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Undersubscribed – How long before all MMO’s go free to play? (Graph)

*World of Warcraft is still a subscriber based game. Correct as of 17th January 2014

2014 will see the release of several MMOs hoping to establish themselves in an already crowded market, and one dominated by the behemoth that is World of Warcraft (with its 7 million paying subscriber base). So just how does an MMO make itself attractive for potential players?

Most MMO’s are adopting the hugely popular free to play model in order to attract a player base. It’s not hard to see why most are taking this route either; numerous titles have reported a huge upswing in revenue and player base after switching from the old subscription model to free to play. Almost every major subscription based MMO has now made the switch over to some form of free to play model, some sooner than others.

Most notably perhaps was Star Wars: The Old Republic which launched with a traditional subscription setup and recorded over 1 Million subscribers within it’s first three days. However, in the months that followed subscriber numbers began to drop amid complaints of a lack of content post end game and a switch to free to play was announced less than a year from release.

Other subscription based games have suffered too; Sony’s DC Universe online was another that dropped it’s subscription-only model before 12 months was up. APB however, lasted only 3 months before shutting down completely, although it did re-emerge a year later as the free to play APB Reloaded.

With everything from SWTOR and Star Trek Online to Rift and TERA all reporting a significant increase in both player activity and revenue after turning F2P, it’s surprising that anyone still considers subscriptions at all.

However, both The Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar are releasing this year will full subscription models. While both look promising enough to justify a monthly outlay it’ll, how long will they last before turning Free to Play?


Will you be trying out any new MMO’s this year? How long do you think a subscription model can continue? and is free to play really the answer?Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter or Facebook.

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This entry was posted in MMO on by .
Chris Cook

About Chris Cook

Chris has been gaming as long as he can remember and is almost old enough to know better. He can often be found staring wide eyed at the tv with a Xbox pad in hand or practising his Football Manager press conferences in the bathroom mirror.

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