Developer Turbine claims subscription MMOs aren’t dying

Lord of the Rings Online

With a whole slew of MMOs going free-to-play in recent years, it seems that subscription models are becoming a thing of the past. But according to developer Turbine, that’s not entirely true.

Adam Mersky, head of digital communications at Warner Bros. (and in turn Turbine), claims that the idea of a single payment option is the real problem.

“People now in the West expect to have full control over their entertainment dollar and spend it the way they want to,” he said. “It’s probably not right to say the subscription MMO is dying, it’s probably more right to say the idea of forcing a player to only have one option for having to consume your content – that’s probably dying.”

Dungeons & Dragons Online and The Lord of the Rings Online, both Turbine-developed titles, went free-to-play and have seen a sizable increase in popularity and revenue.

Mersky pointed out that this idea of multiple payment options is being adopted throughout all entertainment mediums, not just video games.

“While we certainly pioneered [F2P changeover] in the online game space, and the industry is adopting it – this is pretty prevalent throughout the entertainment industry,” he said. “You can choose to subscribe to your satellite or cable television service, or you can buy an IP box like a Roku or an Apple TV, and get your TV shows by paying per show versus paying a monthly fee for all the TV you can watch.”

If sales numbers are any indication, then Mersky certainly has a point. It should be interesting to see if any other MMOs go free-to-play in the coming months.



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Author: Anthony LaBella View all posts by
My first experience playing a video game blew me away. The fact that Super Metroid was that game certainly helped. So I like to think Samus put me on the path to video games. Well, I guess my parents buying the SNES had a little something to do with it. Ever since then my passion for video games has grown. When I found that I could put words together into a coherent sentence, videogame journalism was a natural interest. Now I spend a large majority of my time either playing video games or writing about them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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