I’ve talked before about how subscriptions can be seen as a form of investing. There are plenty of people that keep parking-lot subscriptions to games like World of Warcraft, where the monthly rent is paid but the car is never moved. I’ve been playing a lot of Dungeons and Dragons Online lately, and while I am not ready to give my full impressions (favorable as they may be), I did want to discuss an interesting point to their business model.
The Dungeons and Dragons Online business model seems to take the best bits of every available MMO business model. Players can play for free, while slowly buying things from the cash shop. Players can buy chunks of cash shop coin to buy content packs, more character creation options, and some consumables. Or, players can subscribe and get access to everything.
The interesting twist is that subscribers also get a monthly cash shop stipend, which gives the subscribers a really interesting decision. They can do the obvious and use the coin for XP upgrades and consumables. Or, they can buy the puzzle pieces of content that are already accessible from the subscription in order to become eventually a kind of lifetime subscriber for times when the subscription is stopped. The player, now subscriptionless, still has plenty of means and options to continue to play.
For me, this benefit is not just the icing on the cake, it is exaltation of the subscription model. Subscribers are not just paying for point access and the hopes that new content will arrive before they get bored enough to cancel. No, subscribers are actually able to buy a permanent stake in their game. I, for one, would rather have an attached garage than a rented spot in a cold, concrete parking lot… especially with winter coming.
the concurrence of causes and conditions