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Tuesday, 20 July 2010 08:15

Online subscriptions are the likely future

Written by David Stellmack


Charging for online play is coming soon
Apparently, no one was paying much attention when Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision, said that he would like to create a subscription model for Call of Duty. He isn’t the only one that is talking about the fact that they would like to see the console online play model make a radical shift -- from free to pay to play.

While no seems to know what the future really holds, it does seem that a company like Activision that receives a significant amount of revenue from a subscription-based title like Warcraft would be eager to attempt to adapt that model into the console world, and charge a subscription fee.

A shock wave recently went though the COD:MW2 world when a video appeared that showed what seemed to be a matchmaking error on the Xbox 360 platform; it seemed to crash in such a way that it revealed what appeared to be plans for a subscription model that was never implemented. No matter if it is real or not, free online play for console users on more future titles could be a lot closer to the end than people realize.

Activision isn’t the only company that is trying to modify or restrict online play. Electronic Arts and THQ have both started to move to stop online play for purchasers of used titles that don’t have a code contained in the purchase of a new title. While buyers of used titles such as these can pay a fee online to enable the online play for the used title, it is at an extra cost.

When the software developers and the publishers see the amount of revenue that Microsoft is making for providing the Xbox Live service on a subscription basis (and now Sony is starting to move in this direction with PlayStationPlus), it is only natural that developers and publishers want a slice of this pie.

We have to tell you to count your blessings if you buy a title that currently still has free online play, as it is obvious that the future direction will do away with this unless you pay a fee (or if it comes free with the purchase of a new title). We have to wonder what developers and publishers will do to entice people to spend extra for online play; and what they are going to provide as a premium for gamers doing so? The statement that nothing is free rings true here, but will players balk at parting with their hard earned cash? We have to think that this will be the case, but you never know.
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