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Why the Secret world is subscription based

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The Secret World, Funcom’s new, modern world MMO launched last week. Because I’d rather eat broken glass from the floor of a public restroom than play an MMO, I’ve not touched it – but I am intrigued as to why Funcom’s opted to stick to the subscription based model – meaning they charge players a set fee every single month – instead of the more popular free-to-play model that they utilised (eventually) for their Conan MMO.

Let Funcom’s Ragnar Tornquist explain why they’re so committed to the subscription based model.

"Of course [having Conan go free-to-play] has taught us a lot. Five years from now, ten years from now, will Secret World be free-to-play? I’m sure of it," he told RPS. "But that’s a long time. 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."

He notes that no major MMO has launched free to play; they’ve all just taken that route after subscriptions started dwindling; something we’ve seen with The Old Republic, DC Universe online and even stalwarts MMO juggernaut World of Warcraft.

"Whether or not that’s the business model that’s going to be around in five years, I can’t say," he admitted. "But it wasn’t right for us to come out and be a free-to-play game, because then we would have to find other ways to support the ongoing content. Whether it would be DLC and charging people for that, or an item store and charging people for that, [I can’t say]. At any rate, people are going to have to pay more in order to support the ongoing development. I think that at least for me and at least for traditional MMO players, a subscription fee is something they understand."

Personally? I favour the Guild Wars model; buy the game once, and play it for forever.

Any of you tried out the Secret World yet? Certainly seems intriguing – with it’s modern fantasy element that’s not just a rehash of Tolkien-esque mythology…but Is it worth shelling out for every month?

Here’s the game’s pretty incredible launch trailer.

Last Updated: July 9, 2012

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