I’ve been arguing this for a while now. The sub model has outlived its usefulness as the prime mover, and an incresingly diverse market needs more options. I’m not calling for the death of subs, just an increase in other options. Puzzle Pirates does it right. Wizard 101 does it right (mostly).
Bottom line, a healthy market is a diversified one, and offering options (in monetization as well as content) expands your potential user base. It’s Marketing 101 and Econ 101 kind of stuff, but the MMO industry is glacially slow to comprehend it. The race to make a WoW killer illustrates the herd mentality all too well.
When Lum says it, does it have more weight than my articles? Maybe Raph Koster? (Raph’s link to this guy, a “real” economist, is especially interesting.) I hope so, but whatever the case, the corporate beancounters will have to pull their head out of the WoW-worshipping clouds they are high on at some point. For the players, it won’t be soon enough. For the companies who don’t get it, it will be too late.
This will be especially important as the economy continues to have troubles. Gamers are more diverse than ever. The MMO genre needs to diversify as well, not just in content, but in mechanics and most of all, in monetization.