Have you ever wondered how so many of today's newer MMOs can go with the free-to-play business model? With the mega bank that Blizzard is making off of World of Warcraft, wouldn't the obvious plan be to make any new game subscription-based? Well, not exactly.

According to an amazingly-extensive research post over at Matt Mihaly's The Forge blog, the decision for an MMO to choose between a subscription-based or free-to-play (with microtransactions) business model is not simply black and white. There's so much gray area in there based on more than just trying to reach the largest audience and making the most money. It's about developing a game that players will enjoy for many years. Market trends and long-term player interest is a difficult thing to predict, so new MMO developers find themselves experimenting with many different plans. Will these plans eventually evolve into the holy grail of online gaming payment, or will we eventually find that the best solution has been under our noses the entire time?

This article was originally published on Massively.