Funcom has dropped the subscription requirement for MMO The Secret World.
Having struggled to gain much traction using the subscription model, the developer has now adopted the more traditional pay-up-front model, with the title available to download online or to buy from retail.
The studio has gone against an increasing trend in the industry for subscription MMOs to adopt free-to-play to help generate increased interest, and has instead opted for a more traditional pay-up-front model.
Although the developer has said it will continue to release free updates – called Issues – it will now also offer optional paid content packs. It is not clear however what extra benefits paid DLC will offer uses over other players.
Despite the removal of the subscription system, a new membership option will be available to users to provide extra bonuses such as in-game currency and discounts as well as double experience points at specific times during the day.
“With this recent change there is no reason not to join and take part in ‘The Secret World’,” said Funcom game director Joel Bylos.
“Most players end up having a ton of fun once they delve into the myths and legends of ‘The Secret World’, and we believe the game has the potential to be even more successful without the subscription entry barrier. It is an ambitious and very exciting move for us.”
Following the release of The Secret World in July Funcom was forced to lay off around 50 per cent of its staff as the game struggled to gain traction among consumers and by September had garnered just 200,000 in sales.
The developer has since said it will be focusing on smaller titles with lower costs in future.