SOE craft up new software bundle in quest for new subscribers

Sony Online News

In a desperate bid to lure in more punters, Sony Online Entertainment have assembled an affordable DVD based software bundle called the Station Access Collection that contains all their current online game products. Keep reading to see if we think this is a good deal...

Sony Online Entertainment has announced the Station Access Collection, a PC DVD-ROM anthology that bundles retail versions of all of the games currently supported for PC and run by SOE, apparently intended to promote their Station Access Pass subscription bundle.

The Station Access Collection consists of EverQuest Evolution, EverQuest II, The Matrix Online, PlanetSide Aftershock, and Star Wars Galaxies.

The collection is supposed to be available at retail on March 14th. It includes 30-day trials for new players of each of the five games, and SOE is evidently hoping that customers will sign up for its Station Access Pass bundle.

With Sony also giving away EverQuest2 for free on FilePlanet, you might wonder why you should pay anything at all to play their games, particularly when you consider that you still have to pay a monthly subscription and buy a slew of expensive expansions.

The Station Access Pass allows the eager customer to play on all of the Sony Online games for a combined single monthly subscription of $21.99. This is certainly a bargain if you are currently playing three or more Sony games, and still a saving if you play just two. The best value is achieved if your plan is simply to dream of playing all the Sony games, subscribing pointlessly to them for years without actually playing. There are probably enough people doing this to keep Sony in business for a few more years yet.

The combined subscription deal was often predicted as a business move for Sony, and was frequently portrayed as something of a seedy tactic. Everybody knows that a gamer only has time to play a single online game properly, with time spent on other games eating into time they could have spent on their favorite. By getting people to pay more for a combined subscription, Sony would effectively get more money from a single customer at the same expense to themselves.

With Sony Online Entertainment suffering a fall in income from their various games, it is time for desperate measures. They need to hook more people into their games before they get addicted to the rival World of Warcraft or City of Heroes. The cost of entry to their games was always steep, with a player needing to buy multiple expansions. Sony may accidentally give the impression that all the expansion data comes with this package, but it's unlikely it would fit on a single DVD, even if they wanted it to.

With the Sony Online RPGs offering limited variety, it's probably still a better deal to buy into a single title and pay a single, ordinary subscription. However, for the butterfly gamer, this new deal does offer an opportunity to try out the various Sony products cheaply, and then cancel before the 30 day trial is up. Or you could just wait until the next free offer on FilePlanet and try them all one by one.