ArenaNet, the developer of the recently launched Guild Wars 2 MMORPG, has talked about business models in this specific genre and has revealed that, when viewed at a distance, Guild Wars 2’s no-subscription plan is quite similar to the free-to-play one that’s currently so popular when it comes to online games.
Guild Wars 1 impressed a lot of people when it came out back in 2005 as it was an online game that didn’t require a monthly subscription, unlike World of Warcraft, for example.
Guild Wars 2
has just appeared and continues this approach, despite the fact that more and more MMOs are turning into free-to-play experiences, either willingly or forced by the public who refuses to pay a subscription.
According to ArenaNet boss, Mike O’Brien, it’s surprising that the single price and lack of subscriptions model hasn’t been adopted by other games.
"We pioneered this business model in 2005, and a lot of people have asked me in interviews 'why aren't other people doing this?' and I don't know," he told GamesIndustry
"Back in 2005 we really kind of carved out a unique space in online gaming and online worlds, and really nobody came and tried to compete with that. So it was fantastic for us, obviously Guild Wars sold well beyond our expectations and we built a really strong relationship with our community and we were able to offer them a business model that I think is really a win-win business model, and our customers have loved that for the past seven years."
O’Brien then compared the Guild Wars model with free-to-play, and he revealed that, while it was commendable that companies were finally realizing the advantage of this system, it was unfortunate that many were adopting it as a last resort.
"Now people are realizing there's a lot more to MMOs than monthly fees, and we're starting to see companies doing free-to-play, and even then they're not really doing the Guild Wars business model, they're doing no box price, no subscription and 100 per cent microtransactions. And I think that unfortunately, in a lot of those cases, you see games trying to do one business model and then falling back on another business model when that doesn't work. Which of course is not good for anybody, because it means that the game was not designed to support that."
Both the Guild Wars model and the free-to-play one deliver a win-win deal for both the developer and the players, according to O’Brien, so don’t expect ArenaNet to change its ways anytime soon.