This SOE subscription ruckus certainly has been the rollercoaster ride of the past week, with good news and bad news and more good news and possible more bad news rolling in. I’ve got to say, as much as I appreciate John Smedley’s passion for his company and his enthusiasm to be “the guy” who gets to announce news first, he comes off as a loose cannon who’s bypassing marketing and PR altogether to create as many problems as he’s fixing. At the very least, he should’ve had solid details and an established plan of attack instead of putting out these half-baked posts that seemed to change on a daily basis.
Anyway. As the dust is settling, here’s what we’re looking at from SOE going forward:
- Its entire library is and will continue to be free-to-play (nothing new)
- If you subscribe for $14.99 to one game for a month, you’ll get subscription privileges in every game for that month. Essentially, it’s the All Access pass for $5 cheaper than it was before.
- The $14.99 subscription will include EverQuest, EverQuest II, Free Realms, Clone Wars Adventures, Vanguard, DC Universe Online, PlanetSide (people still play that?), and PlanetSide 2. Maybe Wizardry Online and Dragon’s Prophet too? I’m not 100% clear on that.
- The $14.99 subscription plan will also cover Landmark and EverQuest Next when they release.
- As a subscriber, you’ll get 500 station cash a month and a 10% discount in the marketplace
- What SOE is going to do with European and console players is still not clear
The ups and downs of how SOE arrived at this notwithstanding, this seems like a really big win-win situation for both the studio and its customers. For SOE, it’s trying to breed a cult of loyalty in players. By giving players a better reason to play multiple titles, SOE is helping them to stave off burnout, invest more time into SOE’s library, and stick around for what’s to come. For players who are at least interested in two of these titles, it’s a good deal that gets better the more SOE games regularly played. $15 to cover (eventually) 10-12 MMOs and unlock all of those pesky F2P restrictions has got to appeal to any of us with a weakness for bargains.
There aren’t too many studios or publishers out there right now that have a collection this big to offer a similar deal. SOE might take in a lot of strays with its MMOs, but if I was pressed to only play one studio’s games, this would be a good bet. There’s enough of a variety to keep one occupied for a while, and the dual EQN games have a lot of goodwill and excitement swirling about them.
That said, right now I don’t play any SOE games, so it’s not going to get $15 a month from me. It’s nice to have that option, however.