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The subscription model isn't dead - Parker

Industry is "arrogant" to assume consumers want to adopt newest business models, says consultant

While many online games have dropped a subscription model in favour of free-to-play, there's still a strong desire for subscriptions from consumers, according to consultant Nick Parker.

He claimed the industry is arrogant to think that it always knows best, and it risks alienating customers by assuming one service fits all.

"It's not dead, there is still a desire to have subscription models out there from consumers," he told an audience at Develop in Brighton today.

"We think there are people out there who are stupid if they want to pay a subscription, that's crazy."

We live in a guilded world here as part of the industry. We think that everybody is like us

Nick Parker, Parker Consulting

The advantages of subscription are still very appealing to consumers, said Parker, such as a single payment option and parents being able to control their children's spend online. For developers too, there's a constant revenue stream even when players aren't online, and developers have a deeper relationship with long-term players.

And while games such as Lord of the Rings Online, City of Heroes and Age of Conan have all shifted to a free-to-play model, Parker said that the UK and US businesses make big assumptions about their consumers without considering different markets want different services.

"We live in a guilded world here as part of the industry," said Parker. "We think, especially in the UK because we're super-arrogant, a bit like we are in the US - that everybody is like us, we're all for slightly irreverent, dark-type of gaming experiences. But in fact if you're a global business and you go talk to people in Spain, Italy and France, you're not going to be talking on the same level.

"They are not going to want to play those type of games all the time, which is why Xbox 360 and Microsoft are having a very tough time in getting global leadership because they cannot beat PlayStation in those territories. They will always be winning because they have very strong brands and a family presence."

Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.