5 Reasons You Need to Consider Subscriptions for Your MMO
July 1, 2020

As a game developer, you’re always hunting for ways to create more long-term player loyalty, increase revenue, and stabilize your income stream month-to-month. We know subscriptions are an effective addition to studios’ gaming revenue strategies that work with all game types, but what are the benefits for MMOs? Here, we share five reasons you should consider adding subscriptions to your business model, and how to get started.

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Subscriptions are EVERYWHERE

Back in the day, it was considered a point of pride to own hundreds of CDs. If you could afford it, you had an awesome library. Then, along came the Napster and later Apple Music and Amazon Music subscription programs and turned the idea of owning music upside-down. Eventually, all media and entertainment companies began to stream for a monthly fee. Subscriptions became second-nature to consumers and a way of satisfying the desire to expand their access to content.

Subscriptions Are a Gaming Trend

Even gaming has expanded from earlier revenue models like Try-before-You-Buy and Free-to-Play to subscriptions. Why? Because Subscriptions are easily layered on top of other forms of monetization. Subscriptions attract new gamers, create long-term loyal players, and generate recurring income.

Subscriptions are becoming a key factor in the success of many traditional MMO games. In fact, World of Warcraft’s $14.99 monthly subscription fee helped Activision Blizzard hit a peak of over 12 million paying customers. That translates to roughly $180 million per month in subscription revenue or $2.15 billion per year. That’s a lot compared to traditional pay-to-play models.

Happy Gamers Are LOYAL Players

After the Try-Before-You-Buy and Free-to-Play trends of the early 2000s, players continue to enjoy a broad range of play options an MMO subscription programs under a single monthly fee. Gamers can choose to team up with others in battle or on a quest, show off their mad skills in some PvP action, or just kick back, and enjoy story exploration and progression. 

If players want to add excitement within their existing subscription plan, they of course can opt to buy cosmetic items or other in-game purchases. If they want the ultimate upgrade, they have the option of switching to a premium plan that offers broader access to more choices and extras for a minimal monthly increase.

Not only does a monthly package offer MMO fans an opportunity to access a bigger and better experience, but it also provides them an open invitation to more consistent play. Comfortable with their stable monthly spend, fans find it easier to return more often to the world of other players, teams, and competitors. Easy access encourages regular gameplay and long term loyalty to their world.

A subscription program inspires partnership between gamers and the developer based on what players want as their favorite world evolves and grows.

Good for Players, Great for Studios

Just as gamers are enjoying the new dynamic between their favorite world and its game developer, gaming companies also enjoy the subscriptions business model because of:

  • Recurring revenue
  • Predictable income
  • Ease of implementation
  • Growth opportunities

Subscriptions are an enhancement to other forms of monetization. As a matter of fact, developers who add a subscription program to their MMO are likely to see greater player engagement, retention, PLUS increased revenue from in-game purchases. According to market research firm SuperData, gamers who pay for subscriptions spend twice as much on in-game purchases, on everything from cosmetics to battle passes.

It’s No Longer One Size Fits All

Subscriptions allow MMO creators to offer many levels of entry and gameplay to their audience along with the ability for gamers to boost the experience by subscribing to a bigger, more robust premium tier. Bigger plans can offer upgrades like more quests, better skills, minigames, special events, loot crates, or simply a bigger world.

In Conclusion

It’s easy to see why adding subscriptions to an MMO business’ revenue model makes sense. Subscriptions form a kind of contract between players and developers: The loyal game subscriber offers a predictable, steady flow of revenue in exchange for regular updates, enhancements, and opportunities to step up to bigger and better plans and worlds.

How to Get Started

Download our One-Pager. Learn about structuring an effective subscription plan that benefits you and your players and gets quick data-driven advice on how to structure subscription plans, keep players happy, and keep the lights on. 

  • What to include in an MMO subscription plan
  • Which in-game items/extras players want most
  • How to design a fair and profitable price structure.
  • The easiest way to manage recurring payments

Partner with Xsolla. We understand that changing your revenue model doesn’t happen overnight. There are questions to ask yourself and details to understand. That’s why the benefits of teaming up with a partner like Xsolla are invaluable.

Convert Players to Subscribers. We know the unique needs of MMO revenue generation and player retention, as well as how to turn casual gamers into loyal subscribers. We’ll show you how to:

  • Decide which plan is right for your players
  • Define a turn-key solution for managing recurring revenue streams.
  • Prevent subscription churn.
  • Keep evolving and upgrading your plan features

When you subscribe to our Publisher Account platform, we take care of the Subscriptions program development and implementation, while you focus on game development. It is our mission to boost your business.

New to Xsolla? Get started by setting up a Publisher Account. 

Already an Xsolla client? Contact your Xsolla Account Manager to take your revenue to the next level.

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