Friday, October 28, 2005

More Sony: Online This Time

This is some interesting news (from Joystiq):
SOE President John Smedley has announced that his company will launch, likely in the fall of 2006, a “free” online game, which has no subscription fee whatsoever. The catch, however, likely inspired by Sony’s success with EverQuest’s Station Exchange, is that new content is going to cost you some cash.

I don't know about you, but I really like the à la carte model. It seems like it comes as close to a merit-based revenue model as anything possibly could.

I think this is a tacit admission by Sony that their existing "Station Access" model (access every online game they make for $19.95 a month--the "all-you-can-eat buffet") isn't providing the revenue or profit they need to be successful. I think it's also an admission that Guild Wars has eaten into their subscriber base to a greater degree than they ever expected.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if most online games use this revenue model within the next three years. With the exception of the 500-pound gorilla (currently World of Warcraft), of course, which can do anything it wants to.

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