The collectors edition of The Old Republic retailed for over a hundred pounds and people where more than willing to pay this. In fact personally I actually regret not buying it when I had the chance. On top of this people who had just brought this massive box where expected and happy to pay a monthly subscription like the rest of us. Taking away the production costs of a collectors edition Bioware/EA still secured a massive amount of revenue for the game with very little effort.
Because of this if TOR was to have offered a lifetime sub at launch it would have had to have been an offer for people who brought the collectors edition of the game (just on principle) and would most likely have been around £200, so the cost of the game at launch could have been up to £350. This is unreasonable and hence a good reason not to offer it.
Every game I can think of that has offered a lifetime sub has now faded into obscurity (with the exception of LotRO and that one is open for debate) Champions online, Star Trek online, DCUO all now considered less than successful.
I wonder if offering a Lifetime sub is a decision that is made when the publishers of a product are unsure as to its quality and playability a way to ensure at the very least a good starting capital or sudden influx of real life gold when you think your game is not going to be around long enough to earn this money organically through subscription payments.
Is a lifetime sub the sign of a doomed game in the public mind or is it literally a sign of a struggling business?
In the case of the only lifetime sub that I own, FreeRealms. I think its a great move as its player base is the younger gamers who would probably loose interest in it within three months anyway so a lifetime sub means allot of revenue for Sony that they are well aware they would not usually get, even the parents who buy these are aware of this but for the relatively small cost its a fair trade off.
If a game you played suddenly offered lifetime subscriptions would you think it was time to look at a new MMO or would you snap it up as a good investment?