WildStar looks to combat online gold-selling with unique business model
Carbine Studios has announced a rather quirky business model for its upcoming MMO WildStar. According to details released today, the highly anticipated game will feature a hybrid model that offers a monthly subscription option or a "play to pay" approach.
While we're used to seeing MMOs launch with monthly subscription plans, the concept of "play to pay" may seem foreign to many of us. Apparently, it's a way to combat gold selling online, a problem that has plagues many current MMOs.
”In combining a classic subscription model with C.R.E.D.D. we think we’ve struck a good balance. We definitely want to support players who appreciate the value of high-quality subscription-style game. Meanwhile, C.R.E.D.D. gives gamers who don’t like monthly subs the option to just play to pay and enjoy the same content," said Carbine Studios executive producer Jeremy Gaffney.
Here's how it will work:
Under the current plan, there are two key options for continuing play after the game's first free month (30 days included with the purchase) expires: a standard monthly subscription for $14.99 / €12.99 / £8.99 (discounts for locking in for longer periods), or an in-game system called "C.R.E.D.D."
C.R.E.D.D. can be purchased with in-game gold from other players, and is used as a way to avoid paying the subscription fee. Short for "Certificate of Research, Exploration, Destruction, and Development," C.R.E.D.D. can be purchased from other players for gold in-game through each server's Commodities Exchange (at a rate established by the player community), or from directly from Carbine at the WildStar website for $19.99 / €16.99 / £11.99 - which you may notice to be slightly more than a month's subscription.
C.R.E.D.D. basically offers players a safer, more secure alternative for buying in-game currency for real-world money, instead of going through shady third-party online sites. You spend your real-world money on C.R.E.D.D. and then convert it to in-game gold by selling it to other players in the Commodities Exchange. C.R.E.D.D. can only be purchased at the lowest currently offered price, and the seller's identity is never revealed. The hope is that players will opt for Carbine's approved system instead of third-party websites.
It's definitely an interesting system, but seemingly one that will only be effective if players are willing to spend money on real-game cash -- history suggests they are -- and players who want to pay in-game gold for play-time which I know I'd definitely be willing to do. Granted, there's no flat-out free-to-play option, but I think this is a nice solution, offering users a way around the subscription while combating a common problem among MMOs. Of course, this is all contingent on players purchasing C.R.E.D.D. and selling it for a reasonable price.
Are you a fan of WildStar's business model?