Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn producer Naoki Yoshida has defended monthly subscriptions as a business model for MMOs.
Yoshida told GamesIndustry International that both free-to-play (with microtransactions) and subscription based games have their place in the industry. However, the stability of a monthly subscription has several benefits.
"With the subscription model, you have that constant flow of revenue," Yoshida said. "As game developers, creators of games, we want to be able to continue providing the best gameplay experience and sustain that. Of course, the initial subscriber numbers might not be as many as the free-to-play model, but we have that constant stream. We're not thinking just about the business of the moment. We want to think about the long term and being able to have the funding to continue making updates."
Free-to-play games have several hidden costs to players and developers alike, Yoshida said.
"Items are taken for granted. People don't appreciate the progress they make. With free-to-play, we need to think about where to earn income, because as game developers, we want to provide the best gameplay experience, but we need to have that revenue from item microtransactions. We have to not only think about game content, but we also have to think about what kind of items to provide in order to continuously gain that revenue. It brings up a question of who we're making happy in the end."
Yoshida said that going for instant revenue to "make a quick buck" can be destructive to the years-long lifecycle of MMOs: creators have to be willing to look beyond the first two months of subscriptions when deciding which model to pursue.
The PS4 version of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will launch worldwide on April 14.