Is $20 Station Access a good deal or risky business?

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.

7 thoughts on “Is $20 Station Access a good deal or risky business?

  1. Warsyde June 9, 2011 / 12:54 pm

    It really is a great deal, and I’m very tempted . . . but there aren’t any games on that list that I would consider my “first choice” for gaming. I’m playing a little bit of EQ2 right now since it’s free for 45 days, and I’m about to give DCUO another spin for the same reason.

    Nevertheless, I’m not already playing these games because they just don’t interest me that much. $20 is quite a deal, but it’s a deal on stuff I don’t really want in the first place.

    I often think how nice it would be if other companies would copy Sony’s Station Pass, but then I think about where it would be beneficial and draw a blank. Other than NCSoft, what other publisher has a larger enough stable of subscription games to make this sensible?

  2. Capnhoppy June 9, 2011 / 2:49 pm

    This is a subscription deal only, right? If I wanted to play, say DCUO I’d have to pay an upfront cost for the software?

  3. pkudude99 June 9, 2011 / 3:56 pm

    I enjoy EQ2 a lot, and I like to bip in to SWG and VG from time to time, plus my kids like Free Realms, so it was a good deal for me for most of the time I had it, even at the 29.95 price point. I’m currently not playing any SOE games right now, though, in favor of EVE and Rift, but the lower price is making me pay attention. Not sure if adding another sub even if it is for all those games is within my budget of $$$ or time right now, though.

  4. biophazer242 June 9, 2011 / 4:08 pm

    Subscription deal only so far as I have read, no word on selling the clients at a discount or anything.

  5. Green Armadillo June 9, 2011 / 5:27 pm

    If DCUO PS3 was included, I would pick up a copy and a station pass in a minute. For most normal players, this isn’t really 9 subscriptions for $20, but it is subscription number 2 for $5/month. (It’s also a bunch of rental character slots for EQ2 subscribers.)

    Unfortunately, the two SOE products that I’m most interested in playing (EQ2Live – sorry, EQ2X, but the separate server is a deal-killer – and DCUO PS3) are stuck on different platforms. I guess I’d go this route if I decided I want to try Vanguard someday. Or I could give up on the PS3 version of DCUO, even though I think I will prefer that one, and get it for the PC (which also has a cheaper box, in addition to a cheaper sub with this deal). Ah well.

  6. bhagpuss June 10, 2011 / 2:22 pm

    Mrs Bhagpuss and I are both spending almost all our game time in Rift still, but we have Station Access accounts and intend to keep them. The option to log in on a whim to any of our characters in any SoE game is worth $29.99 a month to us. We only cancelled it once, for 6 months, and regretted it, not least because when we did go back to play our characters had lost 6 months of credit against veteran rewards.

    So naturally this is very good news.

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