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EVE producer: F2P converts were 'failing,' subs still viable

Jef Reahard

The death of the subscription model has been greatly exaggerated, according to CCP. This view isn't terribly surprising if you consider the fact that the company's fortunes ebb and flow with sub-based EVE Online. What is somewhat surprising is the frankness with which EVE producer Jon Lander talks about the free-to-play mania that's gripped western dev studios in recent years.

"You look at the companies who did go free-to-play. They retrofitted it on, and that was because their games were failing. They didn't care about the tiny nugget of players who were still playing, because they knew they would get a huge number of other players and it would be more profitable," Lander told PC Gamer, before going on to explain how such a retrofit would kill EVE's essence.

Overall quality and the desire for long-term play also factor into a title's business model, Lander says. "If you have a really good game [...] and people want to spend a long time playing it, not like a month or two but like EVE players for years at a time, they're prepared to pay a subscription fee for a good quality gaming experience."

He also mentions EVE's PLEX system, which allows for real-world money to be injected into the EVE economy sans shady third-party brokers. And of course, CCP is experimenting with free-to-play via its new DUST 514 shooter, which Lander says was built from the ground up for the new business model. It's not necessarily the future, though. "People say the subscription MMO is dead. I fundamentally disagree with that. It's simply not the case," he says. Hit the jump for video excerpts from the interview.

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