Carbine Studios’ baby, WildStar, is going free-to-play this autumn, barely a year after it was officially released. The sci-fi MMO is the latest in a long line of big names in the genre that has done a U-turn on their subscription model, but the studio’s director, Mike Donatelli has reassured fans that the change is for the better.
“At the beginning of 2015, we outlined key points of focus for WildStar to help make this great game even better, focusing heavily on player feedback and bringing meaningful changes. We continue to deliver on those points and feel strongly that removing the subscription cost will give everyone who loves MMOs, or just wants to have an incredible gaming experience, a chance to try WildStar.”
Regardless of the strong statement of intent from Donatelli, it’s clear that the subscription fee model that MMOs have traditionally been known for has fallen out of favour with fans of massively-multiplayer worlds. Even the creators of World Of Warcraft – the undisputed king of MMOs – have introduced elements of the free-to-play model in recent years.
Now that WildStar has joined the ever-growing club of ditching paid subscriptions, it seems that Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is the last remaining big name MMO left standing that’s adhering to tradition. Will they take a U-turn as well? Time will tell.