Funcom's Ragnar Tornquist has said the firm decided to go subscription-based with the Secret World because the developers felt players are willing to pay a monthly fee for content, services, and "the benefits of a growing, living world," than pay for "little things."
Speaking with RPS, Tornquist said charging a subscription fee helps supports the MMO's large team as well as ongoing development.
"We have content plans for a very long time," he said. "We have content that’s going to be coming on a regular, ongoing basis. We have content that’s going to come out pretty soon. It is the only business model that makes sense in terms of giving players this living, breathing world and this constantly upgraded, expanded experience.
"Whether or not that’s the business model that’s going to be around in five years, I can’t say. But it wasn’t right for us to come out and be a free-to-play game, because then we would have to find other ways to support the ongoing content. Whether it would be DLC and charging people for that, or an item store and charging people for that. At any rate, people are going to have to pay more in order to support the ongoing development.
"Of course [having Conan go free-to-play] has taught us a lot. Five years from now, ten years from now, will Secret World be free-to-play? I’m sure of it. But that’s a long time. For the time being, we’re committed to this business model, and as long as people are willing to pay us in order to provide them with expanded content and ongoing content, we’ll keep that business model."
The Secret World launched earlier this week, and while stock prices in the firm fell on the Norwegian Stock Exchange by almost 40%, some are attributing the slide to the resignation of CEO Trond Arne Aas while others claim it's a natural occurrence once a game is released to the market.