolutionize the MMOG world. But MMOG publishers are spending a lot more on their games than anyone thought they'd be spending five years ago."
"If your game doesn't have the production values of a leading-edge game, if they are two-dimensional and not three, if they have lower system specs, okay."
"But if you're investing as much time and money as we are on our MMOGs, if you need to pay for the servers and the customer support, if you want to make a real profit on your game, subscriptions are the only way to go."
While Jacobs concedes that the micro-transaction model has been extremely successful in Asia where gamers have become accustomed to it, he says there's a reason why most of the MMOGs in the U.S. and Europe are subscription-based.
"The microtransaction guys will say that they are more successful," he argues. "Oh really? I find it very disingenuous when publishers talk about how many people are playing their game but won't talk about how much money they're making."
"Frankly, I would rather have one million customers who are all paying to play than 20 million customers with only one million of them paying to play. I can give them better support, I can give them a better game, I can deal with a better community, I have fewer customer service headaches."
I didn't know Three Rings Design are offering a MMO called Bang! Howdy. Hmm.