Gathering up some comments, since it’s typical that discussions focus on the part of the argument that is irrelevant.
It’s like those interviews where you omit the questions and have to guess them.
You keep talking about the business model being obsolete, but this is stupid. What is obsolete is the standard MMORPG gameplay. That’s why people now want it FREE, or nothing. Because IT SUCKS.
If ESO offered a kind of value that feels new and stimulating, then being on a subscription fee would be absolutely viable.
The point here is that this GAMEPLAY IS STALE. And people aren’t willingly to pay for stale gameplay. Especially not premium prices considering that these days ALL PRICES are down in every gaming genre.
“People unwilling to pay” applies EQUALLY whether you have subs, or free to play. The difference is that on free to play people can actually decide you are worth exactly $0.
This is the best example that demonstrates the opposite of what you say.
FFXVI launched once, failed, went again into development, relaunched, was marginally successful.
Result: failure/success depends on development and not on having a subscription, since this is a game that failed once, succeeded once, and in both cases has a subscription just the same. Hence, it’s not the subscription itself the deciding factor.
“Market research”: what you spend money on so they tell you what you already know.
Making games, like art, means envisioning what is not already there. Even if it’s an original recombination of old elements. Good games create their market, a market that didn’t exist before, and that market research for sure couldn’t foresee.
Like MOBA today. Suddenly it’s MOBA everywhere. Yet MOBA didn’t truly exist before and no one needed them. (or Dark Souls, or roguelikes etc…)
So, if you work in the industry you only need to decide if you are the idiot that blindly FOLLOWS the trends and is lead by the nose, or if you have some ambition and walk ahead and lead them.
Oh, and I really do believe this discussion is stubbornly stupid: keep talking about sub fees all you want. It’s IRRELEVANT.
It’s the game that is relevant, and what you pay for it is secondary to what kind of experience the game delivers. A game could even be worth $100, just as long it delivers that kind of experience.
Market trends come after. The economy of a business is a domino. The pieces fall following the pattern they are set on. You change the pattern, they fall differently.
But it looks like you want to talk just about secondary consequences as if they are primary motivations…
WoW isn’t shedding subs because it’s subs based, but because development halted completely a few years ago and development staff moved onto new projects.
MMORPGs last exactly as their dev teams.
F2P is the 2nd stage: when dev teams are moving on different projects, and the game is kept on life support as long it lasts.
Only the actual quality and type of game can carry $15 subs. The question is whether or not ESO delivers that kind of quality and novelty.