Blizzard is thinking hard about nontraditional business models.
In South Korea, the company plans to offer both StarCraft II
and World of Warcraft
under a combined subscription-based payment plan, while World of Warcraft
's current lead designer has publicly pondered the still-theoretical notion of dropping the MMO's monthly fee at some point in the future.
During a recent press event in Seoul, Blizzard said that Korean World of Warcraft
subscribers would have free access to StarCraft II
as long as their WoW
subscriptions are active. The company will offer this dual-game pass for 9,990 won (about $8) a month, or 2,000 won (about $1.65) for a day. The game will still be offered as a standalone no-subscription box as well, as in the West.
Blizzard likely instituted the shared subscription model to drive Korean interest in World of Warcraft
more than in StarCraft II
is the company's biggest game worldwide, the StarCraft
series holds that honor in South Korea, and Blizzard may be hoping that players who are already sold on StarCraft II
will take advantage of this deal to try out the company's MMO.
And in the longer term, Blizzard says it is open to experimenting with World of Warcraft
's subscription model or even dropping it as a mandatory payment plan, as fellow MMO developer Turbine has done with its Lord of the Rings Online
and Dungeons & Dragons Online
"At some point, it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee," said lead designer Tom Chilton in a PC Gamer interview
Chilton said that such a drastic move could arise in the future as a response to external or even internal competition in the MMO space; Blizzard is known to be developing another massively multiplayer game, although no details on its setting or gameplay have been released.
"If another game comes along and blows us away it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee," he said, "or even further down the line, when we have another MMO out."