Make Arma series under subscription ?
This may sound a bit provocative, but don't you believe that BIS should somewhat change their business model and make the Arma series somewhat "under subscription" à la World of Warcraft or EVE Online instead of trying to sell standard retail DVD every X years ?
I know there are psychological barriers and technical issues, but let's examine a couple of points :
First BIS is developping the same game since 2001, always refining, adding new features, improving it, patching, debugging etc... We will probably never have a totally different game, just a steady evolution/perfection of the ultimate military sandbox game in a perpetual "work in progress" state.
The series can count on a great community of fans that keep buying multiple copies of the game, playing, modding, supporting the game since 2001. So basically we fanboys already are on subscription, just not knowing it.
With each new generation of the game, the improved quality and complexity of the game makes it harder for modders to offer addons that can rival standard BIS model (islands, vehicles, characters, animations...). Only pros or very dedicated and talented modders with lots of time on their hand (semi-pros) will be able to keep up in the future.
From a business perspective (and for development planning) it's better to have a steady cash flow income instead of irregular sales that can be jeopardized at every new version of the game. With a subscription, BIS would have the resources and incentive to add little by little almost anything. Plus, BIS would control the distribution directly and get a bigger chunk of it.
From a marketing point of view, you don't have to market a totally new game every time and bother with new publishing contracts and PR. Just like WOW or EVE Online, you aknowledge that you are building on the same winning formula and regularly exanding the universe and possibilities, upgrading the graphics etc...
With its online coop campaign concept (quests ?), its huge and complex world (chernarus with its history), and its FPS/RTS/RPG/Persistent world features, Arma looks more and more like a modern military MMORPG.
So, next time (Arma 2 expansion/Arma3 ?) why not aknowledge all this and ask this community for a lower but steady fee (how much is to be discussed) for as long as they want, instead of a lump fee of from time to time ?
Those who eventually get bored won't waste much money, those who keep liking will support the game as long as it needs and as long as they want. In the end, if the game is good BIS would get much more money (see Blizzard revenues) and the users a better game.
The Question is : what if you stop "paying" ? I guess you should still be able to play offline and online with your friends, but you would be denied the access to BIS servers for updates and thus stuck at your current version number and hence only be able to play with people with the same version as your version "grow old".
What's your opinion on this ?