Now we know what WildStar’s business model is, and it’s not any of the options I had predicted. That’s to be expected, but it also means that we have to evaluate it very differently than if it had fallen into a tried-and-true pattern. You don’t know how a new business model will work until you see it in action, and we haven’t seen this in action yet.
Not available at retail! MISB!EVE Online has been offering PLEX as a subscription option for a while now. You can buy PLEX, store them in-game, and trade them for money in the game or use them to increase your subscription time. The exchange rate of real money to the game world is entirely a function of the PLEX value on the open market. At a glance it seems like the same business model that WildStar is using, but there are a couple of key differences.
The reality is that WildStar is a buy-to-play, subscription, and free-to-play title all at the same time, and that’s without even dipping our toes into the muddy water of microtransactions. There’s exactly one item to be bought in the cash shop, and it serves exactly one purpose, but it also opens up a complicated economic interplay that we’ve seen in only one other game. And I don’t think we can just draw on that one game for comparison because they’re just not the same.