I talked about DCUO's subscription model back in January and my money was always on them going free-to-play within a year. In the IGN article, Sony's John Smedly stated the game cost more than they thought it would to make, and free-to-play was Sony's "preferred business model" from the beginning. It seems to me like Sony launched with subscriptions to get as much money as possible from early adopters, knowing full well they would need to go free-to-play to keep the game alive in the long run. It will be interesting to see how current subscribers react to this news, and whether they think the added perks they get over free players are worth it.
I interviewed DCUO's Senior Producer Wes Yanagi back in June of 2010, before the original subscription model had been announced. When I asked him if other MMOs had moving to a free-to-play model influenced Sony's subscription plans for DCUO, her had this to say:
The most important thing is to build a fun and entertaining game. Without a compelling product capable of attracting an audience, business models are meaningless. If anything, the current landscape has reinforced our first priority of creating a fun experience that exceeds consumer’s expectations.
In then end, I think the more people that end up playing the game, the better the MMO experience will be, so I'm for the move to free-to-play. I will absolutely be checking this game out, and I look forward to catching up with some of the SI crew on the PS3 version of the game.