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Reader Comments (51)

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 8:11AM timthel0rd said

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Practically, it's a good idea, cheaper than subbing for too long.

But it also points out a pretty big flaw in subscriptions. My mate has 700 hours played on Mw2, and only payed 90 bucks.

If I play 3 hours a day, I'm getting like 1/3 of the value.

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 7:04PM einstini15 said

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lifetime subscriptions offered before the game comes out, shows that the developers are afraid they have crap. Why would a dev be willing to take 200$ for a game they believe should last for 3 years at 15$ a month? Can you imagine blizzard offering a lifetime plan? maybe when they think they cant hold subs anymore... blizzard wouldnt offer a lifetime sub because they know they can make you pay a monthly fee for a long time
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Posted: Nov 15th 2010 8:20AM Scuffles said

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I would say they sound great but the only MMOs I have seen offer them are fledgeling MMOs. That have yet to prove their staying power and usually only shortly after Beta or as a Pre-Order style "Invest in our game cause it will be great" sorta thing.

I'm also going to wager that MMOs that are on the chopping block are going to start offering "Lifetime Subscriptions" as a last ditch effort to save themselves financially. Avoiding their parent companies hatchet man for at least another 4months.

I think If it was a game that I loved and it had a bright future as far as I could predict I would probably be willing to dump somewhere between ~$100-200 on a lifetime subscription. Seeing as that would be a bit less than ~2years of a standard subscription.

However they would have to Impress the hell out of me because the F2P market already offers some decent content and Subscription Free games. Another wager I would make is any game now that offered a lifetime would probably have a Cash Shop ...... so your looking at only a small degree of separation.

tl:dr
They would have to do a lot of convincing and be in a state financially and in respect to game play that they wouldn't need nor benefit from lifetimes. So Odds are Its I'd never subscribe in such a manner. Hell P2P games have a hard enough time getting me to justify a month to month.

tl:sdr
Probably not, but inside the realms of possibility.

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 8:31AM (Unverified) said

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I absolutely LOVE my LOTRO Lifetime subscription. It has more than paid for itself! On the other hand, the game in question would definitely have to be something I can see myself playing a year or two down the road.

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 8:22AM (Unverified) said

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I like the option of Lifetime. I bought one for LOTRO and it was a good investment. The price was $199 and that was right. I would not pay more than that. I would do it again if I find a game that has long term playability. Even though LOTRO went f2p, I still think it was a good idea.

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 8:29AM Emolition said

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Like the idea but there is 1 downside to I guess if the game would go under after 6 months that a huge amount wasted.

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 8:33AM Shoikler said

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The first thing I'm going to want to figure out is how many months' subscription it is. How sure am I that I'm going to be playing that far into the future (and at least a bit beyond)? That's going to determine how much I might be cajoled into shelling out.

And then come the other questions, like "Will this get me everything, or am I still going to be microtransacted to death?"

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 8:58AM (Unverified) said

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I've never wanted one of these, my average time on an mmo is usually no longer than 2-3 months before I switch. WoW being the exception, but in general nothing else has held my attention for as long.

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 9:17AM real65rcncom said

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I wish WoW had a lifetime sub when it came out and no one knew anything about it.

I can just imagine the lucky few who would have thought that game worth a lifetime sub after a modest launch frought with the usual bugs.

Then, ALLLLLLL these years and expansions later, those people would have been the smartest gaming consumers on the planet.

I'd imagine they could have resold their lifetime sub to someone for well over $1,000 at one point at WoW high watermark.

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 9:19AM Minofan said

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I find lifetime subscriptions interesting in principle, but there's never been a subscription game to-date that has proven appealing enough to me to justify it.

I've always gotten more hours out of simple single-purchase games (e.g. Guild Wars, Mario Kart, Last Remnant) than subscription ones, so a game would have to be SPECTACULAR and proven entertaining for months with a strong certainty of ongoing content for me to entertain the notion of spending hundreds on it.
Mediocre games are never worth hundreds.

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 9:22AM lkhlkh said

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Champions Online only plan to hold members going to DC online that's the plot.

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 9:30AM Ocho said

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The price is pretty steep, yes, but in most games, that $300 bucks translates to 20 months, or 1 year and 8 months... if you REALLY love an MMO, that amount of time playing it is nothing and you'd easily spend that and more playing it.

I think having the option is much better than having the constant drain. I know over the years I've spent a LOT more than that on WoW, and spending that much more was a big proponent of why I quit...

Imo, there should be a system where if you spend something like 2 straight years paying for the sub, you should be rewarded with a lifetime sub. But I'm not sure how that would affect the game's income...

But overall, having many different methods of paying for the game to fit different people will always bring in more players. Lifetime/sub/f2p options just open it up for everybody.

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 9:40AM (Unverified) said

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I like the lifetime subscription, and I've gotten my value out of it in LOTRO, but $299.00 is ridiculously high, in my opinion. That was also why I passed on the lifetime subscription in Star Trek Online, that and it was in a ridiculously unfinished state at launch, even for an MMO. I'm curious as to what the lifetime amount the average player pays into a game in subscription costs prior to moving on to the next game?

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 9:42AM aillas said

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They are a gamble, pitting whether the game will survive long enough to pay off against whether you will enjoy the game long enough to pay off. But, my only experience buying a lifetime sub payed off handsomely. I bought a lifetime sub to LoTRO, hit the breakeven point a year ago, and have been enjoying the game and transition to F2P the entire time.

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 9:43AM SiML said

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If content was being added at the same rate as CoH's early development with new full zones and powersetsall the time, then people wouldn't balk at the $299 lifetime sub.

Players need to know there is a plan in place for sizable future expansion.

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 9:52AM JustPlainJim said

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I've actually convinced a friend to go with a lifetime subscription to an MMO (specifically, Star Trek Online). We did the math and if he went with the pay-by-month option instead, the lifetime sub would pay for itself in a year and a half.

Personally, I don't care much for lifetime subs, especially when the state of the game is questionable. $299 seems rediculous to me, but I know I've spent way more than that on World of Warcraft alone...

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 9:53AM Jeromai said

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Not a payment model I'd favor. One party will tend to lose out.

If the MMO goes belly up before X months (assuming lifetime fee = $15 * X), then the player will feel cheated of his money, the gameplay he got out of it wasn't "worth" the entire sum.

If the MMO lives for a long long time, then the developers lose out. 5 years of $15 monthly subs is a lot more profit out of a player than a once-off lump sum of $200-300.

The lump sum is good for an immediate cash infusion, but long run, doesn't help you keep the servers up and running for 10+ years unless you're really good at saving money and rationing it piecemeal over the years (haha, right.)

Sooner rather than later, the developers will have to think of new ways to get more money out of the player, and then you get the expansions, the microtransactions, etc. that make the player wonder, "hey, didn't I pay a LIFETIME fee, why am I being nickel-and-dimed even more?" and trust is lost.

Human lifetimes are, on the whole, unless you're quite unlucky, a lot longer lived than game lifespans. :)

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 10:26AM KDolo said

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I disagree. Most people won't get lifetime subscriptions, but even if they did, a game with that sort of draw would have to be a great one and would always be populated with a knowledgeable, passionate group of players. This would no doubt attract more players and keep them subbed to play with their new friends.

I think, for the developer, the benefits of Lifetime Subscriptions well extend beyond the initial cash flow.
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Posted: Nov 16th 2010 10:17AM Jeromai said

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You're welcome to disagree, but I can think of a number of games that disprove the assumption that lifetime subscription automatically implies committed players that will form a great community to attract newer players.

City of Heroes, A Tale in the Desert - both monthly sub games with heavily committed players that form great communities, no lifetime sub required.

On the other hand, we have Hellgate: London's lifetime subs... which are worth absolutely zero community since the game shut down. :)

In the interests of not hurting the feelings of Champions Online and Star Trek Online players, I won't comment much on their lifetime subs, but I can't say I've heard those games being recommended based on the quality of their community. The game design itself encourages more soloing and independence up to a certain point, if I'm not mistaken.

LOTRO is pretty much the only game with lifetime subs with a strong community praised in general. And I wonder how many of the regular players forming the community are lifetime subscribers, as opposed to lifetime subscribers who picked it up in order not to worry about dropping the game for months and coming back later.

WoW, EQ2, Eve Online may not have the best reputations for tightly knit, newbie-friendly communities, but I'm positive there are knowledgeable, passionate groups of players in these games that can attract others to their games... no lifetime sub for these games either...

The two factors simply don't correlate. Developers stand to garner lots more profit out of the same dedicated player groups with a monthly fee than a fixed lifetime sub. Whether they should be that money-minded and profit-driven is, of course, up for debate and discussion.

(For example, a different spin is the Guild Wars model which effectively lasts a lifetime but costs about the price of a single-player boxed game. The uptake is far more successful than the lifetime "subscriptions" that cost an average of 12-18 months * $15, and builds commitment to the brand for each player who played and enjoyed the game. Every year or so, a new box of content or store perk fed in money for development, to the point where a player has effectively spent the same amount as a lifetime sub in bite-sized chunks.)
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Posted: Nov 15th 2010 10:08AM Harley Dude said

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Considering most of the games that have offered LTSs ended up being complete and utter garbage, I'd say a LTS, from a consumer's point of view, is a bad idea. IMO devs that aren't broke and are confident their games are good enough to keep people interested for more than a couple months don't offer LTSs.

I'm not sure why anyone would surrender their power as a consumer by removing your ability to "vote with your wallet". What are you going to do if the devs "NGE" your game 6 months after launch...quit? What incentives do devs have to keep turning out new content and improve the game when their "customers" aren't paying them any more money?

It would be entertaining to see an alternate universe where SWG had offered a LTS right before the CU or NGE, and the forum raging that would make our disgruntled SWG vets look like well adjusted people.

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