Valve Software said on Thursday that game subscription plans have been added to Steam. Customers can now sign-up for, manage, cancel or renew game subscription plans at any time, online directly through Steam. This should keep credit card numbers out of databases installed at the publisher or game's dedicated websites.
The first PC game to utilize this new Subscription Plans feature is Darkfall Unholy Wars, a real-time PvP sandbox MMORPG where players form clans and "battle for dominance across the seamless, zoneless, uninstanced open fantasy world of Agon." The game costs $39.95 up-front and an additional $14.95 every thirty days.
To buy a subscription Plan, customers can head to the game's Steam listing and select a Plan. Once it's added to the cart, the customer's credit card will automatically be charged throughout the duration of the subscription. Valve states that subscriptions cannot be frozen, but they can be cancelled at any time via Account Details on Steam. The company also does not offer partial refunds for unused subscription time.
"Will reactivating my Subscription give me access to my old game history?" asks the FAQ. "This depends on the game. In some cases, your game data will automatically be re-linked to your Steam account. If this has not happened, you will need to contact the publisher of the game and have them re-initiate your previous game account and link it to your Steam account."
Prior to the launch of Steam's Subscription Plans service, publishers handled subscription fees within the game's client or through a related website. This method simply keeps the customer on the Steam platform, and makes monthly payments more convenient and secure. Additional subscription-based games will be supported at a later date, Valve said.
Valve began adding free-to-play games on Steam back in June 2011, many of which offer subscription-based models for premium content. Spiral Knights, Forsaken Worlds, Champions Online: Free for All, Global Agenda: Free Agent, and Alliance of Valliant Arms were the first five to appear, but the library has expanded to bigger players like Star Trek Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online, The Secret World, SyFy's Defiance and loads more.