swgdance.jpg For whatever reason, sometimes Paul Hyman's game columns for the Hollywood Reporter get a little lost in the shuffle, and this excellent pre-Christmas article on new business models for MMOGs is another comprehensive piece from the veteran author (who also writes for GameSetWatch sister publication Game Developer magazine regularly.)

In particular, Hyman covers Chinese company Shanda's shift from subscription to 'free to play, pay for items' on its older MMOs, with Shanda's Donglei Zhou commenting: "Instead of hanging around and waiting for these older games to lose more and more users, we proactively changed the revenue model and, as a result, expect the user base to pick up again as we attract users away from the competition."

In addition, SOE's John Smedley talks about the unspecified Western online game his company plans to launch in the near future using the same model, commenting: "The goal here is to just give the game away, invite the gamers in, and get them playing... And then, as they get further and further into the game, start saying things like, 'Hey, here's something you can buy if you'd like. Interested?"

So... "I heard shoving is worse than pushing, But I'd rather know a shover than a pusher, 'Cos a pusher's a jerk"? OK, OK, we'll try not to quote De La Soul again in an MMO-related post.