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Struggling MMO WildStar could drop its subscription model, head to Steam in August

Even though World of Warcraft is having a hard time keeping subscribers these days, it’s widely agreed that ever since that game came along, it has been nearly impossible for any other MMO to thrive on a subscription model.

WildStar launched less than a year ago, and its colorful art style and twitchy, skill-basic combat system had some saying that the game might thrive despite World of Warcraft’s grip on the market. Unfortunately, while critical reception of the game was positive, it suffered from the same plight as nearly every other modern subscription-based MMO.

Now it seems that WildStar might be the latest in a long line of MMOs to drop its subscription. A few weeks ago, the game was pulled from store shelves in Australia, a move that already had some speculating on a shift to free-to-play, and now an entry in the Steam database seems to confirm this.

The entry, visible on SteamDB, lists WildStar — which has not been available on Steam to date — as “Free on Demand,” which is the same billing type used by free-to-play games. At the same time, the license type is listed as “Single Purchase,” which could possibly mean that like Elder Scrolls Online, it is simply dropping its subscription, but players will still need to purchase the base game.

WildStar just released its first major update, called Invasion Nexus, earlier this month, so it seems that publisher NCsoft isn’t ready to simply let the game flame out. The company has already used a similar business model in Guild Wars 2, which is an MMO that requires a one-time purchase.

A post on Reddit seems to confirm that Wildstar is indeed moving to this new business model. If the person behind the post is telling the truth, we’ll see the subscription dropped in August. In the meantime, for a look at the game in its current form, head over to the WildStar website.