The Secret World Remains A Secret
With it being announced on Tuesday that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be going free to play in the autumn (yes, we’re still getting over the shock of that one), an email arrived in my inbox today inviting me to try out that other big and even newer MMOG, The Secret World, for free this weekend “to celebrate that the game is one month old.”
Yes, that’s one month old.
Now I’ve not played The Secret World beyond clicking through a couple hours during the beta, so I’m in no position to judge the quality of the game at any level (which I understand is quite high and the game distinct from virtually every other MMOG out there – which is a very good thing), but the fact that the marketeers of the game deem a month of existence worth celebrating could be construed as either very worrying or a little bit desperate. It’s a strategy that suggests to me that The Secret World is not nearly doing as well as was hoped. SWTOR at least managed three months before EA instigated a series of free weekends to help tempt people to try the game, which has led to EA’s game going free to play within a year of its release. I’m of course being a little facetious, but at SWTOR’s rate of conversion The Secret World will be free to play before the summer’s out.
Maybe I’m reading more into this than there is. Maybe free weekend trial offers are more prevalent among the dwindling number of subscription games than I’d noticed, although as someone who plays Eve and keeps an eye on Perpetuum, neither game seems to resort to free access very often, if ever.
Then again, when it comes to the increasingly inevitable switch from pure subscription to a freeplay model, Funcom have never shied away from doing whatever was necessary. Anarchy Online, after near-disastrous beginnings, was something of a trailblazing game in that regard and is still pootling along after 11 years. That being the case, there’s an argument to suggest that The Secret World is in good hands.