Online Entertainment has long been an industry leader when it
comes to establishing a diverse set of subscription options for
players. So it was no surprise that when SOE announced their newest
offering earlier this month, the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/83536">EverQuest
II Passport, it got a lot of
people talking. Ten Ton Hammer decided to do a bit of talking of our
own, specifically with EverQuest II Senior Producer Dave Georgeson
about the new Passport, its reception so far, and whether we can
expect to see the same
concept applied to other current or future SOE titles.
Ton Hammer: The $5 EQ2 package was introduced this week. Are there more
plans for varying plans?
Georgeson: Not at the moment,
but we’re always brainstorming things, so who knows?
Ton Hammer: How was the $5 for 3 days price determined?
It seemed like a reasonable price for the vast amount of entertainment
you can get in three days. Heck, it’s so much less than even
going to a
movie that it just seems like a real deal.
Ton Hammer: Has a pay-per-hour approach been considered? Why/why not?
Nope. Remember AOL? We don’t want to do that. Subscriptions
because they don’t force the “clock
ticking” feeling while you play.
You play at your own speed. Even two hours of play during a month is
still money well spent. (And of course, most of our players find a way
to do a lot more than that.)
Ton Hammer: What was the incentive to create the new plan?
EQ2 just keeps getting better, but it’s been around
for six years
now. Players that left the fold a year or more ago might not realize
what they’re missing, or they might think a new expansion
but they don’t want to resubscribe right away. This lets them
game out again without committing…and then they can see what
Ton Hammer: Do you
gamers' play styles have changed over the years where now it's
more important to offer broader choices to players in terms of
While it’s true that play styles are ever-changing,
isn’t really about that. We’re just trying to give
players a way to
come back and sample the game again.
Ton Hammer: Where do you think subscription-based games are headed over
the next few years? Do you think they'll continue to be the most
popular of games or do you think the market is shifting to
microtransactions and/or more varied subscription plans?
There’s room for all flavors, in my opinion. Games that are
microtransaction-funded are generally “easily
chewable”. In other
words, you play them for a month or two and then move on. (Sometimes
only weeks.) Games that are subscription-funded tend to be longer-term
communities and homes for players to build and grow over time. Plus,
there’s plenty of room for hybrids with elements of both. In
doubt that subscription games will just “go away”.
It’s just another
type of business model.
Ton Hammer: Is the new EQ2 option going to be extended to other games?
I truly have no idea.
Ton Hammer: This new subscription choice is the first of its type that
we know of. SOE tends to be one of the frontrunners with new ideas for
the marketplace. Do you think this type of subscription will become
more available, not just with SOE games but with MMOGs in general?
Well, we think it’s a good idea. We’ll see if
anyone else does or not.
Ton Hammer: How has the offer been met so far by the community, and do
you think it will become a popular option?
There has been zero negativity about the idea and we’ve had
quite a bit
of uptake on it, so I would guess that it’s a pretty popular
Ton Hammer: Is there anything else you'd like to tell readers about the
new subscription plan, SOE's continuing efforts to offer players
personalized gaming experiences, or the changing marketplace as a whole?
We just want to build better worlds. We’re experimenting not
the Marketing side of things, but we’re also developing new
ideas to make the game itself more intriguing, and yes, more
personalized with players. EQ2 is six years old, but we’re
it with fresh minds constantly, working to make it more entertaining on
a constant basis. Expect good things.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our EverQuest II Game Page.