Global brand director Chris Lye talks about why Guild Wars 2 will succeed in a growing market.
Q: Will free to play games always require microtransactions to offset the lack of subscriptions?
CL: This certainly appears to be the main alternative to the subscription-based model – but even then there's a huge variety in the types of items provided. I think you're likely to see a lot of interesting experimentation in the area of microtransactions. By the same token I've no doubt there are other business models for MMOs that have yet to arise.
Q: Star Wars Galaxies will be shutting down largely due to the impending release of SWTOR. Will there be any incentive to keep Guild Wars 1 running when the sequel launches?
CL: The only incentive we need is to have an active player base. Guild Wars is a very cost effective game to support and because there is no active cost to maintain both a Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 account. We could see a lot of players keeping both.
Q: Can gamers realistically play more than one MMO at a time?
CL: Absolutely! When you ask that question I think most people think "can gamers realistically play more than one grindy subscription-based MMO at a time?" The answer to that question is probably "No." However, Guild Wars 2 doesn't charge a subscription and our gameplay is built to be accessible and allow players to pop in and out as they choose. Based on that we can happily coexist with other MMOs.
Q: It's suggested Rift has managed to siphon off a bit of WoW's subscription base when it first launched. Do you expect your established brand to do the same?
CL: Obviously our hope is to pull in gamers from all sorts of genres – no doubt some of these players will be from other MMO franchises. Overall though it's our hope that Guild Wars 2 opens the genre to players who wouldn't otherwise play an MMO.