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Developer Monte Cristo talks low-price subscription models

William Dobson

As MMO gamers, we're fairly used to paying a certain amount of cash for our subscriptions -- the figure rarely wanders very far from the USD$15 a month mark. Usually you'll have either the $15-a-month setup, or a free-to-play game with costs to buy items or upgrade to a premium account. Speaking with, Parisian development studio Monte Cristo put forward a different game-plan: budget subscription prices. Their upcoming city-building title Cities XL will feature both single player and MMO modes. Those that get into the MMO aspect of the game will pay just GBP£10 (or roughly USD$15) for a 3-month subscription.

The hope is that players will not only be more willing to try the MMO version of Cities XL at that price, but that they would also be more likely to pay for the cheap plug-ins that Monte Cristo is developing and can be added to the game. The studio's head Jerome Gastaldi commented that he and his company did not really believe in the microtransaction-only model, and hence, the mixed business model came about. With money coming back to them from box sales, subscriptions, and add-ons, Gastaldi hopes that their decisions will make Cities XL less risky than launching a purely single-player game.