Okay: this analogy works a little better in the US than the UK, where boxset culture reigns. But Wildstar producer Stephen Frost reckons that playing Wildstar is a little like subscribing to the great, cable-enabled Home Box Office.
“HBO is a great example of a subscription service that people will pay for because there is quality content,” he told PCGamesN. “I think that we have a quality enough game where people will play through it, and they don’t have to be stopped by paywalls and really unfair practices that gamers see through.”
Frost believes that Carbine’s is “probably the most fair subscription model on the market” - thanks to Wildstar’s Eve-like business model. Beyond the $60 box, enterprising players with enough in-game gold need not pay the monthly fee at all.
“If I’m a player that plays all the time and I have loads of gold, I can spend my money on a subscription,” explained Frost. “As a player who doesn’t have as much time and just wants gold immediately, I can just buy that subscription, put it on the Auction House and get it purchased by that hardcore player. It’s a good ecosystem, I think, that will bring that across.”
And for the rest of us? There’s the HBO factor: the knowledge that our $15 will ensure we never encounter a paywall.
“It is complete crap when you play through something, and they’re like, ‘Woah - you can’t play this class unless you want to pay an extra five dollars!’, or, ‘If you want the best armour in the game, you have to pay for this!’
Asked about The Elder Scrolls Online’s $60 Legendary Edition, which was required buying for anybody wanting to play as the Imperial race, Frost added: “There’s so many things that block players”.
“With us, the other thing that’s great about what we’re doing - month after month after month you’re going to get a new zone, you’re going to get new PvP battleground, you’re going to get new dungeons - that’s all part of your subscription model.”
This will all sound fairly familiar to anybody who’s been listening to Bethesda’s Pete Hines in the run-up to ESO’s release - but for the PLEXy time arrangement, of course. Is that a deal-maker for you?