As we reported yesterday, elements of the Trackmania community got quite upset over the announcement of the business model for Trackmania 2020. Much of this centred around an ill-advised intervention from a Ubisoft community manager who tried to argue the game wasn't using a subs model, when it pretty clearly is. Nadeo founder and managing director Florent Castelnérac has now released a statement to explain that yes, this is a form of subscription, and to lay out why that makes sense for the game.
Here are his full thoughts, titled 'Yes it is subscription. And it's not the point', and some extracts:
Here, it was simply to answer various players that were afraid of the "we keep your credit card" syndrom of most subscriptions. Yes it can be called like it, like a season pass could be as well maybe. But that's not the point. In Trackmania, you will keep the 100 official + 365 tracks of the day after your yearly access and it is more related to tradionnal offline game content. The question is that for online games that can benefit from support for years, what is the best model for each game.
And then, there is the 3 years access at the top tier "subscription" if you like. It is 59.99$. A subscription that you pay every 3 years is kind of rare. The idea here is that for most engaged players, we don't want them to have to pay on a regular basis and also for us to engage accordingly to the numbers on more long term. If we support the game for 3 years and they are still there, we hope they will be happy with our work and renew their subscription. We set a top limit to it because most engaged players can sometimes spend a lot and that we want to leave no one out of the track. Of course that amount is a lot, but 20$ per year is still something we believe is ok for one of your top online activity.
Finally, the post started because someone wished for a lifetime access, and it's a very delicate question, since if you give it, it's somehow a lie in a way or another since you can not commit to a clear end of "lifetime" We still operate games since 15 years, so we know how penible it could be. We are even still loading maps made in 2006 in the most recent Stadium edition. So, instead of being virtually commited to "at least 5 more years" of support, we decided to be as honnest as possible by not selling a "lifetime" access. And this is why we think that 3 years is a good delay.
It's perhaps worth pointing out that the story of Trackmania and Castelnérac is a pretty remarkable one, a near twenty-year love affair between game and community that is renewed with each entry. That's why pretty unremarkable things like a subs model cause passionate arguments among the playerbase and, on occasion, can tip over into controversy. Castelnérac's reasoning makes sense, however, and it's hard to argue that Trackmania hasn't consistently delivered value-for-money over its lifetime. Hopefully this puts the brakes on any community grumblings.