There are a lot of industry analysts, pundits and big-wigs who believe that Star Wars: The Old Republic can garner more than 2 million subscribers, even in the face of increased “competition” from free-to-play titles. The latest endorsement comes from none other than Sony Online Entertainment President, John Smedley.
Gamesinustry.biz posted a guest editorial by Smedley on the the industry’s march toward the free-to-play model (with DC Universe being the latest switcher.) The piece is entitled The Free Future and is great reading for anyone involved in the games industry, or even just enjoy keeping an eye on it.
Smedley feels that TOR will be the last large-scale MMO to go this route:
There’s another large juggernaut coming out soon in Star Wars: The Old Republic from EA/Bioware. That’s a game that I think has a legitimate shot at a 2 million subscription user base and I believe they will stick with the subscription method. In my opinion this is going to be the last large scale MMO to use the traditional subscription business model.
The SOE President goes on to talk about Guild Wars and the “buy the box” model, as well as emerging markets. In the end though, he argues that free-to-play is the future for MMOs. Perhaps most poignant, he gives advice to developers:
Let players be able to get most things that you sell in the store just by playing the game. Even if it’s difficult, giving free players the chance to get things without ever paying you a dime is the right thing to do.
Head on over to Gamesindustry.biz for the full read. If you’re interested in the business, this is a great piece.