The subscription-based MMO is a dying breed, one that would surely be consigned to gaming's museum for extinct business models if not for World of Warcraft. Developer Blizzard persists with asking users for regular monthly payments, a system that has worked — and continues to work — despite slow, but steady user attrition. Still, you have to wonder if a transition to free-to-play is on the cards? Well, wonder no more.
Eurogamer's Wesley Yin-Poole reports that a move to free-to-play is unlikely, according to WoW production director and vice president J Allen Brack. While Yin-Poole suggests adapting the game to the model is "off the table", my interpretation of Brack's statements is that Blizzard isn't ruling it out, it's just not something it wants to do right now:
"We didn't make the game to be free-to-play," production director J Allen Brack said.
"We would have to rework the game pretty significantly in order to make it free-to-play. It's not something we're currently considering".
There are several MMOs that were built for a subscription business model, yet found a way to transition to free-to-play. If Blizzard wanted to make WoW micro-transaction based, I have no doubt it would find a way.