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Reader Comments (88)

Posted: May 29th 2011 1:22PM Utakata said

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It should be pointed out that the Freemuim/F2P conversions of triple A's fall into to 2 catagories. Those games that are not doing well. And those games that are doing okay. The latter may even turning in a tidy profit. But none are considered a really spectacular sucess (like WoW and RIFT currently) - P2P model seems to still rule the rooste.

But it does seem for those games that are doing okay, thy have reached a point where the benefits of a partial F2P conversion far outway any unstability such a model may cause. It brings in potential new players as well as keeping it's old. Which is likely and has been proven so, a win-win stratergy for their bottom line.

Posted: May 29th 2011 7:55PM Utakata said

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@Tempes Magus

I have deliberately removed GW from my list, because their model is so unique (read: B2P) it needs to be addressed in it's own catagory...thus a potentail thread derailer. To be fair I also did not include P2P sandboxes such as EVE and Dark Fall, because the nature of their MMO's a F2P/Freemium model would create the potential of balancing issues....again another thread derailer. So I have being stayng clear of mentioning those games.

I will say this though, ArenaNet's model has likely the most high risk because most if not all it's revenue has to based on box sales alone. The game has to have an extremely high standard of quality that has a broard base appeal. No setting hardcore vs. casuals, because they can't afford to drive away any player before purchasing it for example. I don't want to take away from stating that ArenaNet has been truely successful with GW1 in this respect...and I certainly wish there where more triple A games that use this model. But the bottom line is there is no return after the game has been purchased, which P2P's, F2P's and Freemiums almost guarantee...and I suspect this why most MMO gaming companies find the B2P model in general unattractive.
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Posted: May 29th 2011 1:36PM wondersmith said

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"The reality, though, is that no one outside of Turbine knows how successful it is (of course Turbine says its the greatest thing ever and that it is swimming in money as a result, but do you really think the company would be honest were that not the case?)"

Turbine representatives have made specific statements about its F2P results, including the quintupling of DDO's revenues, the tripling of LotRO's revenues, and the doubling of LotRO's subscriptions. And yes, I think the company would be honest (i.e., ominously silent) were that not the case. I'm pretty disappointed in you, Jef, that you suggest they would lie about it.

Posted: May 29th 2011 1:43PM Jef Reahard said

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@wondersmith

Eh, in my experience the truth tends to be somewhat malleable when people's livelihoods are on the line. Maybe Turbine and their PR contractors are completely honest all of the time, who can say.

Either way, the folks who insist on comparing them to Funcom in terms of F2P models are forgetting that the companies are very different. What works for one doesn't automatically work for the other.
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Posted: May 29th 2011 5:12PM Jef Reahard said

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@Tempes Magus

The point is maybe Funcom doesn't need to try it. As I said in the article, their mission is to make money, not make F2P people happy.
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Posted: May 29th 2011 5:23PM Jef Reahard said

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@Tempes Magus

No more flawed than letting your emotions guide your understanding of business decisions.
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Posted: May 29th 2011 5:40PM Jef Reahard said

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@Tempes Magus

No mud-slinging here. When I see things like "maybe they should and maybe people really want that," though, it sounds to me like the speaker is approaching things from a certain perspective. And that perspective seemingly has little to do with the realities that a for-profit business may be facing.

So, call my statement logically flawed if you like, but thus far I see no proof of that.

Also, I apologize if it came across as if I was attacking you. Though we rarely agree, I'm always interested in seeing your comments.
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Posted: May 29th 2011 6:00PM Ghostspeaker said

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@Jef Reahard "The point is maybe Funcom doesn't need to try it. As I said in the article, their mission is to make money, not make F2P people happy."

The problem with that sentiment is that if you don't make the F2P people happy they won't ever become P2P players. If they don't become P2P players Funcom doesn't make money off of them and they become deadweight.

Not saying that they should cave to F2P players' every demand, but there is a considerable amount of balance necessary to be successful with a Freemium model. You can't just treat the free players like squatters and expect them to stay and spend money.
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Posted: May 29th 2011 10:24PM wondersmith said

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@Ghostspeaker

Well said! Remember the LotRO ad slogan, "You shall not...pay!" Turbine brings in customers with the (truthful) promise that they don't have to pay anything at all to get the whole game. But since it takes considerable patience to do so, many of them eventually do opt to pay.

This is where Funcom's, Cryptic's, and SOE's approach fails. It's obvious right up front that unless you pay, you will be a second-class citizen. There are classes will never play, things you can never have, places you will never see. "You shall be...gimped!" just doesn't have the same appeal.
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Posted: May 29th 2011 1:37PM Dril said

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I think AoC going free-to-play is fantastic. It's a good game, it just doesn't have enough new people coming through to make finding people below the far endgame very easy.

That said, I think the implementation is naff. AoC was arguably the most suitable game to sell zones, not classes and features; it's instanced, each zone is essential (more or less) to the overall progression and it could be done very easily.

Alas, I doubt the f2p offerings themselves will make me rush back in eagerness, although if there are a lot of new people I might resub.

Posted: May 29th 2011 2:02PM Sente said

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Reading the service description I do not think returning players can play any class they alreeady had - they only have the character slots available.

I completely agree that what you get for free is and should be an extended free trial pretty much. What I would like to see though it to expand upon the ways you can pay for additional content without becoming a subscriber.

Buying access to some of the additional classes; small fee to get access to the class for a short period or a level limit and a higher fee to get permanent access to it.

Posted: May 29th 2011 2:31PM Poordevil said

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As premium players, subscribers what can we expect from the FtP model? Will it improve the game overall?

My concern is the game itself. How will FtP effect content development? I am assuming the population will increase and that is welcome, at least in the leveling areas. But what about future game content; new zones, expansions. What does it mean to basic game design and content priorities when future content is tweaked to accommodate the FtP model? No change in game design at all? A radical change of focus?







Posted: May 29th 2011 2:48PM Laephis said

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Sweet merciful Jebus, can I go a day without seeing someone on the Internet abusing the word "entitlement"? Jef, I love your articles, but seriously, that meme needs to be put to rest. It's a loaded word designed to purposely push buttons and discourage open dialog. It comes straight from the talking points of places like FoxNews. And it's not even accurate: an "entitlement" *by definition* is something a person deserves or has a right to. If they do not deserve it, and yet want it anyway, the correct term is being "greedy."

Please, won't somebody think of the children?

Posted: May 29th 2011 3:07PM Ehra said

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@Laephis

"And it's not even accurate: an "entitlement" *by definition* is something a person deserves or has a right to. If they do not deserve it, and yet want it anyway, the correct term is being "greedy." "

A "false sense of entitlement" is an extremely common saying that can be used to describe someone who feels they're entitled to something they are not. Greedy also works but the other is accurate as well.
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Posted: May 29th 2011 3:11PM Jef Reahard said

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@Laephis

That's a fair point, it is a loaded word precisely because of the connotation it's taken on in recent years. I chose it for that reason, but the intent was to foster discussion as opposed to inhibiting it.
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Posted: May 30th 2011 2:50AM Daeths said

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@Jef Reahard I dont know, to me the use of the term in this case was used to whitewash an entire group and to place a stigma upon them. Free is great, but not wanting a sub-par thing for free is not "entitled", it is simply wanting to spend our limited time on more worth while prospects. Have you ever seen one of thoes old couches on the side of the street with a free sign on them? Do you always stop and take it home with you? I eaver have because i dont need or even want that couch. Simply put im better off not having it.
To put it back into terms of the game, if im going to invest time into the game i dont want to be bound hand and foot when I do so. So when i see a F2P conversion that i think is too limiting then i say: great good luck to you, but im going to stay as far away as i can because its not worth it. Its not because im entitled beyond the fact that im enbtitled to not spend my time on, to put it bluntly, crap (not to say that this case is necessarily).
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Posted: May 30th 2011 2:52AM Daeths said

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@Daeths Dmn, sent before i finished cleaning it up and polishing my argument. But to put it shortly you did use "entitled" to generalize and put down an entire group of people
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Posted: May 29th 2011 2:49PM Pingles said

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Well, it worked on me. I'll be returning to the game after a long absence to play as a Free player.

I'm a fan of F2P in the past and gladly use cash shopsvwhen I am enjoying a game.

Posted: May 29th 2011 3:35PM Paradigm68 said

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I have to hand it to FC using the word "Unrated". Once again proving their marketing department is their best performing department, I see they are aiming to pull the same scam they did at launch using the word "Mature" to trick players into thinking the game would somehow be more mature or adult than other games when all it meant was the occasional nipple.

Posted: May 29th 2011 3:56PM DarkWalker said

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There is one risk in granting F2P players too few benefits: those players might compare games not based on the full game, but on what they have access to. So, a "worse" game, but with a better F2P offering, might draw players that might be otherwise interested in the "better" but more restricted game.

On the other hand, it's better to start slow and build momentum later than to start too fast and have to go back. Better to start with a somewhat smaller F2P offering than you think is the right balance, improving it with time; than to aim for the exact offering you intend just to find it was too much, keeping players from upgrading to the subscription because they don't see any benefit, and being faced with either absorbing the loses, or removing part of the F2P experience and risking alienating the whole F2P crowd.

There's also another issue to consider, one that EA found in their Need for Speed: World F2P game. Limiting F2P progression might mean there are more players at the F2P limit than at max level, thus risking players opting to stay F2P in order to have a larger crowd to play with.

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