It has been accepted by gamers for some time that they must pay to play MMORPGs and the like, but games such as Unreal and Quake have always been freely accessed.
As usual, no one at Infogrames was answering the telephones today to make comment.
How this news will affect the game’s chances of success remains to be seen. Microsoft has pitched its console at a more mature audience (read credit card ownership age) and perhaps this will make subscription gaming more viable as the machine moves forward.
The other issue this raises is the possibility of many more online Xbox games charging on a pay-to-play basis. If every online game goes down this path, gamers will be forced to make a decision as to which game they want to play. What seems more likely is the possibility of Microsoft issuing a blanket Xbox online subscription fee to access all Xbox online games.
We asked Xbox Head of Marketing Richard Teversham to shed light on this. "We currently have over 200 people hard at work making sure that the Xbox will be a success online. The functionality of the overall service must be perfect when it launches. At present we have made no decisions as to which revenue model Xbox online will use. We have discussed a blanket charge, as we have discussed everything, though no decision has yet been made. J Allard is now heading up the online push.”
We’ll bring you the full Xbox online details as soon as we get them.