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Star Wars The Old Republic will be the last of the subscription based MMOs

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The landscape of the online MMO game is changing at a record pace lately, with several games adopting free to play business models in order to stay relevant amidst all the growing competition.

DC Universe Online was the latest game to join the list of freemium MMO games, but of course, certain juggernauts in the genre have the fan-base and luxury to still be able to charge a monthly fee to play. Star Wars The Old Republic is one such example, and at the rate that the industry is changing, also looks like it will be the final example.

“We see some very interesting trends in subscription gaming”, Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley said in a GamesIndustry editorial piece. “In our cancellation surveys for EverQuest II, fully 40 per cent of the people that fill them out list subscription fees as one of the primary reasons they quit. Economic times are hard out there and a recurring subscription is something that glares at you from a credit card bill every month. For some people, saving money starts with getting rid of subscriptions that hit the credit card every month”.

“It’s fair to say that subscriptions are likely going to be a strong component of revenue for the foreseeable future, although I don’t believe they will be remotely as dominant over time”. Smedley used the upcoming Bioware developed Star Wars game as an example, citing its almost guaranteed popularity will ensure that it can use the old business model of monthly subscriptions, making it one of the few games who can gather such support from its customers.

“There’s another large juggernaut coming out soon in Star Wars: The Old Republic from EA/Bioware. That’s a game that I think has a legitimate shot at a 2 million subscription user base and I believe they will stick with the subscription method”, Smedley said.

“In my opinion this is going to be the last large scale MMO to use the traditional subscription business model. Why do I think that? Simply put, the world is moving on from this model and over time people aren’t going to accept this method. I’m sure I’m going to hear a lot about this statement. But I am positive I’m right”.

Smedley has a point, as only MMO titles such as World of Warcraft and Star Wars The Old Republic can survive using that business model, as the two benefit from having a somewhat rabid, fanatically devotional consumer base from which they can make monthly profits.

Last Updated: September 21, 2011

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