Subscription-based or premium-priced MMOs are here to stay says Star Wars: the Old Republic developer BioWare.
BioWare boss men Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk spoke in defense of the 'traditional' subscription-based business model in response to comments from Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley, who boldly predicted that SWTOR will be "the last large scale MMO to use the traditional subscription business model".
"Those are very kind words in a way. It's interesting - I think there will always be a place for premium content at a premium price and that's one of the differences," Zeschuk told Industry Gamers.
"Free to play is very much about trial, about 'Hey, I don't know what this is, I don't have confidence that it's any good, but I'm willing to take a look at it,' versus 'I know this is good, from a trusted source, and it's the biggest license in the world.' So it's a different value proposition," he added.
Muzyka went on to say: "There's more competition for entertainment dollars now than ever before from social and play for free, and all sorts of entertainment, which I think is actually really healthy from an entertainment industry perspective.
"But I agree with Greg that there's a space for a certain number of premium products that are subscription based or whatever the premium pricing model is. But they have to merit it, they have to earn that from a consumer trust perspective and delivering and exceeding expectations. I think The Old Republic is definitely in that triple-A premium category. That's the feedback reading from the players and data testing."
Zeschuk compared Smedley's remarks to previous proclamations of the death of single-player games. "Going forward, what's interesting about that is it's too early to call any business model dead. It's like the line, 'Oh single-player games are dead.' They've morphed and they've changed into something different, but they're still there," he said.
Don't, then, expect SWTOR to go free-to-play anytime soon.