Going free-to-play is the hip and groovy thing for faltering MMORPGs to do once interest dwindles, but few super big-budget fancy MMOs are willing to ditch subscriptions entirely and go F2P from the start. The Secret World creator Ragnar Tornquist has said while he's "sure" it'll eventually go free-to-play, for now developer Funcom is "committed" to the subscription model.
"We wanted to go subscription-based because we think that players are happier paying a steady monthly fee to get new content, to get the service, to get all the benefits of a game that has a growing, living world, than to keep charging them for little things," Tornquist toldRock, Paper, Shotgun.
Saying that Funcom has plans to keep releasing new content "for a very long time," he explained that subscriptions are "the only business model that makes sense in terms of giving players this living, breathing world and this constantly upgraded, expanded experience."
Tornquist said he couldn't say whether the model would still be around in five years, but claimed "I think that at least for me and at least for traditional MMO players, a subscription fee is something they understand."
He added, "For the time being, we're committed to this business model, and as long as people are willing to pay us in order to provide them with expanded content and ongoing content, we'll keep that business model."
Tornquist did say he was "sure" that The Secret World would be free-to-play in five or ten years from now, though. Funcom took Age of Conan F2P in June 2011, after three years of subs. TSW already has an in-game item store selling purely cosmetic clothing.