The Tradeoff Of Buying A Lifetime Subscription

There are numerous perks to buying a lifetime subscription to games that offer them, such as Champions Online, LotRO or STO.  Chief among them is saving money.  Dropping the hassle of repeated billing is a small, but very convenient bonus. One lump sum, and forget it. In the process, you transform your chosen entertainment venue from a rental unit to a lavish possession.  You’ve got the keys.  You can come and go as often as you like, whenever you like.  To top it off, most companies give additional perks when you sign on.  Titles, early access, beta preference, in-game items (useful and frivolous), the works.

It’s only fair that you’re showered with gifts.  After all, by becoming a lifetime subscriber, you’re giving the developer a significant amount of money to continue the world.  At the same time, you’re removing your ability to hit the developer where it hurts — the purse.  You can’t rage quit.  You can’t threaten to unsubscribe.  The company has you.  You’re committed.  Your bark loses its bite.

The lifetime subscriber base could be ignored for this reason.  They gave up their power for a (possible) savings and a round of perks.  Should a developer chose to ignore the early adopters, the only option the lifers have is to community up.  They would need to rally troops behind their cause.  Or tell those subscriber friends to do the biting on their behalf, because that’s the only pull the crowd has left.

I know it isn’t likely that a developer would tell its lifetime subscribers to shove off.  It’s just an interesting predicament, and one that should be thought about before making the several-hundred-dollar leap.  In reality, losing the bite isn’t given much consideration.

And let’s not forget that alternative issue with a lifetime subscription.  Two words – Hellgate: London – the utter failure to run a successful game.  It’s prompt closing and the multitude of lifetime subscribers who got screwed needs no explanation.

Lifetime subscriptions are enticing for a reason.  We love our loots, even pointless stuff, and are easily swayed by the chance to save money.  But how many of us stick with a game for the two years it would take to break even?  Moreover, are we willing to give up our ability to sway a developer for the keys to a house we’d have no control over?


  1. Hmm, it’s a hard pressed choice. I’ve tried several other MMO’s and None have griped me as much as Warcraft.

    If I could, I’d defiantly buy a lifetime subscription to Wow if I could, but others are best off tested before tried. Which is hard atm, because I can’t seem to get the Global agenda demo to work for some unknown reason. -_-

  2. I’m a lifetime subscriber of LOTRO. When the game first was being tested and they released the option, I liked the way the game played and look and figured I would be playing it in the next few years, given the option. Luckily, with LOTRO hitting it’s third year, I’ve now more than paid for my subscription, but it’s not something I’d do for just any game.

    Blizzard seems pretty smart for not having lifetime subscription but then, at the time, I don’t think there was much precident for it. Imagine how much money some of us would have saved after 5 or 6 years with the game if we had only to pay $200 to play forever. Man. But the lifetime sub totally works for smaller games because it gives people a reason to keep playing and telling their friends about the game.

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