Whilst the publishing world may be vocal in its increasing interest in free-to-play online game models, a new report by Screen Digest shows that the subscription based MMO market grew by 22 per cent in 2008.
Consumer spending in the sector reached $1.4bn across Europe and North America, with the ongoing success of Activision Blizzard's World of Warcraft credited as being the driving factor.
Furthermore, Screen Digest predicts that the sector has a further five years growth ahead of it.
Industry commentators have for some time been using the example of the Asian online games market to proclaim the death of subscription business models in the West, praising the accessibility and flexibility of free-to-access games that generate revenue by encouraging players to make micro-transactions as part of the gaming experience,” Screen digest's senior analyst and head of games Piers Harding-Rolls stated.
Screen Digest has always advocated a mixed model approach for the markets in North America and Europe. Subscriptions remain an important and lucrative way of monetising MMOGs in the West across all game settings and consumer groups, and the results in 2008 support this view.”