I’d like to answer the question posed over at Massively:
Yesterday’s grind concerned the very real problem of having to let one of your subscriptions lapse due to the state of the economy. When the times are tough and money is tight, sometimes you need to find what will ultimately pay off in the end for you. So, today’s question is ultimately derived from yesterday’s question — would you like more games to offer lifetime subscriptions, like Lord of the Rings Online?
My answer is no. No I would not like to see more of these lifetime subscriptions simply because I have better things to do than gamble my money on a game that might:
a) Only last a year (…like TR…) or less (…like Hellgate..?)…in which case I’m paying more than the usual $14.99/mo.
b) Have a small community and therefore be a very rough experience.
c) Become a game that I just don’t like after the second month and never pick up again.
…give me more family plans is my line of thinking.
I’m sure there are other reasons, but my main point is that there are more risks than rewards for investing in an MMO right up front. Right now, LOTRO is the only game (…that I’ve played at least…), in which this has worked out…and, I actually regret not getting into when the game launched. Had I known that LOTRO would be presenting the value it does now, you’re damn right I would have paid up front. The problem is that most MMOs do not present the value proposition to the player/customer for putting up that money. It’s usually a “Hey! Lifetime. Come and get it.” with no guarantees given that you’re not just throwing your money away.
I know…I know. I’m being a “half-empty” piss-ant about this, but I think we can count the amount of companies on three fingers that we’d actually trust to deliver that value to us, sight unseen. This whole question of “value for money” is the exact same track that I’m taking with RMT at the moment….except it’s a bit worse because there is more risk involved. Trust me, if Turbine were charging $5 for those Yule presents and all you got was a tatter, then I think RMT would not be so hot for them….or anybody for that matter. That’s what these lifetime subs are really asking us to do: give us $299, and we’ll give you a nice, shiny present that may have great entertainment for 5+ years in it…or a tatter.