Pachter: Online multiplayer is going subscription

Sunday, 25th July 2010 12:20 GMT By Joe Anderson


Michael Pachter has said online multiplayer will become subscription based as publishers looks for ways to make more money out of the consumer.

Speaking on the latest episode of his GameTrailers show Pach Attacks, the Wedbush Morgan analyst said companies such as EA will begin to charge players a monthly fee to play online.

“I think EA will migrate to an online subscription model, so instead of paying $10 for an online pass, I think EA will charge $5 or $10 a month which will give the player the ability to play any of the companies sports games online.”

Pachter then went on to say even if a subscription model does come into play, it won’t affect the profits of EA Sports games.

“You know I think they will be fine if 1-2 million do that [pay for subscription] and they will be fine if other 10-20 million people who play EA Sports games keep buying new games,” said Pachter.

“The moral of the story is game and used game purchasers just have to accept online multiplayer is going subscription. Publishers just can’t afford to give this stuff away for free, its cannibalising new game sales and used game sales.”

Activision is already planning to charge for Modern Warfare 2 according to the analyst, something that was thought to be coming via a leaked video during the week.

Call of Duty developers Infinity Ward and Treyarch debunked the rumour, though

“The idea you can buy Call of Duty and play online forever for free is crazy.. Activision is going to charge for it,” Pachter said firmly.



  1. Superet

    A monthly feel? Sounds sexy.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Thalius

    Monthly fee is the end of the gaming economy.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. PenguinZoot

    Can’t imagine that’ll make Microsoft too happy. I could see that having a huge impact on the “attractiveness” from a consumer perspective of the Xbox Live Gold cash cow.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. SunKing

    In my mind, the idea of an XBL Gold membership is barely worth it. Paying a monthly fee for standard multiplayer on top of XBL Gold? Go fish.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Superet

    It’ll never happen. It can’t happen. It’ll ruin gaming.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. freedoms_stain

    The fact that Pachter has said this makes it highly unlikely it’ll actually happen.

    Anyhoo, he says pubs ‘can’t afford to give away stuff for free’, well, they don’t, certainly not in terms of modern day console multiplayer. I paid for the game, the multiplayer is p2p, there’s nothing there that compels a subscription charge.

    Is stat tracking alone worth a sub charge? Fuck no ladies and gents.

    The entire way console multiplayer works has to change for a sub model to work. I don’t think many people will be that keen on MW2 subs if it remains p2p.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Erthazus

    On PC this shit will never work.

    Look at the Modern Warfare 2. There are MW2 fanboys absolutely. Activision said: No dedicated Servers Fuck you.

    After 3 months we have less than 100000 people playing. Make monthly fee and no one will buy CoD on PC except of kids.

    I don’t know about consoles because there are a lot of stupid FUCKS who pay 15$ for 5 maps. Even PS3 maps were sold like for one million after Xbox 360 version was before Ps3 versions.

    One million maps. So this thing will work for some idiots.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. LOLshock94

    if they make its so u have to pay but ur allowed to play all of them games thats actually not bad

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Badger

    I wish he’d keep quiet. It feels like he’s giving them ideas. Seriously I don’t think it’s a good business idea. It’s going to stop a lot of people playing their games and create anger within the community.

    The one globally pleasing way of making money in the video games industry is simply to MAKE GOOD GAMES.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Crysis

    Microsoft would not allow this, pay 2 play games will fail miserably on the 360 since an sub is already required, tho i can imagine some publishers using the ps3 that way, DC universe online will likely require a monthly fee, in the near future i could imagine some MMOs going to PSN exclusively, MAG has, but has remained free, but it shows that it’s capable of having that many players on a console game

    #10 4 years ago
  11. DeSpiritusBellum

    @6 Exactly right. You can’t just start charging for nothing. It’s hard enough to compel people to subscribe to a regular MMO, and DLC is earning a lot of people a lot of money. Ain’t broke, don’t fix.

    @9 Noone in any serious position listens to some douche with a webcast. He’s just trolling so he can get his name mentioned on sites like this, and sadly it works every time.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. NiceFellow

    It’ll happen for sure. Consider:

    People have proven willing to pay to play online games as a fee over and above their ISP, etc. with Live and now with PSN Plus.

    More recently, MS has you paying to access Facebook, etc. despite them being free via a PC, etc. and many have proven to be happy to do so.

    Activision has shown if the title is popular enough people will pay stupid money to play it (thank you MW2 map packs in particular).

    WoW has shown how much people will happily pay monthly (over and above their ISP, etc) to play a game. Don’t bother with it’s MMO vs FPS or whatever – it’s an online game experience and people pay for it every month.

    We’ve seen only a few mega titles really dominate online playing – Halo 3, MW2, etc. That means instead of buying other games millions of players are sticking to one game for a very long time, reducing the perceived return on the initial cost for the developer (Activision have made this very clear in their comments) and arguably cannibilize a fair bit of potential spending on other titles.

    DLC in general has also shown how much people will pay for content, not to mention people paying just to get virtual bits and bobs in Home, etc. which is pretty crazy when you think about it.

    We have a generation comfortable with buying virtual content and digital content in general.

    Conclusion – millions would pay to play MW2 and the like via a subscription. The internet would see a lot of moaning and bitching, like with the cost of the Map Packs, but it won’t matter because millions will pay and that will seal the deal.

    So, it’s coming for sure, unless the industry switches somehow before it can – but I doubt it. It won’t be for every title, but for something like MW2 to be honest Activision would be mad not to charge a subscription because people would pay and they’d make more revenue and profits of the same development cost.

    And it’s all our own fault – not the developers. We’ve set the trends with our purchasing habits and shown that there are more than enough people willing to pay way more over the lifetime of a game they really like online than the initial cost.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Helliii505

    Game industry is dead, this guy gives these ideas to companies. looks like he has something to gain from it, been pushing this idea for a while now.

    Im a gamer at heart but I will never ever support this type of business model which takes gamers for granted. I wont even bother to buy or play games any more if this happens.

    Cost of one game to the consumer ends upto £100, which is pure shame.

    #13 4 years ago

    it’s final all us fellow gamers must join together unite and destroy activision!!! before this online subscription fee becomes a trend in all online games….im being serious.

    #14 4 years ago

    really really really really really REALLY f-ing serious 2012 is not the end of mankind IT’S THE END OF THE GAMING INDUSTRY!!!

    #15 4 years ago
  16. OlderGamer

    Something is being overlooked.

    What happens if MS and Sony drop their premium sub fees in favor of getting in on a cut and % of said pruposed online game fees?

    Lets say someone can standardize this type of thing. Each game launches with a 3/5usd dlc code that enables online play. Then MS and Sony get a buck or so from each code sold.

    Might work out that the xbl fees get shifted from the yearly fee to being based on each online code sold.

    Makes sense. But we all know that companies don’t often work together. We also know that no one will want to lose revenue they already have(for example MS and Sony would agree to the axtra fees but wouldn’t exchange the current online subs for a new system. they would just do it in addition to it.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. OlderGamer

    As far as actualy being worth it, I don’t think that any of teh current console games in their current form are worth the fees.

    World of Warcraft is a MMORPG, and thus is in a different situation. It runs on servers. Has new tweaks and content being added in nearly around the clock. Not to mention glitches/bugs being fixed to counter hacker/cheaters/griefers being taken care of. Also the content is massive. If you never played before you couldn’t max out your toon(just one) in less then 6months time.

    Wow is an game in a open world enviroment w/12 million people playing. Because if that it becomes a target and needs constant maintenace and monitering.

    Anyone, and I mean no disrespect to anyone, that groups wow and console gamers together doesn’t understand what a MMORPG is.

    And it is not just wow, its EQII(imo the best building/char developing MMORPG out there – but I play wow w/my friends and family), Aion, hell even EQone is still going strong after 17 expansions, and many more.

    A side not if console games do all go oMP fees, i will only play on a PC, and if I have to pay to play at all, I will only be playing something like a MMORPG. At least you get a lot of game for the price.

    That is not to say hardcore FPS fans won’t get their value out of their fees/game time spent. But I think that as it stands right now MW2/BFBC2/MoH/Halo/Resistance/Mag/you name it is lacking in content and would need to step up their offerings to entice enough gamers to pay for them. A steady flow of free new maps, new classes, new weapons, outfits etc. But the trouble is that said companies behind said games all see that stuff as DLC revenue.

    In the end we already pay 60+/usd a game. Toss in DLC and the price gets higher. We pay for broadband ISPs. Many of us pay for XBL/PSN+. There is a limit to how much a gamer can pay and is willing to pay.

    One last thought.

    Wow again.

    Only one game can do what it does. One game has the bulk of the MMORPG audiance. While EQII is still going it feels empty and void of players. Dungeons and Dragons Online has gone Free 2 Play. Lord of the rings is going F2P. A whole host of MMORPGs are either F2P or looking at it.


    Because ina system of pay per play very few games will be able to rise to the top. Maybe you own a xb360 and love BFBC2, but all of your friends pay to play Halo. Or you own a PS3 and like Mag but your friends play MW3. Your going to gravitate to the game you can play with your friends on. And your not likly going to pay to play two FPS games. I only play one MMORPG at a time.

    What i am saying is that alot of games would crumble if it went online fees. Because they couldn’t compete. However if some games didn’t charge a fee … those games might sell better.

    In the end the games industry and patcher needs to keep in mind that we are in a massive global rescesion. Second only to the great depresion. Playing video games is a hobby, a luxury and an extra. Bleed your consumer base dry and your going to end up shooting yourself in the foot. Want more profit, stop making games that cost so damn much to develop.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Erthazus

    OG speaks the absolute truth. Well done sir.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. AbracadaverAK

    Gah! I really wish people would stop writing up Pachter’s bullshit.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. Pelt Hunter

    Talk about bleeding consumers dry. As if $63.50 a pop isnt enough. If they seriously enact any of Pachters subscription assumption, I will game PC only. Then again if Pach is right about something the sky might fall. Someone get me his job, make a far fetched guess, be wrong 95% of the time and still get your own show and get paid.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. freedoms_stain

    @12, you’re right, a lot of people are willing to pay for the things you mentioned, however it’s a far cry from a mandatory regular subscription fee.

    I also think you can’t discount the significant population of gamers who don’t play the same games online continuously, a game that you have to pay extra to play online is not going to be an attractive purchase.

    This could actually end up backfiring on the pubs quite badly. People paying a sub fee for anything tend to develop a “getting my monies worth” mentality, so if you ARE paying a sub fee to play a particular game I reckon you’re less likely to buy as many other games as they’re eating into the time you could be playing your subbed game. So someone who buys like a game a month might drop down to one every other, thus Acti might actually end up losing cash if they then fail to sell other new titles at the same rate they used to because half their consumer base are “getting their monies worth” out of Modern Warfare 7 (due out in 2012 no doubt).

    #21 4 years ago
  22. OlderGamer

    Good call Freedoms_stain.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. TerryWogan

    This is the same news from the same complete waste of space cunt as last week. Why are we getting it again?

    #23 4 years ago
  24. NoxNoctisUmbra

    with WOW game, I am gladly to pay monthly fee because its just so much features for it. for xbox live i wont pay because PS3 can do the same for free with all the same specs and i can play with friends for free as well. also ps3 xobx games should be always free since the games they offer are not as complex as MMOs. call of duty is not that complex, so why whould i pay 5 or 10 dollars a month to play it? or any other games from diffrent companies.. i buy a game every month, i have tons of them, and everyday i play something diffrent, and i am not willing to pay 5 bucks per game company to play thir simple online game, in the end it will cost players 50 bucks a month to play many games online.

    #24 4 years ago
  25. Hunam

    Microsoft wouldn’t allow it at all anyway. Same reason why no MMO’s turn up on the box anymore.

    #25 4 years ago
  26. NiceFellow

    @21 – that’s what’s driving the thinking though. They’re not expecting people who play lots of games and flit around to pony up for a sub, they’re intending it for the people who are already playing one or two games almost exclusively.

    I agree with your point but clearly Activision in particular in thinking that they already have the equivilent of gamers not buying many games and playing one game almost all the time and they’re not getting a sub on that level of devotion.

    Now the sub may well not look like the usual WoW sub. For something like MW2 is might just get you additional features, first access to DLC, extra weapons, more maps only available to subscribers, etc.

    It’s very, very easy, with online games like MW2 moving far beyond everyone is the same to having leveling systems, perks, etc. to monitize it and give the sub payer the sense they’re getting their money’s worth.

    I’m not advocating it – I don’t like the idea at all as a consumer.

    But when people pay $60 for a game then around $15 for a few more maps you know they’d pay a sub if they felt they were getting some advantage in game or other value.

    #26 4 years ago
  27. rainer

    Groan… I wish VG247 would stop stalking his every word, see how he changed his mind from first Activision to now EA, what next Ubisoft or THQ until one publisher does it then Patcher will crow that he got it right.

    Please, please, please stop reporting this clown’s guesses.

    #27 4 years ago
  28. OlderGamer

    If a OMP sub for CoD was 10usd/month. And that sub landed the payer 2 new maps each month. There is little difference, in the end, then a 60usd game that does charge 45usd for 15 maps. Toss in a “leveling up”/”Unlocking” system and we might have something. Call it a VIP players pass…

    Of course it wouldn’t be smart to exclude buyers from your game, so they could FreePlay it online, but their level cap/unlocks should be greatly restricted. Also they should only be able to use new maps after a set amount of time goes by, if ever.

    I hate to say it, but I see this happening. That or a smallish DLC “Code” that unlocks oMP. A one time purchase, ties to a piece of hardware or account.

    Whatever happens rest assurd that Pachter isn’t the only person to think of this type of thing – he didn’t plant the idea in anyones head. And, when something is put into practice, its only function is to part you and your money.

    #28 4 years ago
  29. DeSpiritusBellum

    @21 Not to mention the fact that the competition could significantly boost their profile, by offering the same sort of products without a subscription.

    I’m seeing a lot of devious conspiracy theories here, but very little in terms of promising business models. When you’re already charging between 5 and 15 euro for small ammounts of content, and selling it to a very large part of your install base, why would you ruin that?

    The whole subscription scare sounds a lot like chicken little to me, I think subscription based models like cloud gaming is more likely to be something that a lot of people would try to develop further.

    It’s worth noting in the case of MW2, that no one has made a profitable subscription FPS yet. Planetside was a grand tactical game in a persistent world, which would most likely ruin a lot of the great things about MW2.

    #29 4 years ago
  30. easyian

    Well if they industry tries to move to subscription fee for each separate title i think Microsoft will lose millions because then its negates the point of paying for an Xbox Live Gold account. So i am sure Microsoft will do everything it can to prevent such stupidity from happening.

    #30 4 years ago
  31. IL DUCE

    This retard has been wrong before and is wrong now…the only thing he says that ends up true is probably shit that is leaked to him under the table so he can look like he actually knows something…and yeah I agree with 30, we pay $50 a year unlike the bums on PSN that pay completely for free even though there is playstation plus which basically offers no benefits and is a useless service…

    #31 4 years ago
  32. mojo

    I fail to see for what i shall pay..
    for a rubbsih p2p multiplayer?
    its going to snow in hell before u see me paying for no value.

    #32 4 years ago

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