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Reader Comments (15)

Posted: Mar 9th 2010 4:49PM AlamoeJones said

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Good first column, Beau.

I am not a fan of putting a time limit on anything, least of all a game someone expects me to up and pay for when the time is up. What are they hiding???? haha

Posted: Mar 9th 2010 5:22PM (Unverified) said

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Were you focused solely on "new generation" games? It might have been worthwhile to hat-tip Anarchy Online, since they were the first "AAA" MMO to go FTP. There's also Dungeons and Dragons Online, which has a fairly high production quality.

Posted: Mar 9th 2010 5:26PM Beau Hindman said

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Well, there are a ton of MMOs that I could have given a little tip to, but I decided to go with these because of their successes.

DDO is not really a "freemium" game, but rather a cash-shop based game. But, I have not played til max level but from what I understand you can get there without having to pay to get through the "rope." Correct me if I am wrong, though. (I have a long games list to conquer! lol)

Beau
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Posted: Mar 9th 2010 6:31PM (Unverified) said

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DDO is a cash shop/freemium hybrid. You can get to the max level without paying a sub just by buying adventure packs (or sticking to the free content), or you can forgo adventure pack purchases by subbing and unlocking all the content.

Posted: Mar 9th 2010 6:36PM karnisov said

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even though Free Realms has 9 million accounts, i seriously doubt even half of those are active.

Posted: Mar 9th 2010 6:42PM Beau Hindman said

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Even by your account, that would still be 4.5 million active accounts. Even taking away those that don't pay anything, you still have a lot of money being made. A lot. The general rule in the FTP market is that " the few pay for the many."

In other words, the players that do pay can pay enough to make the profits. Understand that I am not claiming that they have the same sub strength as WoW. I am claiming that freemium games do very, very good, at least as well as many of the "AAA" standard MMOs in the US, if not better.

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Posted: Mar 9th 2010 6:44PM Gaugamela said

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Actually Beau, DDO is basically like you described these games. It is a freemium game. Yes it has a cash shop but it mostly gives you the option to buy dungeons/race/classes and some other stuff.

However, it has a subscription option that gives you access to all the content in the game plus 500 Turbine Points to spend in the cash shop every month.
Dungeon and Dragons Online basically follows the same model as Wizard 101 and Fusion Fall.
IMO, this "velvet rope" (as you call it - like it by the way) model is the best way of introducing free-to-play games in the Western market but always giving a subscription option to players instead of doing like Allods did for example (i really got burned with their cash shop and knowing what's in store in the next patches).
I would even like to see some older MMOs following this model and maybe some of the new MMOs coming out following this route.
If Black Prophecy follows this free-to-play model i might still give it a shot.

Nice article to get yourself introduced to the Masssively followers. :)
At least you didn't get all preachy claiming cash shops and the free to play being the best thing since sliced bread and actually presented decent examples of freemiums that did the cash-shop thing in a correct manner.

I would like to ask you to indicate a couple more of these games since none of those you introduced interests me that much. And ideally do a "Coose-my-Adventure" type of article playing through some of these games and showing them to your readers.

Posted: Mar 9th 2010 6:47PM Beau Hindman said

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That's a good idea, Pedro. Maybe I'll do something like that! :)
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Posted: Mar 9th 2010 7:08PM Gaugamela said

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I would like to just make it more clear on why this is such a good model in my mind compared with cash shop free-to-plays: instead of having the dev team trying to force you to spend (if you belong to the minority that wants to pay) large amounts of money, they try to guide you to subscribe to the game.

This actually limits the amount of money you spend in the game to "stay competitive" and creates an equal playing field for everyone while allowing the devs to actually work in fixing a game's issues instead of thinking of new and retarded ways to rip money off the players and destroying their own game in the process (again see Allods).

I would have loved if Allods Online followed this model instead of the model tthey are using. I actually was hoping for a model like this when i first entered closed Beta.

Posted: Mar 9th 2010 7:03PM karnisov said

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puzzle pirates is a good free to play one, as long as you make sure you're on a "dubloon" server. you can literally do anything in that game without spending a dime if you are so inclined.

Posted: Mar 10th 2010 1:23AM Bhima said

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If you do a "Choose My Adventure" for F2P games, I'd vote for Dungeon Fighter Online. You can literally do everything in the game without spending a dime and its a pretty damn fun brawl-fest.

Posted: Mar 10th 2010 3:06AM Unverfied B said

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"Free-to-play is a very different model from retail boxes, WoW may be an exception to this, but you come out and day 1, you get all these sales. And that is effectively the highest number users you're going to have, because the next day, you start losing and you bleed and you bleed and you bleed and, eventually, you put an expansion pack out and then hope that pops up a whole new curve like the last one, only a little higher or at least equal to it."

This are simply lies. It may be true for overhyped and shitty game released in the last few years, but loot at charts for any older MMO (UO, EQ1/2, LA1/2, FFXI, etc.) and you'll see that they had a steady increase of subscribers for a long time after release.

Posted: Mar 10th 2010 3:33AM J Brad Hicks said

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You know, I'm very uncomfortable describing either Warhammer Online or FreeRealms as "free" anything. Maybe if the metaphorical "velvet rope" were drawn somewhere else, maybe. But in both games, the velvet rope is, for all practical purposes, only barely the other side of the tutorial. Sure, you can take as long as you want: but you run completely out of things to do after at most two evenings. If you want to play 3 hours of the game on your birthday this year, and play another 3 hours next year on your birthday, the intervening year may have been "free," but it doesn't change the fact that you ran out of content in 6 hours.

Neither of these games qualify as anything even vaguely resembling free to play, they shouldn't even be described using any term that could be confused with free to play. They're unlimited free trial games. Period.

Posted: Mar 10th 2010 9:07AM Beau Hindman said

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Well, whatever the definition (by the way, I describe the above mentioned games as unlimited free trials in the article) it might be important to come to a conclusion on what it means.

After all, someone might want to know how the game treats trials or limited time before they get into the game, or they might hesitate recommending the game to their friends until they know the rules of the "trial."

I think it is safe to say that freemium is an unlimited free trial (how much content is accessed is variable) with the option to buy into the rest of the game. The lack of time limit is the most important thing, I think, rather than the amount of content that is accessed.

Beau
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Posted: Mar 10th 2010 6:10AM Dblade said

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I think the terminology is getting hard to differentiate now. My take is that once you introduce game affecting microtransactions, it's not a "freemium" game any more. Global Agenda is a pure freemium game: you can play base PvE, then convert to a subscription if you want more.

If you have a sub and also optional services to buy content, I can't count it as that. If I remember right Beau you are a Mabinogi player, and that's my example of what freemium isn't.


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