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BioWare's Zeschuk Defends Subscription Model Viability and Flexibility

Posted Wed, Dec 28, 2011 by Martuk

Some people see the MMORPG industry trending towards free-to-play and with all the titles to adopt a hybrid freemium model this year it’s easy to see why. But BioWare isn’t sold on the subscription model being dead quite yet. In an interview with Joystiq, BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk defended the decision to go with a subscription, and while not bashing the free-to-play mode, Zeschuk did indicate that a subscription game budget allows for a lot more flexibility when it comes to the size and scale of a development project such as Star Wars: The Old Republic.

The free-to-play people can't invest to the level we can invest, and can't create something of the size and scale of something we can create," he said. The idea that free-to-play will take over all other MMO business models, he said is, "from a business perspective, ridiculous.

BioWare also has its hand in the free-to-play cookie jar with games such as Mythic’s Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes and their social Facebook game Dragon Age Legends, so BioWare can attest to the various forms of business models. But for now, it’s clear that they aren’t willing to give up on subscriptions just yet.

Source: Joystiq

The same guy that said, "every MMO that comes out, I play and look at it. And if they break any of the WoW rules, in my book that's pretty dumb."

I will pummel to a blood stain him given the chance.

R.I.P. forever Knights of the Old Republic 3

I'm not one to deal out or buy into absolutes. I think both models have a place. I'd like to see how they push each other to be better. To bring out new inventive entertainment. If I'm stuck with console games, subscription WoW clones or craptastic F2P games then I'm nobody's customer. If anybody, I mean devs, run out of ideas, I have two good ideas. And when I say ideas I mean concepts that can grow into full fledge games and not just "make the swords bigger" or "make the guns kill faster". To be honest, I consider myself a developer....without the motivation, funding or company.

I really hope this putrid plague called F2P never come to swtor. And I'm really starting to hate cheap people. Whatever, no matter what quality, ... give me anything ... just to be free.

F2P can be usefull somehow for lower end, lower quality games, .... I really hope wow, rift, swtor, ... always stay P2P. One small exception can be F2P games that are free to certain level or alike ... but that is more eternal trial (like now wow model). Or like CO where you actually have to sub to have decent experience.

P2P is the only real model for high end games. While there are a few F2P games out there that are more successful, that number is small. With the vast majority of these games, they make a portion of revenue through a cash shop, which almost always comes with game breaking items (see APB, LoL, Allods, Crossfire, etc...).

Now, for those of you who have played SWTOR, you can see why it can never go F2P. The amount of money that goes into it; things like full voice acting, fully fleshed out story cut scenes, and dozens of massive worlds simply cannot survive by mere advertising and a cash shop. it truly does come down to a decision between quality and price. It's too bad part of the game community is cheap enough to accept the latter as a viable option.

Honestly. I have two names for you. Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2.
A non P2P model can work very well without gamebreaking items, also for a game that has stuff like full voice acting and the like.

The thing about SWTOR is ... it's basically a singleplayer RPG with some Multiplayer aspects and WoW clone gameplay and graphics (with star wars textures. Meh.). In my opinion it's nothing but insolent to charge a monthly fee for this game. And it's not all as well as you describe anyway. A lot of your supposed "massive worlds" are pretty much just more or less linear areas, there is not really anything "massive" about them. Story cutscenes with wooden, stiff animations are getting pretty old, too.
And to be honest ... it just feels wrong to play a Star Wars game that relies on Tanks and Healers, it just doesn't make sense! I'm a huge Star Wars fan, but I just cringe at the sight of some guy with a lightsaber clobbering a soft target for half a minute without cutting it to pieces like it damn well should be! There is nothing "Star Wars" about this any more.

Khm.... gw is for me example of game that could never ever exist in P2P model as is crap. Despite I believe many really enjoy it.

Luckily, that's a question of personal taste, and for me it was one of the best online-RPGs I've ever played.
And no, it probably couldn't exist as P2P. But it doesn't need to, because it clearly shows that P2P is an outdated concept, and that a game that's not P2P doesn't need to be F2P and sacrificing quality for accessibility.
And I think that the fact that GW has over 6 million accounts - which makes it #2 after WoW, I might add - speaks for itself.

If you take that Buy2Play business model and apply it to a true, persistent world MMO (GW wasn't, exactly) with excellent idead, innovations and quality in development like Guild Wars 2, you're bound to be successful. What they're doing is, they're delivering a high-quality, innovative MMO that doesn't NEED to compete with P2P-MMOs because it can coexist with them without effort while arguably supplying the better game experience (and drawing off subscriptions from the P2Ps). It doesn't need to fear F2Ps, either, because it doesn't have a monthly fee and offers actual quality instead of cheaply produced WoW-copies with game-breaker Itemshops. Which means that basically, GW2 will kick the shit out of everything, as long as the game itself is good. Which it is. I would know, since I have played it numerous times on this and last year's Gamescom.

P2P, B2P and F2P Hmmm, the best is which ever brings about the production of the best game and at the moment the only model delivering on this is B2P, with the release of GW2 next year, subs are just nonsense and will die a horrible death, sorry to point out the obvious, 99% of ll subs go to shareholders pockets, not production costs or game development, or bandwidth, or servers, anybody who believes that crap deserves to be stuck, giving their money to people who are more than willing to take free cash. The only way development of games will be pushed is if the company has to rely on people wanting to play their new expansion/game etc, hence making the money from the box sales, simply paying them for the right to play a game you have already purchased is ridiculous.

Defend the subscription model all you want. I'm still not going to keep buying the same game over and over every month. Most games are barely good enough to be worth paying for once as it is.

That's one way to look at it. I had long ago put it into a different perspective after comparing it to another form of entertainment. I figure if If I play the game I pay $15 a month more than 3 hours then playing that game is a more cost effective entertainment than going to the movies. Granted, there are many unlike me that will avoid any cost if they can avoid it regardless if it is a reasonable deal or not.

Why in hell ant the rest the world aloed to play Star wars the old Republic ........... with the rest the world on the 20 dec hey ?????

GG_25_02

I really don't understand racism in the real world. People are what people are, regardless of skin pigmentation or where their ancestors came from. There's really only one real-world race - the Human Race - and I loathe everyone equally.

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