Make no mistake: SOE is still in crisis recovery mode, and most likely will be for the better part of this year. Without any hard numbers to back up how much they did or did not lose, how many subscribers fled for the hills, etc., the only thing I’m willing to speculate is that they’re not really gaining many new customers at this point.
So how to convince people to give them (another) try? Simple — make a better deal than anyone else is making. In this case, offer nine MMO subscriptions for $20 a month. (Technically 10, but I can’t envision a scenario where someone is set up to play both EQOA and DCUO — and want to do it.)
I’ve always been fascinated with SOE’s Station Access and have not been shy in stating that it seems like a terrific deal — if you’re into these games, that is. Previously, the Access pass cost $30, which made it pointless to get unless you were planning to play more than two of its titles a month. Now it’s been cut to $20, which has a few people sitting up in their chairs and thinking, “Hey, that’s just a little more than a typical monthly subscription fee.”
But here’s the catch: Is it still a good deal or just one of those promotions that you’ll get because it’s on sale, not because you’ll use it? That’s all subjective, of course. It’s a no-brainer for anyone maintaining two or more SOE subs a month (because, hey, they’re saving money!). It’s tempting for those with one sub who might want to branch out and try another title for just $5 more. And it’s potentially alluring for players on the prowl for a lot of bang for their buck.
Another factor to consider is that three of these titles — Free Realms, Pirates of the Burning Sea, and EverQuest II — all offer free-to-play options, making this the second most economical deal behind “zero dollars.” Sure, being subscribed opens up a lot more options, but SOE is marketing this to folks who are looking to get the most for the least, and that could be a hard sell.
Of course, the biggest caveat is that this is coming from a company that just had its name raked through the mud after being hacked. Good deal in one hand, potential loss of personal info in the other. Can SOE be trusted already, or is this just the first in a long series of steps to regaining customer confidence?
Honestly, if I wasn’t already neck-deep in three MMOs, I’d consider it. SWG, Vanguard and EQII all broadcast some level of appeal, but I’d have to be putting in some serious hours to justify another subscription — and that just ain’t gonna happen.