DC Universe Online: Can a Lex Luthor plot get people to pay for Sony’s new MMO?
Holy MMO, Batman! Sony Online Entertainment sure hopes DC Universe Online — the splashy new massively multiplayer online game thatÂ hit stores todayÂ – wonât share the fate of the caped crusaders’Â legions ofÂ arch-villains overÂ theÂ past few decades.
Fans willing to shell out $59.99 upfront and then $14.99 a month can create their very own superhero and play — on PCs or Playstation 3s — much-loved characters fromÂ Superman to Batman and Wonder Woman, inÂ locales eerily familiar to comic geeks fromÂ MetropolisÂ to Gotham City.
Reuters first reported back in 2008Â about the arrival of theÂ worldâs first licensed MMO comic book game.Â Tuesday’s launch is part ofÂ WarnerÂ Bros’ and parentÂ Time Warner Inc’s major push to fully exploit the DC brands in video games.
The game looks to tap the âtens of millions of action gamers who have never played massive multiplayer games before,â said John Blakely, vice president of development for Sony Online Entertainment, the division of Sony that produced the MMO pioneer EverQuest.
âWhen you log on to that server to Metropolis and thereâs a thousand people in there working with you and against you, thatâs something youâve ever seen before on your action games,” Blakely said.
But,Â Blakely admits: âOur hard pitch is going to be, why should I pay 15 bucks a month for this?â
Blakely believes there is a large portion of people for whom the game is ” really going to click.” But industry watchers are less than convinced it’s going to be a breeze get people, used to paying nothing for Zyngaâs CityVille, to cough up $15 bucks every month.
âGood luck,â says Mike Hickey, Janco Partners analyst. âThat model is increasingly less relevant to the market to day and people are not willing to pay for a game like that.â
WhileÂ the subscription model worked for World of Warcraft, that was six years ago and “back then it was a totally different market,â Hickey says.
Looks like it might yet take some super-heroics to getÂ the gaming worldÂ to jump,Â cash in hand, into the DC universe.