Came across An Analysis of MMOG Subscription Growth, which tracks (according to numbers released by the developers, as well as press releases, etc.) the numbers of subscriptions over time for all of the major Massively Multiplayer Online Games.

There are a number of caveats attached of course, many within the document analysis on the website. The number of subscriptions should not be confused with the number of subscribers or the number of active players.

I know several people, for example, who have more than one Asheron’s Call account (some people have 5, 10, or more), so while that accounts for, say, 5 subscriptions, it really only accounts for one subscriber. It seems to me that developers should be able to handle this by making subscriptions scalable – buy three characters for $9.99 a month, 5 for $15.99, etc.

The other issue is that while someone might hold a subscription to a game, that doesn’t mean that they are actually *playing* the game. I, for example, still have my subscription to Asheron’s Call even though I have logged in only once in the past 50+ days (to pay “rent” on my house, so I don’t lose it). It might seem absurd that I pay money on a monthly basis to maintain something that I don’t play, but considering that I have about 3 years worth of “research” invested in a game I write about, it might not seem so odd.

I do think that a lot could be gained by offering a “character storage solution” – a private company working w/ MMOGs to store character database files for a lower cost, with transfer fees high enough to prevent an easy back and forth.

I hate to know that someday – perhaps in the near future – my characters will disappear into the ether forever (research or no, I’m not willing to keep paying for a game that I have no time to play, especially with other MMOGs to test out and other free games – like Neverwinter Nights – that provide hours of great content with no monthly fee). An odd sentiment, but considering the time investment in previous years, perhaps only but *so* odd…


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