Why Norway’s Fifth Season chose the classic subscription model instead of Free2Play for their new strategic sci-fi MMO, AD2460.
There is no doubt that Free2Play is one of the strongest trends in the gaming world right now. Even some of the biggest MMOs are embracing the model that started growing in popularity on the mobile platforms, but has since then spread to pretty much every active game publishing platform in existence.
Given that their recently released massive multiplayer space 4X-game (a genre they have themselves coined WMMO), AD2460, is web-based, one would probably also have expected Norwegian game development veterans Fifth Season to choose the same business model. But that’s not what they believe in. Instead, they believe that the tried and true subscription model is right for their game, especially if they can offer that subscription at a very low price point.
AD2460 is in many ways a sequel to Fifth Seasons first hit game, Planetarion, which they released back in 2000. The game was quite successful, and peaked at around 180 000 active players, before the bursting dot-com bubble forced Fifth Season to sell off the game to survive. But Fifth Season CEO, Per Baumann, tells Nordic Game Bits that the team has been working towards a “comeback in space” since then, as the studio’s long term goal.
Fifth Season have been working on the game since 2010 with financial support form both the Norwegian Film Institute and the Norwegian Research Council, Baumann tells.
Our goal with AD2460 was to remake the genre of Sci-Fi WMMO and make the next generation of such games
Regarding the business model, Baumann says that they decided on a more traditional subscription model because they felt that it just fit their game better.
We feel that freemium games where you can “buy extra power” is wrong for this kind of game. It should be the user’s skills and efforts that measures success, not how much money that is spent
Fifth Season has also decided to go with a very low price point for their subscription model, as the game will only cost around €3 per month. “We hope it will be affordable for most people all over the world,” Baumann explains. But with a core team of only three people, the break even point is also much lower than most other subscription-based games.
The game was launched between Christmas and New Years Eve to try to take advantage of both the normal lull in game launches during this period, and the extra spare time that most people have on their hands in the holidays. At this point, however, it’s still too early to judge whether Fifth Season’s gamble has paid off. Now it’s up to the players.
“We believe that we have accomplished our goal by making a game which is “the next generation of Sci-Fi WMMO games”, but are also humble to acknowledge that it is the users who decide whether we are right or wrong,” Baumann concludes.
Our Norwegian readers might also be interested in knowing that Fifth Season will be hosting a launch party for the game on January 7th in Oslo. More details about that can be found here.