World of Warcraft could go free-to-play

WoW’s lead designer hints that a subscription fee may not make sense for Blizzard

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In a recent interview with PC Gamer UK, World of Warcraft’s lead designer Tom Chilton said that “at some point, it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee.” While mainstream coverage of free-to-play games remains sparse, the popularity of micro-transaction business models amongst big publishers and developers is on the rise with titles like SOE’s Free Realms, Relic Entertainment’s Company of Heroes Online, EA’s Battlefield Heroes, and Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online - to name a few.

Above: Blizzard is looking for new ways to make gold. Time is money, friend!

According to Chilton, Blizzard isn’t ruling out the possibility of eliminating the more traditional subscription fee in the future and suggests that Blizzard’s next MMO might even be a free-to-play title. “If another game comes along and blows us away it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee. Or even further down the line, when we have another MMO out,” said Chilton.

But don’t expect Blizzard to pull the rug from under their players’ feet only to replace it with a velvet rope model and micro transactions.  “It’s not something that’s a reality for us in the near future,” explained Chilton. Still, Blizzard’s recent sale of an epic mount through their online store raked in epic profits, leading us to believe that a free-to-play MMO by Blizzard could be just as, if not more, profitable than the already successful World of Warcraft.

Source: PC Gamer via CVG

Jun 30, 2010