Star Wars: The Old Republic utilizes a subscription pay model that most gamers are familiar with. But, industry analysts are suggesting that the pay-by-the-month system is rapidly becoming obsolete to make way for the free-to-play and freemium-style MMOs.
John Smedley, President of SOE, recently labeled The Old Republic the “last large scale MMO to use the traditional subscription business model.”
Speaking with IndustryGamers, BioWare soldiers Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk explained why the end of premium MMOs is not upon us yet. Stating that free-to-play is “very much about trials,” Zeschuk suggested that premium pay structures work when the interest for a title is high enough, which he believes is the case with SWTOR.
BioWare’s confidence with their upcoming MMO title may not be ill-founded, considering it broke pre-order sales records and surpassed even the juggernaut that is the upcoming Battlefield 3.
Muzyka added his thoughts, suggesting that there is room enough for all pay models to exist, provided it works for the product:
I agree with Greg that there’s a space for a certain number of premium products that are subscription based or whatever the premium pricing model is. But they have to merit it, they have to earn that from a consumer trust perspective and delivering and exceeding expectations. I think The Old Republic is definitely in that triple-A premium category. That’s the feedback reading from the players and data testing.
“Economic times are hard out there and a recurring subscription is something that glares at you from a credit card bill every month,” Smedley had previously stated regarding the fault of subscription titles. But, BioWare is scared off by the dangers of pay-structures of the past.
“We think the market is ready for it,” Zeschuk said of SWTOR:
There’s a lack of something new and fresh and really powerful; we have research that shows that a lot of people have been waiting for this game. We’re seeing huge demand for it, and we plan to support it long term.
Star Wars the Old Republic will be available December 20th for the PC.