As you might have heard, The Secret World today announced its move to a Buy-2-Play model, essentially identical to Guild Wars 2. Or, if you wanna get ornate, just like it used to be back in the day when we owned the games we bought. Subscriptions are gone with the wind. You buy the client and you get (le gasp!) unlimited access to the whole game.
What surprises about the move is not that it came to pass. Many people would have rightfully argued it was coming. The surprise is in how it comes just less than six months after launch. I hope lifetimers are having a wonderful day. Personally I find myself having zero beefs with Funcom for doing this. If the game needs a shot in the arm, then it needs a shot in the arm and that’s basically the end of it. You gotta do what you gotta do.
I am, however, curiously reading some rumblings here and there about how this is exactly what the game needed and now… ha ha! -Now- you will all see how you were all wrong all this time, and everyone will get to see just how great the game is. Today, buy to play. Tomorrow,
the world a critical mass of players and so on.
I say hang on a second. I say hold your stinking horses.
Excuse me if I differ, but I seem to be getting the feeling of this vague, generalized idea out there that TSW tanked because it had a sub attached and that was basically the only thing that was holding it back and now that the subs are gone it’s Return of the King time, Aragorn returning to Gondor with a brace of fine Haradrim honeys on each arm and it’s gonna be a rave at the White Tree.
I’m not so optimistic simply because the fundamentals of the game haven’t really changed. TSW is still the beast it is (for good and bad) and having or not having a sub does not change that. I’m sure there will be an uptick in sales. There has to be. And that’s only good news. But I doubt the retention rates, and by extension the amount of active players, would change much if you were to sample pre and post B2P. I think the fact that the game just didn’t click for a lot of people was a much stronger factor in the equation than the sub ever was. No matter how much you charge people at the door, or how expensive your drinks are, if people don’t really like the music all you’ll ever end up with are the people who really don’t care about the music. Which might be good for business, but that’s just about all that such a thing is good for.
TL;DR: The sub was not the only thing that drove people off TSW. And in a sort of ying-yang way, the lack of sub might bring some back, but it won’t be the only thing that will make them stay. And if you don’t believe me ask around Bellevue.