The Secret World making subscriptions optional

By Alice O'Connor, Dec 12, 2012 7:00am PST

As does tend to happen with MMOs that are neither World of Warcraft nor EVE Online, The Secret World is shaking up its business model and dropping subscriptions. The $15 monthly fee is optional from today, barely five months after launch, but you do still need to buy Funcom's real-world-ish supernatural MMORPG to play. You know, like how Guild Wars 2 works.

As you'd expect, Funcom hopes to make enough of a profit from selling in-game items, services and content packs for real cash. The first four 'Issues' updates have been free to subscribers, and the fifth will be too for everyone who registers an account before the end of December. After that, all players will need to cough up cash for new Issues separately.

The $15 subscription will stay on for those who fancy a little extra. Subscribers get $10 of bonus items and a free gift every month, a 10 percent discount for the real-money store, and a reusable XP booster. Lifetime subscribers, Grand Masters, get an extra 10 percent discount on top.

"We tried to be a responsible subscription company and release something every month to give value for that money. Ignoring that I work here, I felt that as a gamer, that is what I’d want to see from a subscription game," game director Joel Bylos told Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

"But it really hasn't paid off in the end, so we have to make some changes to bring more people in. But in terms of the subscription dying, I think Blizzard are laughing at us all from atop their thrones. Whenever I hear people say that subs are dead, I point to the biggest money-makers in the industry."

Check the FAQ for more information, and peep this trailer:

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