Yesterday, Blizzard admitted to losing around 800,000 subscribers since August, and many (including myself) used this information to speculate that World of Warcraft might soon be knocked off the top of the MMO mountain. And with so many MMOs adopting a free-to-play model, it’s becoming clear that Blizzard might finally have some real competition.
DC Universe went free to play about a week ago, raking in roughly one million new subscribers in 7 days. Lorin Jameson, executive producer at Sony Online Entertainment does a little bragging: “DC Universe Online’s transition to free-to-play has been welcomed by the community and gamers with heroic enthusiasm…1 million new players have joined DCUO with a 50/50 split between PC and PS3.”
This model has become so attractive to SOE that they’ve decided to allow EverQuest 2 to follow in DC Universe’s footsteps starting in early December. Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson, executive producer for EverQuest 2, explained the situation in his blog: “We believe the key to meeting your expectations is to provide more flexibility and to deliver what you want when you want it, whether it’s basic game content, full subscription access to the game, or something in-between. So in early December we’re going to change things to be ‘Free to Play. Your Way.'”
Despite its deceptive title, the free-to-play model has proven to be extraordinarily profitable , and developers are starting to jump on the bandwagon in droves.
However, I highly doubt that Blizzard has any plans to change. They still have 10 million people who are more than willing to shell out the subscription fee. So, they’re probably pretty happy the way things are.
By Josh Engen