We’ve woken to a wonderful world, a glorious world! Oh, rapturous joy, The Secret World is ditching subscriptions and going the full-on Guild Wars 2 model: Buy the game and play forever free. Funcom’s looking to make up the revenue with the cash shop and future DLC chunks.
I think this is brilliant. TSW is just a terrific game (not that I gush about it regularly here or anything) that’s struggled to gain a wide audience. Partially that’s due to the title just being different, horror-themed, and filled with mature content. But Funcom’s betting that it’s also due to a subscription pushing people away. It’s probably both; TSW didn’t do itself any favors by asking for a subscription a month before Guild Wars 2 game out. I lost count of the number of people I saw in August going, “This is great for now, but I’m dropping it once GW2 comes out.” Beyond GW2, it’s been a competitive fall season, and TSW just never got a good stretch of time to itself.
So Funcom’s casting a larger net and we’ll see what it catches. It might not work as well, but I’m optimistic. The GW2 model certainly suits it better than, say, SWTOR’s F2P model would. It won’t feel chopped up and over-monetized, and it definitely gives the devs incentive to come out with hearty DLC. For those that stay subscribed, there’s the option to either use the monthly allowance of points to buy that new content or to fritter it away on other cash shop items.
If nothing else, it’s a nice boost of publicity for the game during the lucrative holiday season. I sincerely hope that this move gets some gamers out there to consider picking this up now that it won’t be hitting them in the pocketbook (do people have those anymore?) every month.
I’ll be interested in seeing what the lowbie areas look like this week, if there’s a flood of new players, a stream, or perhaps a bunch of returners. Now that I think of it, it’s a nice bonus for folks who did buy the game but dropped the subscription along the way due to other interests or budgeting. You’ve gotten the game back for free.
Personally, this is slightly funny to me because I had an account snafu this past week and was dealing with customer service to get a payment processed. So the payment went through, yup, yesterday. Right in time for the game to go free. That’s actually fine with me — I’m glad to support TSW, and I’ll hold on to those extra points for a future month’s DLC. I think our regular group is meeting tonight to check out the new patch and generally celebrate the switch.
Anyway, this move and game gets Syp’s Seal of Approval. A good day indeed.