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Reader Comments (45)

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 1:43PM Duulin said

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The problem with F2P is not a question about profitability it's about the game experience being tainted by the business model. I personally would rather pay a subscription than have the official website and every email about my favorite game look like the home shopping channel.

I'm not going to call myself a troll because I want you to think fresh thoughts along with me, but if people want to call me a troll, that's great!

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 1:57PM Dril said

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@Duulin

Agreed.

My perception will only be changed when the problems you put forward are totally fixed AND when a game *launches* as f2p, isn't dreadful, isn't lacking in content, isn't a pita to play without spending money and is successful.

P2P, when taken as a whole, has produced a lot of crap. But some notable MMOs that rise above the muck make it my preferred business model.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 1:59PM TheMustacheHero said

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@Duulin I kind of agree with you. With most free to play games you get emails like "500 fun tokens now 50% off with next purchase of beam saber." Instead of actually talking about how a game evolves, they talk about how a game can entice you to empty your wallet.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 2:05PM Eric Francis said

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@Duulin Right. Companies should be content with making good money, without feeling the need to make LOTS OF MONEY OMG LOOK AT IT. When they get their money goggles on, it taints everything. The focus becomes "Why sell this apple for 5$ when we can split it in 12 and sell each part for 5$" because not making money that way would be "stupid".

I think right now the best of MMOs can be found in people running emulators of old school MMOs like everquest and dark age of camelot, because they are content with giving their players the best experience possible, as opposed to making the most money possible.

Personally, i am going back to smaller multiplayer games until the industry regains its sanity. And they are not going to get it back until we stop giving them money.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 2:26PM dndhatcher said

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@Duulin Thats an outdated thought. Even subscription games have websites and emails trying to sell you cash shop cosmetics and mounts. The era of pure subscription gets you everything gaming with no cash shop is already over. MMO gaming has grown from a small niche market to a mainstream mega-business. Advertising is just going to get worse.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 2:30PM SnarlingWolf said

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@Duulin

I'll throw some more doubts into this as well. People keep saying that F2P is so profitable with no real numbers to back it up. That is the problem, companies don't say "We make x millions of dollars each year with our f2p game".

Companies have said they've seen an increase in profits in the first couple months of switching to F2P when they were P2P games that people weren't playing. 1) I'd hope so since people weren't paying to play your game and 2) They don't come back 6 months to a year later and say if the profits kept going up, stayed flat, or went down.

Companies are designing models off of rumors and guess work since no real numbers are floating around out there.

I am one of those people that will only play subscription MMOs (without any stores) and I will fully admit that if all subscription based MMOs disappeared and only f2p cash shops remained, I truly would just be done with MMOs.

I also won't buy stand alone games that have stores with them or that have DLC content on release. If that content was ready at release it should have been part of the box sale. Currently most stand alone games are still buy the box and just play, but some of them are beginning to switch over to cash shops. To me what this means is that sometime in the next 10 years I may literally not be playing any video games as I will not deal with cash shops.

Here's hoping that the next thing to come around is movies with cash shops. Maybe they can charge a buck for each character you want to actually be able to see in the movie. Or charge extra to watch the second hour of the movie.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 3:48PM Space Cobra said

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@SnarlingWolf

The thing is, there have been a few light leaks of how profitable things are via f2p. I was there BEFORE subs and didn't like them at the time (the internet was "free")/ Of course, things swung towards subs and companies tracked profits easily enough.

Really, even Kern has said he is a convert; you know how many folks have been converted? It's not like it happened instantly; North American companies WERE resistant at first. The fact this happened gradually, IMO, means that other companies found how profitable it was and they followed suit. Really, during the last month's before DDO's change, it was deader than a doornail. MANY players didn't even consider it worthy of their time or tried it and quit after the month ran out. It was in DIRE straights. It's been more than a year and still thrives. There must be a reason for that, yes? They even changed LotRO over based on DDO.

Now, I can agree that a cash shop can make things tacky and I'd rather not have too many "commercials" in games, but the fact that many companies were reluctant to convert, but have converted, and more following suit, states something that involves more profit generation for them, not lack of profit.

Actually, I do look forward when a game is designed with subs in mind and launches that way (or even based on boxed sales ala GW), that means substantial money has been poured in and it's probably a superior product with less bugs and whatnot. When such a game goes f2p in 3-4 years, that's cool. Time to progress and adapt rather than stagnate and die.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 4:43PM Sente said

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@Duulin

Each year there are a lot more MMO-type games released than there are ones that are shut down. Also each year new titles have more and more content in the older games to compete with as well, in addition to the increased number of titles.

So companies end up with bigger budgets to produce games that are good enough to compete at release. But if they go with the subscription-only model they end up requiring more subscribers, since they have difficulty to put a higher subscription fee in place and still be competitive.

So they end up with requiring more and more subscribers and/or adding shops on top of their subscriptions to lower the risk a bit due to a high subscription requirement.

By not requiring an upfront payment and possibly also associate payments with more well-defined pieces content they lower the barrier of entry and opens up for a wider range of payment options and more options to target different customer groups.

An advantage from the customer side can also be that it is more clear what you get when you pay and what you pay for than a generic subscription fee.

But there is a lot of variation in the payment models that for some reason all go under the label "F2P", while the only really common part is that there is no upfront payment.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 5:14PM Psychotic Storm said

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@Duulin

I would disagree on the principle that the subscription MMO are also tainted by the same decisions, how to make the player grind through content the most so he must pay the subscription.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 1:58PM Rimshot0 said

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Well you've never played a F2P MMO though.

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 1:59PM Rhazes said

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I just can't get into F2P. 12 Years of paying monthly subs to many mmos and when a game goes free 2 play I leave if it already has it I can't get into it.

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 2:43PM DeadlyAccurate said

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@Rhazes F2P is a way for me to try the game out. If I haven't felt the urge to subscribe within a few days or weeks, then I'm going to drop the game entirely.

I'm getting really tired of cash shops, though. Really tired. I'm definitely not at the "stop playing MMOs" stage, but I could see that happening one day.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 2:01PM (Unverified) said

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I prefer F2P. It wasn't always this way, because I started MMOs during the DaoC days, and in the recent past, P2Ps were simply more quality experiences than F2Ps. That is changing now. I enjoyed Runes of Magic a lot. Even though I spent a pretty good amount on the game, I didn't feel scammed, because I could always buy things on sale or simply not spend money for a month or so if need be.

The problem is, F2P is not a quick fix. You cannot simply make everything in the cash shop aesthtics, because you likely won't get enough revenue (maybe someone can prove me wrong here). But if you give too much incentive for the cash shop, people will quit after it becomes apparent on their bank statement that they are paying way too much to just stay in the game. It's a tough balancing act that not many F2Ps have gotten right.

Hopefully GW2 will show just how far F2Ps have come.

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 2:10PM Eric Francis said

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@(Unverified) "Hopefully GW2 will show just how far F2Ps have come"

GW2 is not a F2P model, its a MMO P2P model without a subscription. If its anything like GW1, you get the entirety of the game for the price of the box. Which is what you used to get from MMOs+the sub.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 2:13PM (Unverified) said

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@Eric Francis

I don't see the huge difference frankly. The biggest difference between a F2P and P2P is the subscription or lack thereof...

Yes, you pay for the box, but that's it. I agree it is different than a F2P /w a cash shop, but it's still F2P.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 2:58PM WyattEarp89 said

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Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 is called Buy-to-Play.

GW1 does have a marketplace where you can buy cosmetics and bank expansion. It does allow you to access all skills but you still will need to pay for them ingame and have skill points to get them from the Skill Trainer.

Guild Wars 2 will also have a marketplace but it will not have game changing items or have items that will make the person with a big wallet have an ingame advantage.

So it is not exactly like a free-to-play where the item shop is their only source of income.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 4:44PM Irem said

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The only major difference is that they're getting revenue from box sales, which is a pretty big chunk of income. What this means for the actual game as opposed to pure F2P hasn't really been discussed, but I feel a little more comfortable with it because I feel like it gives them leeway to be a bit pickier with their cash shop offerings.

There's also the double-edged sword argument where F2P is concerned: on the one hand, it's great that F2P games offer no barrier to entry, and on the other hand having no investment required means that players are free to, well, not be as invested in the game. B2P is still friendly toward those who can't afford or don't want to pay a sub fee, while the up-front box price means fewer people who have no interest in the community downloading the client just to act like jackasses.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 2:03PM Wurm said

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From what I know of Firefall i don't think its a triple A game. It will be good but not big.
Glad it will be F2P. I don't like the outline/comic touch but I may try it anyway

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 2:07PM chuckasucka said

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I don't really like pay to play to be honest, but I am holding my final judgement until I really understand what the average player "has" to spend yearly to play a F2P game, mmo or not. If the game encourages players to pay a little here and there, but also offers ways for people with extra money (rich folks) to spend however much they wish, then I'm fine with that. But when a game puts a system in place where players end up having to pay a certain amount every month in order to be a normal player in the game world, then I think there should just be a monthly fee. I don't want to ever feel like a sucker, or like a game I'm playing is trying to swindle me. I feel like subscriptions are way more honest, because they put it right out there for you. This is what the company wants to make every month from each player, and this is what they offer (timely updates, content additions, etc.).

The thing that REALLY gets me though, is that it went from $14.99/mo as the norm, and now it's cash shops as the norm. Why didn't companies offer monthly subscriptions at $4.99 or $9.99/mo? That would have been way more attractive than Free to Play****





****But really you have to pay, ok?

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 2:13PM Harley Dude said

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The only F2P MMOs I've played are ones that either failed as P2P or went F2P because the new owners are greedy SOBs that want to nickel and dime you for more than $15 a month, so I guess it's not a surprise that I'm not impressed with the F2P model. If "real" F2P are even worse than the converted ones are...yikes.

If your MMO sucks so bad that people aren't willing to pay a subscription to play it, then maybe it needs to die.

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