An interesting trend in gaming at the moment, is the simultaneous rise and fall of subscription based services. MMO’s using that business model are disappearing or converting over to the free to play model, but companies offering gaming packages as part of a monthly charge are growing. Microsoft’s Xbox Live paid-for accounts are continuing on the Xbox One console and Sony has introduced a fee for its online service, along with PlayStation Plus; and now Virgin gaming is getting in on the action too.
However. Virgin isn’t giving you an instant game collection, free games each month, or letting you access its online multiplayer; no. Virgin is looking to charge you $5 a month, for its Esports tournaments. PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers who sign up, will be able to compete in games like FIFA, Madden, NBA, NHL and Halo, for prizes, without the need to pay an entrance fee – you’re already covered by the subscription charge.
With the new scheme you’re guaranteed entry – if you want – to as many as 33 different leaderboards, with the top 200 gamers each month being given a prize. These will be made up of $100,000 worth of products and gifts.
Wim Stocks, Virgin Gaming’s executive VP, explained the experience to Venturebeat, saying that he believed the initial sign up fees for tournaments on Xbox Live and similar, were keeping entrant numbers down. If people could just pay for it every month and join in as and when they feel like it, more would get involved.
“This takes away the small pain of giving up a share of the proceeds every time a players plays a match,” Stocks said. “That fee was discouraging people from playing more tournaments. This made a lot of sense. We expect broad participation among all skill levels.”
On top of this though, Virgin is also letting players set up their own tournaments and leagues, with an invite system for friends and family. You can even set a wager system outside of the normal subscription, so if you want your friends to throw a fiver in the pot you can do, even controlling the winnings percentages.
If you want to give the service a try, Virgin is currently offering 30 days for free to Virgin Gaming users.
KitGuru Says: What do you guys think of this idea? Would you enter more Virgin tournaments if you didn’t have to add a few more dollars to your account just to join?