Free-to-play gaming might be gaining traction with publishers, but the subscription model is still far from dead. In fact, subscription model revenues are continuing to grow according to a study from Screen Digest. The study indicates that MMOG subscriptions revenue for titles in North America and Europe jumped to $1.6 billion in 2009, up from $1.4 billion in 2008 and predicted numbers put subscription revenue at about $2 billion by the year 2014.
I stand by my belief that publishers will likely adopt a hybrid model such as that of Turbine's in future games rather than directly going free-to-play for future MMOG titles. But it's clear that the subscription model will still play a major role in the MMOG market for some time to come, something that Screen Digest tends to agree with even while acknowledging the growing free-to-play popularity.
We maintain our view that subscriptions will continue to play an important role in the MMOG sector. Certain consumer groups and types of service are well suited to subscriptions but we also acknowledge the growing success and adoption of microtransaction-based MMOGs as an alternative business model for operators.