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Reader Comments (64)

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:53PM (Unverified) said

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I think the top of the line MMOs will maintain a subscription-cashstore format. Very few of the lesser MMOs will maintain a subscript format.

Most lesser MMOs will end up being F2P-cashstore or F2P-sub hybrids.


Subscription dominance in the genre is going away, but not completely.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:55PM darrenkitlor said

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@DarkStryke

LOTRO was more critically praised than all other MMOs but WoW, they even had good subscription numbers up until their conversion.

Do you really think that it was because "LotRO sucked" that they went F2P or because it was more profitable to go that route?If so, can you explain why F2P made more business sense to them (and has worked so far)?

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:00PM (Unverified) said

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It isn't about just being profitable. Though that is likely some of the motivation at some places.

F2P-related-formats are more about a better financial point/fit for the company and player base in alot of games.
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Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:00PM (Unverified) said

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It isn't about just being profitable. Though that is likely some of the motivation at some places.

F2P-related-formats are more about a better financial point/fit for the company and player base in alot of games.
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Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:58PM Boruk said

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Pretty soon Keen will be on here ranting about how you better not make him not have to pay to play a game because no game that has a F2P option is a good MMO

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:03PM Boruk said

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I think Lotro has the right idea at the right time (if not fully planned right as there is still ways to improve it.)

Giving people a way to play a game even if they are down on their luck and can't currently afford a subscription works. there are tons of people I know that never wanted to get tied to a MMO due to the price, but now play Lotro because they really don't have to pay for things until they absolutely need to.

I'd love to see a MMO improve on it and give people more options with this and may this really work.

And for those that say that only MMO's that suck go F2P, you really have no clue what you are talking about.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:07PM Xilmar said

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If the subscription era will end, it shouldn't be a time of sadness. things come and go and in an industry where things evolve with such a fast rate, this should be expected.

But honestly the spin of the article is false. Yes, subscriptions fell by 7%, a small number considering the economy and the lack of new ideas in MMOs in the past 2 years. I mean the only MMO that has constantly been coming up with completely new mechanics is EVE (constant sub numbers confirming). sure each has a twist, but it's the same old thing with a new paint job and a sticker.

In my opinion F2P and subs are two complimentary business models. i play both F2P and sub MMOs, and it's great. the subscription ones involve a long term commitment and progress, while F2P are more of a in and out kind of thing (like shooters or racing games). They both have their strengths and weaknesses.

BUT the most important issue is commitment. we're seeing mmos turn into something casual, so the F2P market will continue to boom for the next few years. Those are mainly shallow and semi casual gamers who would have not played a sub MMO anyway. And as long as we have dev studios commited to making the best game they can possibly make, people will gladly pay 15 euros/bucks a month for high quality and dedication.

The only way subscriptions will stop is if the game companies will be interested in profit over quality. It's in the devs' hangs, not in the F2P model, so proper games will not lose their subscribers.

PS. one mmo i play is eve...it's an awesome game, new stuff all the time, and so on. but i got my friends to play it aswell because CCP are the most dedicated devs out there and there is no doubt that EVE will be around at least 5 years, long after wow, lotro, war, aoc will be long gone. Because those nerds care about making a great game for great gamers, not buying 10 yachts each month.

tl;dr sky not falling, F2P is for subscriptions what shooters are for RPGs. similar, but independent

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:10PM (Unverified) said

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From this customer's perspective, it is actually increasingly justifiable to spend $10-$15 a month for an 'all you can eat' subscription than be nickle-and-dime'd to death by microtransactions. For example, since LOTRO F2P came out, I'm spending on average $35 a month to buy Turbine Points.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:28PM KvanCetre said

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I'd like to know what the average player is spending. When I saw I could temporarily rent mounts I decided against playing much further. I didn't plan on playing frequently enough to justify losing my rental after a week...especially if I only used it for two to four hours in that period
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Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:51PM (Unverified) said

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I've spent a total of $13 on TP since Lotro came out and have enough content to get to level 50. Supposedly they are dividing up the Moria expansion into quest packs as well which means even more options instead of one big money dump on the expansion as a whole.

If you research how to get the most TP back from TP spent you will end up unlocking a lot of the game with only a moderate amount of grinding. I guess turbine figures some folks will do this but they still got $13 from me they wouldn't have if the subscription model was still in place.

I think it is more about getting a little money from a lot of people rather than a lot of money from a small subscription base. Turbine plays both sides and I think it just works.

For those who hold WoW up to some high standard... why does it have a cash shop then?
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Posted: Nov 10th 2010 3:06PM KvanCetre said

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@Breltar

Minipets and a mount for all characters isn't nearly the same as renting a mount for a few days or getting bonus xp for a limited time or health potions... Etc. The difference is wow gives you cosmetic items only.
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Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:16PM dudes said

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If F2P MMO's shamelessly nickel and dime players then I predict the death of MMO's, not just subscription based ones or subscription based ones with a cash store but a dying fad of the whole genre.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:17PM KvanCetre said

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In my experience, games made as f2p from the beginning are usually fun for less time than it takes me to download and install it.
I found both lotro and CO to be fun for about a month(having purchased both before they were free) but neither really felt like a game I would pay to play every month.
As long as companies produce a game worth my money, I'll gladly fork it over.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:20PM eNTi said

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i sincerely and with all my heart HATE micro payments.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:26PM Sh0ju said

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If ArenaNet are able to pull out a successful MMO with Guild Wars 2, and their continuing Buy2Play model, it is going to be pretty bloody hard for past and future game developers to justify a subscription based revenue model. Players are going to start asking "If Guild Wars 2 can do it and be successful, then why do we have to pay for [insert game here].

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:28PM Ocho said

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The subscription model is a deal... if you only play one game. I mean, sure... if thats the only game you play, $15/month is a bargain.

However, I'm of the crowd that is good at math, can't afford to spend all my time playing games, and likes the option of playing many different games. So this is where F2P gives me these great options. I'm still not hesitant to throw a few bucks at a great game if I think it deserves it. So I switch between Guild Wars, LotRO, and any other game I happen to have the craving to play, all without feeling like playing another game is wasting money. And come on... I'm sure there are those out there that would spend more in the cash shop than a monthly sub... but really, I'm referring to intelligent gamers.

As a previous subscriber, I've now spent $20 on Turbine Points for LotRO since its gone F2P... and thats literally all I've spent on the game so far for 3 months essentially unrestricted. $7/month? I like that a lot more. If I come across a barrier I need to spend a few bucks for... no problem. Still won't put me above $15/month. Then I've been making headway in Guild Wars because thats not a sub game and I don't feel bad about switching between the two... by playing GW, I'm not wasting money by not playing LotRO. It will still be there, and everything I purchased, when I go back to it. Same thing for playing any other game or just watching a movie, watching TV, going out to the bar, etc.

So yeah, if all you do is play one game and then feel like you're playing it enough to get your money's worth... then sure, $15/month is worth it. In my opinion, and my playstyle... it really isn't, even if it takes me very little time to make that money, its still not worth it.

(Of course, I also feel the same way about TV... I don't watch a lot of TV, so spending the money for cable is rediculous to me. I'll keep my monthly necessities, thank you... broadband internet and my smartphone. Really, who needs more than that?)

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:28PM cray said

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There seems to be a huge misconception that if it's not subscription-based then they are nickel & dime players left and right.

Not true at all.

There are SOME games that nickel & dime you, but there are a LOT of games that don't. Guild Wars is probably the most notable game that doesn't force you to buy anything other than the game itself.

Good news is that Guild Wars 2 will likely follow the same economically-friendly model.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:44PM Irem said

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I am not a fan of microtransactions (understatement of the year), but I like what ArenaNet has done with GW. I've even bought a few things from the shop, which I never would have seen myself doing a year ago, but I've come to realize that the model isn't going away and it's best to reward companies that do it well, with minimal impact on the actual function of the game.

My test for "doing it well" is pretty simple: if I have to think about it, factor it into my gameplay, work around it, or have it advertised to me constantly in a game I've paid any sort of fee for (box price or sub), said game can screw off. The attitude of the devs is a big factor too--if they're saying, "Well, we want to offer things that people will really want to buy, and make sure they get a lot of value for the price," sure, I'll throw a few bucks their way for a costume or new hairstyle. If they want to charge for just about every cosmetic item they can, and half of them are just for rent, again, they can screw off.
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Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:44PM GumbyJD said

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Nickel-and-diming only becomes bad when it's for consumables or single-character items - especially when those items end up being level-limited so that you end up eventually discarding it for your next purchase or a found item. Nickel-and-diming isn't so bad when what you get is bound to the account and therefore available to all of your characters, present and future (such as in Guild Wars or City of Heroes).

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:49PM Irem said

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I wouldn't call that nickle-and-diming, though. Nickle-and-diming -is- stuff like consumables, or temporary items--stuff where you feel the need to buy item after item or restock constantly and you look down one day and realize you've paid more than the amount of a monthly sub just to feel like you're playing a full game. I haven't played CoH, but in GW there's a finite number of items you can buy in the cash shop, and once you've bought them you've got them, for your entire account, and can use them for the life of the game. I could buy everything in there aside from the actual games and it would still be much less than one year's sub to WoW. Nickle-and-diming implies that you're having to feed money in constantly to keep up.
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