LONDON GAMES CONFERENCE 2011: Free-to-play model is the future, says Nicholas Lovell

‘The Old Republic will be the last big MMO’

Star Wars: The Old Republic will be the last big MMO, Gamebrief’s Nicholas Lovell has said.

Speaking at the London Games Conference, Lovell said he believes that current and imminent subscription based games such as World of Warcraft will be the last big subscription-based MMOs.

He said that free-to-play is the future of the industry, and subscription underestimates how much money people are winning to spend on a free game.

“We’ve underestimated the people that are prepared to spend $100 a month if you allow them to,” said Lovell.

He cited the success of Tiny Tower developer NimbleBit, which had received 50 per cent of its revenue from all its free-to-play titles from the eight per cent of users that bought extra content on their games at a price of $29.99.

He said one of the big problems prohibiting the subscription model was that most people have a short memory, meaning customers will only take up a set number of game-related subscriptions.

“Anytime we have a list of more than seven things to do we think there’s an infinite number of things to do. There is only room for seven subscriptions in your life says Sony,” Lovell said.

“To get your subscription adopted you have to persuade them to drop another one.”

He added: “To get people in, you’ve got that barrier you’ve created by that subscription.”

The points raised by Lovell reflect the continued decline of World of Warcraft’s customer base, which has lost almost two million customers since October 2010.

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