The debate over MMO business models is constantly ongoing: There are those who swear by monthly subscriptions, those who prefer strictly free-to-play, and those who think the sweet spot lies somewhere in the middle. In the case of Stormhaven Studios, creator of the in-development MMO Saga of Lucimia, the devs are firmly on the side of the subscription model, and in a recent blog update, Creative Director Tim Anderson explains the studio’s reasoning for its position.
The studio cites Final Fantasy XIV’s Naoki Yoshida to support its pro-subscription stance, quoting him as saying that “over 80% of players are satisfied with the subscription model . . . due to players’ confidence in a steady stream of quality content because of their subscription,” while “the free-to-play model is an unreliable source of income predicated on devoting development resources to monthly consumable or cosmetic items in order to maintain profitability, leaving little time left for higher quality story and battle content.”
It’s a fairly solid argument, even if — as the post notes — free-to-play games are currently commanding “about 77% of the U.S. online market,” but according to the studio’s research into the matter, the bottom line of the subscription vs. free-to-play argument is straightforward and fairly unsurprising: “at the end of the day players actively playing a given title don’t really care one way or another if a game is free-to-play with microransactions or has a monthly fee attached,” as long as the game in question is “fun and immersive.”
What a shock, right? Players are willing to pay for a game as long as it’s good, plain and simple. As Anderson notes, while Saga of Lucimia is definitely leaning toward a subscription model of some sort, the devs have yet to determine exactly what kind of model that will be, and as he himself says, “[the studio is] a long way from needing to make a decision” on the matter.