When the news of a decline in the World of Warcraft subscriptions surfaced, rumors begin to spread that Blizzard will get rid of its monthly subscriptions and adopt a free to play model. Well, the CEO of Blizzard, Mike Morhaime, has made it clear that World of Warcraft won’t be going free to play anytime soon in the future. Here’s what he had to say:
I think that changing it into a free-to-play game is not necessarily very trivial considering the types of things we’d have to change. I think the focus should be on accessibility, providing a free onramp to the game. But if you really want to play WoW for any length of time, I think we’ll stick with subscriptions.
While most of the massively multiplayer games that started with a monthly subscription model switched to a more accessible free to play model to attract more players, Blizzard seems confident with their current subscription model, despite a recent dip in the subscriptions. He further added:
We’ve always taken the business model on a case by case basis. In the case of World of Warcraft, the first 20 levels are free. It wasn’t designed as a free-to-play game. I don’t see that type of transition happening in World of Warcraft, although we are always looking for new ways to make the game more accessible.
Mike Morhaime also said that when they develop new content for the game, they always take current, new or returning subscribers in to consideration. This way the active players remain engaged and the returning players feel at home.
I think it’s really up to us to continue looking at ways to keep the gameplay feeling fresh and new. Adding new things to the game. Making the game more accessible for not only new players, but also players that played WoW at one point in time, and want to come back. I think maybe an unintended consequence of adding all of this content is that when you layer in complexity and add new things, the people who aren’t keeping up with all of that feel like they’re getting further and further behind.
When they do come back to the game, so much has changed that it doesn’t feel as familiar as we want it to. I want it to feel like coming home. People invest so much time in building up their character, when they come back, even if they took a break for a couple of years, I want it to feel like it’s familiar, that they miss it, that they want to re-engage with the game.
When asked about the World of Warcraft coming to consoles, he said that, although it has been discussed by the team, he doesn’t see the MMO heading to consoles anytime soon.
I don’t think consoles are necessarily our best opportunity for World of Warcraft. In terms of gameplay, our focus is going to stay on the PC, and then we’ll continue looking at ways you might be able to interact with the world from other devices.
What do you guys think? Do you prefer the subscription model over a free to play model or the other way around? Let us know in the comments section below.