Like war's penchant for fluidity, PlanetSide 2's numerous touch-ups to its membership benefits and its eternal struggle with gameplay balances make for some interesting developer forum posts. In a new report from the front, Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley revealed a few changes in the scorch-marked pipeline, including the removal of the Auraxium currency and the announcement of a specific release date during the upcoming SOE Live keynote on Thursday.
Forgive me for briefly channeling Douglas Adams when I say PlanetSide 2 is big. Sony Online's sprawling MMOFPS is currently in beta, but the legions of Vanu Sovereignty, Terran Republic, and New Conglomerate recruits know how to throw a spectacular war theater. The beta's single playable continent, Indar, represents just the beginning of the bloodsoaked struggles for total domination of Auraxis, according to a status update post penned by Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley.
Forumite Palodin has pointed us to a tweet by SOE president John Smedley explaining that the Planetside 2 beta keys given away by PC Gamer US in April and UK in July will be activated "on Friday by 5pm" - that's today. He presumably means 5pm PST, which is 1am GMT on Saturday.
We currently do not know if all of the keys will go out at once or if there'll be another wave after today. However, if you haven't redeemed your PS2 code yet now is the time to do so. We're currently working through the remaining support e-mails - if you've requested a code, expect it within the next hour or so.
The superhero MMO has been super-punching above its weight since its shift to free to play with news of a massive bounce in player numbers and profits since the shift. Massively spotted Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley tweeting some quite interesting stats. The superhero MMO has seen a "700% increase in daily revenue" since it relaunched earlier this month.
We've already reported on John Smedley's take on subscription-based MMOs. The Sony Online Entertainment president told gamesindustry.biz that they're on the way out: "In my opinion [Star Wars: The Old Republic] is going to be the last large scale MMO to use the traditional subscription business model. Why do I think that? Simply put, the world is moving on from this model and over time people aren't going to accept this method."
Now the Bioware doctors have had a chance to respond. Their upcoming MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, will require subscription costs identical to the already-established World of Warcraft. That's $14.99/£8.99/€12.99 per month.
After revealing that DC Universe Online is transitioning to a free-to-play model, and that Sony Online Entertainment wanted it that way "from day one," SOE President John Smedley now predicts that the future is free. In an editorial for GamesIndustry.biz, Smedley expands a bit more on his thinking, and explains why Star Wars: The Old Republicwill be the last of the big subscription-based MMOs.
"In our cancellation surveys for EverQuest II," Smedley writes, "fully 40 percent of the people that fill them out list subscription fees as one of the primary reasons they quit. Economic times are hard out there and a recurring subscription is something that glares at you from a credit card bill every month."
As big as TOR promises to be, Smedley doesn't think it will reverse the overall trend away from subscriptions toward F2P.