John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment, has said that there's still a strong case for subscription-based online gaming, and he believes that BioWare's forthcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic can hit 2 million monthly subscribers.
SOE itself is dropping subscriptions and taking its titles free-to-play - today it revealed that DC Universe Online will be free on PC and console in October - but despite that move Smedley still has faith in his peers at Bioware.
"It's fair to say that subscriptions are likely going to be a strong component of revenue for the foreseeable future, although I don't believe they will be remotely as dominant over time," Smedley wrote in an exclusive opinion piece for GamesIndustry.biz.
"There's another large juggernaut coming out soon in Star Wars: The Old Republic from EA/Bioware. That's a game that I think has a legitimate shot at a 2 million subscription user base and I believe they will stick with the subscription method.
Economic times are hard and a recurring subscription is something that glares at you from a credit card bill.
John Smedley, Sony Online Entertainment
However, he does believe that The Old Republic will be the last big MMO to use subscriptions successfully.
"This is going to be the last large scale MMO to use the traditional subscription business model. Why do I think that? Simply put, the world is moving on from this model and over time people aren't going to accept this method. I'm sure I'm going to hear a lot about this statement. But I am positive I'm right."
Subscriptions are such a burden for gamers that 40 per cent of players cite subs as the primary reason for quitting EverQuest II, according to Smedley.
"Economic times are hard out there and a recurring subscription is something that glares at you from a credit card bill every month. For some people, saving money starts with getting rid of subscriptions that hit the credit card".
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