No Subscription MMORPG Model

By Steve Gibson, Jul 19, 2005 12:21pm PDT This story on Next-Gen although brief gives some quotes from NCSoft about the decision to not charge a monthly fee to play Guild Wars. What it boils down to is that they have to sell 5X the number of copies as someone else doing subscriptions to make the same amount of money. Can they do it? Well Guild Wars has been topping some sales charts for a while now.

NCSoft hopes to create a large enough fan base to guarantee sales of sequels and add-ons. Support costs have been trimmed through new technologies, and there are no free downloads. “There are a lot of new technologies in Guild Wars which other products do not have,” Garriott says. “If others decide this is a good business model they will have to do the things we have done and that will take time. In any business, time is how you win.”

A MM game without a subscription fee is certainly more attractive to me.. and well.. anyone I would think. The motives of Mr. Garriot are almost altruistic for the industry as a whole, but homeboy is lookin to make some cheddar too.

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32 Threads | 127 Comments*
  • What I want from an MMO (what I'd pay $15 a month for).

    Let's say we have a game like City of Heroes or SWG.

    I warn you though, I've never played these games. I've just read about them a lot.

    In CoH, With the new expansion pack you can be good or evil as you well know. We have the good guys and the bad guys often fighting each other. What I would want to see is more permanent consequences to my actions. Let's say that 20 heroes launched an attack on some villains' lair, and the heroes won. There should be some consequence like the heroes getting the base or something. This should also change the balance between the forces of good and evil. Bah, I'm not explaining myself very well.

    Let's take SWG as an example. Let's say the rebels controlled a planet. The game makers should organize a battle between the imperials and the rebels for control of the planet. If the Imperials won, they'd hold it until the next battle. The game makers would set a date for such an event and advertise it on their site and in the game. IT would be an epic battle and one with consequences. It would feel like what you did meant something (and you were part of some epic struggle).

    I guess I'm just looking for a story in the world of MMOs. Oh and I purchased Guild Wars. I love the fact that it has a story.

    Oh and I wouldn't mind a little more action and skill based combat (as in Shenmue Online) in the world of MMO.

  • Doesn't matter if they don't charge a subscription the use other methods of charging you.

    Such as additional content like GuildWars will be doing.

    Or with Cash Stores like alot of isometric MMOs are doing, buy gear, cash power ups whatever at a store with real money to make your life easier.

    Or if you want to see a 3x example of it SoE and EQ2, Subscription Fees, Adventure Pack Fee's, and the Station Exchange soon to be available.
    Want to play Pay a fee, want more content pay more, want 100p and dont have to time to get it, but it at the store.

    Free MMOs do exist, but their not expanding content rapidly nor do they have a huge support team or they are on the same server/node as another game that the developer or distributer provides for multiplayer matching ect...

    There are to many financial factors for them not to charge in one way or another, unless we make "the internet" and the electric bill for the server free of charge for it to be possible.

  • Guild Wars is not an MMO. It is just like an FPS / Diablo game with just an easier way to navigate between servers that hold the launch points.

    The world is not persistant- it resets everytime you exit the new zone. You cannot run into anyone in the game world- you have to setup a game with them (join their team and do a zone or mission). I think it is alot of fun, but it isn't the same type of game as EQII or WoW.

    That said, one thing I would like to point out is that the type of games that charge a fee typically have a much cooler player base. Although I ended up not liking EQII, the players I found in the game were helpful, courteous, fun, and overall the type of people I would want in those games. The people in Guild Wars...half of them can't complete sentences correctly. I receive about 20 guild invites each play session when I enter a city and lots of "PLZZZZ JOIN PLZ JOIN!@!!!" tells from strangers. If you team with strangers, chances are most of them have no clue how to play as a team and will just get you killed...which isn't a big deal but it isn't fun.

    To me, $15 a month is cheap entertainment. A trip to the movies to see a sucky 80 minute film with 20 minutes of commercials costs me $21. I'm not about to complain about $15 a month. When I factor in the type of experience I have in WoW versus just playing HL2 online or loading up Prince of Persia 2...the difference shows.

    I just think people need to get out of the mindset that all games should be priced the same. I think they should be priced by experience. I would have paid $200 to play HL2- it was friggin awesome. I paid the same $50 I paid for HL2 when I purchased Empire Earth II, and I felt pretty ripped off.