The Secret World ditches subs, Syp does his happy Snoopy dance

Snoopy-Happy-DanceWe’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.


13 thoughts on “The Secret World ditches subs, Syp does his happy Snoopy dance

  1. João Carlos December 12, 2012 / 8:57 am

    IMHO, we will see TSW regaining some steam. However, I am not sure that the problem with TSW are “due to the title just being different, horror-themed, and filled with mature content”. IMHO, TSW problem is because it inovates at the skill system, but no innovates enough: it is the same holy trinity and the same old quest system.

    So, I think we will see TSW population go up for some time, but it will return to a slow falling, like it is hapening with SWTOR.

  2. merecraft December 12, 2012 / 9:03 am

    I’ll be continuing my subscription. This game deserves to succeed (whether it will or not remains to be seen). Fingers crossed this move is for the best.

  3. 00james December 12, 2012 / 9:42 am

    OMFG this is awesome! I let my sub run out a month ago as I’ve been playing GW2 too much. It’s been a sad month, since i loved the storytelling so much in TSW.

  4. bhagpuss December 12, 2012 / 11:32 am

    I’m at work or I’d be posting on this myself. I’m on record as far back as beta as saying TSW would go ftp eventually, although I did think it might run a full year under a sub before that happened.

    It’s great news in the short term but it still leaves two enormous issues unsolved: will ftp generate suicient income for the game to remain viable and how does not having to pay a fee help me with not having enough time to play? I really like TSW a lot and is will certainly mean my dabbling there again, but the choice of really good MMOs is now so vast that cost is no longer the barrier – time is.

    I hope Funcom can make this work.

  5. Tyler F.M. Edwards December 12, 2012 / 11:45 am

    Come to think of it, I don’t even know what a pocket book is. A cheque book? Slang for a wallet?

    Anyway, I’m a little concerned about TSW changing its business model so soon after release — smacks of desperation — but I’m cautiously optimistic that this will ensure a bright future for the game, and on a personal level, I’m quite happy with the change. Now, I can keep playing even if I go back to WoW without worrying about juggling two sub fees, and the F2P (B2P, whatever) model seems one of the more reasonable I’ve seen. I’d much rather pay for content than convenience, especially if it just amounts to buying mini-expansions.

  6. Ardent Defender December 12, 2012 / 12:12 pm

    I’ve been happily paying my Sub for TSW since i bought it at launch. Loved the game and the Cabal Crew we got. So I count Syp as fellow Cabal Member. I got all the way to lvl 10 gear and completed much of Dracular’s homeland in the last zone. TSW seem to suffer much launching at a tough time with lots of other AAA MMO launches and expansions and just never quite got the attention it deserves.

    I haven’t really much since September with WoW MoP and GW2 launch. Been a more focused gamer rather than casual I just can’t find it in me to juggle so many MMO’s all at once. At least no more than 2. I’ve happily kept my TSW sub going, logged in a time or two to update things but haven’t really played due to my focus on playing my main MMO which is EVE. But because I do support TSW vs just wanting it to go FTP like some other players and willing to support Funcom I kept my monthly sub active and rather happy to support TSW. The game deserved better than the reception it’s gotten.

    Yet it’s funny as I’ve played WoW MoP and quit after 2 months of playing MoP. GW2 might be free after purchase, yet not even that is enough to keep me playing as I haven’t played GW2 much if any in last 2 months. So my active and current MMO interest has withered back down to where I kinda always though I would settle back to with EVE as my main MMO as TSW as my sidekick. Two MMO’s are as much as I can focus on and play reasonable well.

    So I’m glad TSW will be seeing more players. I really hope it works out for Funcom and TSW. I don’t regret helping support the game with my sub even if I haven’t really played in about 3 months. That had nothing to do with the game on my part, injust had too many other games to juggle at the same time and something had to give time wise.

  7. Ocho December 12, 2012 / 2:11 pm

    This is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Wow. Figured it would happen eventually, but by taking the GW model, its not going to be just a cash grab. You will see me running around The Secret World soon. Awesome.

  8. Llokki December 12, 2012 / 9:25 pm

    I’m so happy about this, I’m seriously considering upgrading my account to GM (if it’s still available?), both to support a good (imo) move on Funcom’s part, and because I feel like it’s more worth the price now…don’t ask me how I come up with such logic, but yeah.

  9. ZombiePirate December 13, 2012 / 4:50 am

    This is a good thing for me personally. I enjoyed the game in beta could couldn’t afford another sub game. GW2 is a very, very casual game for me and I could see maybe adding TSW to that stable now all I have to do is pay for the box.

  10. Syp December 13, 2012 / 9:33 am

    Yeah you still need to buy the game. I think it’s $30 on Amazon.

  11. ScytheNoire December 14, 2012 / 8:25 pm

    Very happy about this. Didn’t purchase the game at launch because the Beta was buggy and I can no longer support subscription games, I want to see that business model die off. But as soon as they announced this, I bought the game. I’ve been waiting for this. Frankly, they’ll probably make a hell of a lot more money now. I know I’ve dropped more in Guild Wars 2 than I would have it I had only been paying for a subscription. That model is so dead. It’s all about the game store and tempting players who have the money to buy stuff they want.

  12. mbp December 15, 2012 / 6:03 am

    The digital download version is on sale today for $15 from I am in.

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