Just in case there were any doubt left that the owners of Lego Universe were completely bonkers to just close down their subscription game without trying a free-to-play model, DC Universe is reporting a slight increase in revenue since they made the switch. The small matter of an extra 700% per day. Eurogamer spotted that the very enthusiastic Sony Online Entertainment president, John Smedley, tweeted his good news. News that will surely be yet another blow to the subs model.
Explaining that they’re having to deal with large queues with the substantial demand brought by new players (a 1000% increase since 1st November), Smedley apologises for the issues and explains that “we’re on it”. But he then goes on to demonstrate exactly why the lines are so long. The playerbase is growing at a ferocious 6% a day, and for those poo-poohing the numbers as experimental accounts from those just having a sniff, he adds that 85% of daily logins are returning players. That’s a very significant number, proving that people are sticking around.
Of those new players, perhaps a surprising number are on the PS3 version. I still find it hard to square away the idea that console players will take part in an MMO, but then I’m probably just being racist or something. Because that 700% in increased revenue is coming only 47% from PC players, while PS3 users are forking out 53% of the profits.
Which only makes the decisions by EA, BioWare and Funcom, with The Old Republic and The Secret World, to stick to the subscription model a more interesting one. Clearly WoW and its 10 million plus subscribers proves there’s a way to do it, and clearly both those new games believe they have what it takes to take a slice of Blizzard’s pie. But what are the chances that either will make it through their freshman year without making the switch?