'Many online games struggle if their users are able to consume content faster than developers can make it'

Subscription model is still viable for MMOs, says CCP

Subscription-based MMOs are still viable despite a shift toward the free-to-play model, CCP’s David Reid has told Develop.

Speaking in a newly published interview, the studio’s CMO said that developers needed to realise what business model would suit their game and the type of content they are looking to deliver, saying that subscriptions could still be successful in games.

He said that many pay-monthly MMOs suffered because they had users who consumed content faster than developers could make it, potentially making it a tough business model to maintain in the long-term.

“I think it comes down to – subscription is absolutely a viable business model and it continues to be – but I think what everybody in the MMO business has to realise now is that mandatory subscription is not the only way to build these games,” said Reid

“If you want to build a subscription based game, you need to make sure that is the proper business model for the game you are making, for the type of content you’re delivering for the type of game and service with which gamers get new content and what it is they get.”

Reid suggested the other studios follow in the footsteps of CCP’s own Eve Online MMO by providing an open arena and tools to players so they can create their own in-game experience and content alongside the title’s development team.

“For Eve it has proven to be a very successful model,” he said.

“For other games, where gamers are able to consume the content faster than developers make it, subscriptions can be a tough business model.

"I think that’s the lesson and with Eve the nature of the beast is that it’s something where the gamers who play the game create the content as much, if not more so, than the development team.

“We don’t have a design team that writes quests, dungeons and NPCs and stuff like that, they provide tools for the players to interact with each other.”

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