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ArenaNet Global Brand Manager Chris Lye talks Subscription Models

Many of you will have heard this week that EA and Bioware are to move Star Wars: The Old Republic over to a free to play model this autumn which was not exactly surprising news. In an inrerview  on the Verghe, ArenaNet global brand manager Chris Lye discusses how the world of MMOs and subscription models are changing.

“If you’re an up and coming business I would definitely advise you don’t naturally assume that subscription model is your business model,” says Lye. “Two years ago [developers] were all like ‘of course it’s going to be a subscription game, why would we think of anything else?’ and now they’re backpedalling like ‘No, no, it’s not necessarily a subscription game, we haven’t decided our business model.’ Now there’s an awareness in the industry that requires a serious amount of thought as to whether you will support the subscription business model. The notion of the AAA launch-and-leave type game is declining. There’s much more emphasis on building a long term relationship with the community.

There is no doubt we have seen a massive shift in what players are willing to pay for their MMO game time in the past  six months, and with the market becoming more competitive and with even more high quality titles being released, it is making more sense to keep and build the relationship with the players and let them support the product through options like microtransactions. Innovation is also key, and most MMOs are failing to bring anything new to the table which causes high drop-off rates after launch. Thankfully Guild Wars 2 is a one time purchase, so it’s easier for players to keep playing and puts less pressure on ArenaNet post launch to keep piling out new content.