ZeniMax Online and Bethesda's decision to release The Elder Scrolls Online as a subscription-based game unleashed a fresh wave of debate on the future of MMO payment models and the unique advantages and drawbacks offered by each. Virtual economist Isaac Knowles is the latest expert to offer his opinion on the announcement, posted in the form of a meaty defense of the subscription model in general.
Knowles (who works under game economist Edward Castronova) posits that there are three primary criticisms with the sub model: it incentivizes players to rush through content, it requires the steady release of expensive content, and it prevents companies from price discriminating (charging players for how much those players value the game rather than a flat rate). He then works to dismantle each criticism, using math as his primary weapon.
If you're into detailed looks at payment models, the full blog is worth a read. Hit the jump for a quick summary of Knowles' main points.