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How well exactly does the F2P conversion work for failed P2P games?

VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,639Member Uncommon

We all hear the hyperbole of success when a previously P2P game makes the change, and we all see the odd new server or two being thrown up, but...

Can someone tell me if any F2P has consistently been forced to add new servers post launch (on an ongoing basis) as they became ever more popular? Or have all the converted P2P games that have made the shift seen exactly the same player attrition that the saw under their old model? 

 

Does the shift to F2P give ongoing growth, or does it just allow the devs of failed mainstream games to make more money off a small player base?

 

 

 

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Comments

  • AxehiltAxehilt San Francisco, CAPosts: 8,701Member Uncommon

    The games which have posted numbers about it have consistently reported some pretty impressive revenue increases.  F2P gives a permanent increase to the flow of new installs, of course, but it doesn't change the fundamental trait of games where as they age they attract fewer players.

    "Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,638Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vesavius

    We all hear the hyperbole of success when a previously P2P game makes the change, and we all see the odd new server or two being thrown up, but...

    Can someone tell me if any F2P has consistently been forced to add new servers post launch (on an ongoing basis) as they became ever more popular? Or have all the converted P2P games that have made the shift seen exactly the same player attrition that the saw under their old model?

    Kind of a red herring there, as even most successful subscription MMOs don't add many servers after launch. APB, Fallen Earth, DDO, LOTRO, AoC and several of the other conversions seem to still be receiving new content a year or two after the switch, which is a positive sign. If a game is failing, it's not going ot have dev teams allocated to it to create new content. 

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • ChrisboxChrisbox Monroe, NJPosts: 1,707Member Uncommon

    Depends on the game too be honest, some still fail, and some attract alot more people.  What makes absolutely no sense to me, is that once a game does go F2P they usually fix what was wrong with the game immediatly, why couldn't they have just done that while it was P2P and the game wouldn't have ended up there.  As for my view, when I play those games I always get this feel of lesser quality and presentation, which is why most F2P games don't appeal to me. 

    Played-Everything
    Playing-FFXIV:ARR

  • UsulDaNeriakUsulDaNeriak SindelfingenPosts: 640Member

    I am still waiting, that the 1st of these conversions closes the doors and grant, that freemium is not the holy gral for older games, but it did not happen so far. But the more intersting question is indeed, if they still have a dev team working on new expansions after conversion. Old games can run forever: look at EQ1; even still launching expansions. I wonder, if we will see a dedicated dev-team for Vanguard after conversion.

    played: Everquest I (6 years), EVE (3 years)
    months: EQII, Vanguard, Siedler Online, SWTOR, Guild Wars 2
    weeks: WoW, Shaiya, Darkfall, Florensia, Entropia, Aion, Lotro, Fallen Earth, Uncharted Waters
    days: DDO, RoM, FFXIV, STO, Atlantica, PotBS, Maestia, WAR, AoC, Gods&Heroes, Cultures, RIFT, Forsaken World, Allodds

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,639Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Axehilt

    The games which have posted numbers about it have consistently reported some pretty impressive revenue increases.  F2P gives a permanent increase to the flow of new installs, of course, but it doesn't change the fundamental trait of games where as they age they attract fewer players.

     

    So the seeming main success of F2P would seem to be the more efficient milking of a small player base, rather then the attracting of a new mass audience?

    Would it be fair to say that the only time we have seen month on month increase in player numbers is under the P2P model?

    Even ignoring the profound efgfect that cash shops have on game design, maybe this is not the bright new future that many promised..?

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,639Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by UsulDaNeriak

    I am still waiting, that the 1st of these conversions closes the doors and grant, that freemium is not the holy gral for older games, but it did not happen so far. But the more intersting question is indeed, if they still have a dev team working on new expansions after conversion. Old games can run forever: look at EQ1; even still launching expansions. I wonder, if we will see a dedicated dev-team for Vanguard after conversion.

     

    well, I am sure the cash shop will get a dedicated team... not sure about the rest of the game tbh.

     

  • Storman1977Storman1977 Columbus, OHPosts: 207Member

    I can't speak to any of the other games that have gone from a full on P2P to the F2P/P2P hybrid, but DDO has been growing.  It was a nice big burst at first (Sept 2009) and has had a steady enough growth rate to justify 14 content updates (not all of them large), the addition of three servers (Cannith, Wayfinder, and Orion), and an upcoming full on expansion (Menace of the Underdark, launches tomorrow).  Seeing how Turbine is very tight lipped about actual numbers, I can't say what kind of increase it really is.  There was rumor, and I will state it just as that, that they were over a million accounts for DDO now.  Not paying accounts, mind you, just accounts.

    Not that the conversion hasn't had it's stumbling blocks.  They've done a fair amount of nickel and diming with some of the content updates and additions.  Overcharging for races.  Charging extra for a race that was part of the original game (warforged).  Double dipping on a couple of things.  Poorly thought out packages for the expansion (what use is it to add things that the subscribers already get to the special edition?).  And, let us not forget the biggest thing of all - This is Turbine we're talking about.  For every good thing they do, they screw up three more...And that's coming from a fan of the company and game...

    image

  • UsulDaNeriakUsulDaNeriak SindelfingenPosts: 640Member
    Originally posted by Vesavius
     

     

    So the seeming main success of F2P would seem to be the more efficient milking of a small player base, rather then the attracting of a new mass audience?

    Would it be fair to say that the only time we have seen month on month increase in player numbers is under the P2P model?

    nice saracasm, but i guess you are wrong.

    all these games had a decreasing player base and not enough new players entered the game. even with fee-trials and all that stuff. obviously with F2P/Freemium more players try the game and also enough new players are willing to spend money in the shop or even subscribe premium, in order to compensate for the natural player-loss of older games.

    i agree, that every type of cash-shop model is able to produce more revenue than pure P2P. however, if a game dies slower due to conversion, it was the right business decision.

    played: Everquest I (6 years), EVE (3 years)
    months: EQII, Vanguard, Siedler Online, SWTOR, Guild Wars 2
    weeks: WoW, Shaiya, Darkfall, Florensia, Entropia, Aion, Lotro, Fallen Earth, Uncharted Waters
    days: DDO, RoM, FFXIV, STO, Atlantica, PotBS, Maestia, WAR, AoC, Gods&Heroes, Cultures, RIFT, Forsaken World, Allodds

  • AxehiltAxehilt San Francisco, CAPosts: 8,701Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vesavius 

    So the seeming main success of F2P would seem to be the more efficient milking of a small player base, rather then the attracting of a new mass audience?

    Would it be fair to say that the only time we have seen month on month increase in player numbers is under the P2P model?

    Even ignoring the profound efgfect that cash shops have on game design, maybe this is not the bright new future that many promised..?

    Sure, the MoM numbers have been all that we've heard reported (although I want to say DDO also reported a second number a bit later than the first month they switched..but can't recall what the result was.)

    Although I'd disagree that it's not a "bright new future".  After all, box sales encourage developers to hype their game while F2P models encourage developers to actually provide a fun product.  This includes not sacrificing your F2P gameplay on the altar of pay2win, because players are going to see through that and ditch those games (the most successful F2P games have all been games where victory can't be purchased.)

    "Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • udonudon Durham, NCPosts: 1,797Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Chrisbox

    Depends on the game too be honest, some still fail, and some attract alot more people.  What makes absolutely no sense to me, is that once a game does go F2P they usually fix what was wrong with the game immediatly, why couldn't they have just done that while it was P2P and the game wouldn't have ended up there.  As for my view, when I play those games I always get this feel of lesser quality and presentation, which is why most F2P games don't appeal to me. 

    Only thing I can think of is the press/hype that comes with a F2P conversion gives a lot more oppertunity to draw in new players vs just patching content.  

    I use to say you only get to launch a game once.  That's not really true anymore.  You can have two launches in todays market, one when you release the game P2P and one when you go F2P.

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,639Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by UsulDaNeriak
    Originally posted by Vesavius
     

     

    So the seeming main success of F2P would seem to be the more efficient milking of a small player base, rather then the attracting of a new mass audience?

    Would it be fair to say that the only time we have seen month on month increase in player numbers is under the P2P model?

    nice saracasm, but i guess you are wrong.

    all these games had a decreasing player base and not enough new players entered the game. even with fee-trials and all that stuff. obviously with F2P/Freemium more players try the game and also enough new players are willing to spend money in the shop or even subscribe premium, in order to compensate for the natural player-loss of older games.

    i agree, that every type of cash-shop model is able to produce more revenue than pure P2P. however, if a game dies slower due to conversion, it was the right business decision.

     

    Sarcasm? No... Honest questions and ideas in the interests of conversation.

    But, anyhow, I agree... it was undoubedtly the right business decision, as in it makes more money from the same diminishing player base, but that's kind of what I am asking.

    I guess what i am trying to say is that does F2P actually 'save' a game in the long term, or does it simply exist to wring more money out of (ultimately) the same size player base on the whole?

  • UsulDaNeriakUsulDaNeriak SindelfingenPosts: 640Member

    I am pretty sure, that we will never see pure P2P games in the future again. They all will have a cash-shop.perhaps some indy-sandboxes will still stay P2P, but they are doomed to fail anyways.

    F2P as usual (P2W or not)

    B2P with cosmetic cash shop (or even more "unconvenient" stuff), miliking via wy too regular (dull) expansions and even worse bombing you with DLCs

    P2P with boxsale and cash-shop, which is purely cosmetic at the beginning (e.g.TSW) but ready for conversion and this "2nd launch". this conversion point will be planned already and will happen much earlier than today. usually after 6-12 months, when subscriptions drop dramatically these days.

    played: Everquest I (6 years), EVE (3 years)
    months: EQII, Vanguard, Siedler Online, SWTOR, Guild Wars 2
    weeks: WoW, Shaiya, Darkfall, Florensia, Entropia, Aion, Lotro, Fallen Earth, Uncharted Waters
    days: DDO, RoM, FFXIV, STO, Atlantica, PotBS, Maestia, WAR, AoC, Gods&Heroes, Cultures, RIFT, Forsaken World, Allodds

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,639Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Axehilt
    Originally posted by Vesavius 

    So the seeming main success of F2P would seem to be the more efficient milking of a small player base, rather then the attracting of a new mass audience?

    Would it be fair to say that the only time we have seen month on month increase in player numbers is under the P2P model?

    Even ignoring the profound efgfect that cash shops have on game design, maybe this is not the bright new future that many promised..?

     

    Although I'd disagree that it's not a "bright new future".  After all, box sales encourage developers to hype their game while F2P models encourage developers to actually provide a fun product.  

     

    Surely both models require the dev to provide a 'fun' product?

    P2P games need you subbing, and therefore it needs to be fun, and cash shop games need you in their game to use the shop.

    Why do you think a sub game is less 'fun' then a F2P game?

    Surely, generally speaking, it is true that F2P games actually tend to build in artificial barriers to make the game LESS fun in order to drive you in to their shop to buy boosts or whatever to overcome them? Those same designed barriers in a sub game would lose the dev revenue because the player would just leave, so in fact it can be said that it is in sub game's interests to be more 'fun' then the F2P ones?

  • IsaneIsane EnglandPosts: 2,629Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vesavius

    We all hear the hyperbole of success when a previously P2P game makes the change, and we all see the odd new server or two being thrown up, but...

    Can someone tell me if any F2P has consistently been forced to add new servers post launch (on an ongoing basis) as they became ever more popular? Or have all the converted P2P games that have made the shift seen exactly the same player attrition that the saw under their old model? 

     

    Does the shift to F2P give ongoing growth, or does it just allow the devs of failed mainstream games to make more money off a small player base?

     

     

     

    F2P is a myth for starters as your Play(Gameplay is limited), Free to play a limited subset of the game.)

    Generally it is good as a lot more cash has been invested into the P2P game so for F2P players to start with it's great. For the legacy population not so good.

    F2P games make a lot more cash than P2P games ...... Addiction and Pay to win is a very interesting model. DDO is a very good example of a conversion that has done well.....

    ________________________________________________________
    Sorcery must persist, the future is the Citadel 

  • UsulDaNeriakUsulDaNeriak SindelfingenPosts: 640Member

    F2P and P2P are both supposed to be fun. of course just for paying customers. everything else would be stupid. same for B2P, or nobody will buy the next expansion.

    played: Everquest I (6 years), EVE (3 years)
    months: EQII, Vanguard, Siedler Online, SWTOR, Guild Wars 2
    weeks: WoW, Shaiya, Darkfall, Florensia, Entropia, Aion, Lotro, Fallen Earth, Uncharted Waters
    days: DDO, RoM, FFXIV, STO, Atlantica, PotBS, Maestia, WAR, AoC, Gods&Heroes, Cultures, RIFT, Forsaken World, Allodds

  • Atlan99Atlan99 Calgary, ABPosts: 1,323Member
    Originally posted by Vesavius
     

     Sarcasm? No... Honest questions and ideas in the interests of conversation.

    But, anyhow, I agree... it was undoubedtly the right business decision, as in it makes more money from the same diminishing player base, but that's kind of what I am asking.

    I guess what i am trying to say is that does F2P actually 'save' a game in the long term, or does it simply exist to wring more money out of (ultimately) the same size player base on the whole?

    I think the problem is you are implying that the two are mutually exclusive.

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,471Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Vesavius

    We all hear the hyperbole of success when a previously P2P game makes the change, and we all see the odd new server or two being thrown up, but...

    Can someone tell me if any F2P has consistently been forced to add new servers post launch (on an ongoing basis) as they became ever more popular? Or have all the converted P2P games that have made the shift seen exactly the same player attrition that the saw under their old model?

    Kind of a red herring there, as even most successful subscription MMOs don't add many servers after launch. APB, Fallen Earth, DDO, LOTRO, AoC and several of the other conversions seem to still be receiving new content a year or two after the switch, which is a positive sign. If a game is failing, it's not going ot have dev teams allocated to it to create new content. 

    Also, if the transition to f2p has p2p and f2p servers, then by definition, they have added servers.  That doesn't mean the same thing as "OMG so many new players we have to add servers!".

  • UsulDaNeriakUsulDaNeriak SindelfingenPosts: 640Member
    Originally posted by Vesavius
    ..., or does it simply exist to wring more money out of (ultimately) the same size player base on the whole?

    no, your assumption is wrong. it is not the same player base. the player base is either growing (see DDO), or it is shrinking slower. also growing revenue is not guaranteed or reported so far. the motivation for business decisions is more complex than your imagination ;)

    played: Everquest I (6 years), EVE (3 years)
    months: EQII, Vanguard, Siedler Online, SWTOR, Guild Wars 2
    weeks: WoW, Shaiya, Darkfall, Florensia, Entropia, Aion, Lotro, Fallen Earth, Uncharted Waters
    days: DDO, RoM, FFXIV, STO, Atlantica, PotBS, Maestia, WAR, AoC, Gods&Heroes, Cultures, RIFT, Forsaken World, Allodds

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,639Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by UsulDaNeriak
    Originally posted by Vesavius
    ..., or does it simply exist to wring more money out of (ultimately) the same size player base on the whole?

    no, your assumption is wrong. it is not the same player base. the player base is either growing (see DDO), or it is shrinking slower. also growing revenue is not guaranteed or reported so far.

     

    Have you got links to support this, or are we both assuming? Have we any real proof that the loss rate is slower with F2P? Or that, ultimately, the player base will end up any bigger then under a sub?

     

    I am genuinlly interested though, when did DDO add it's new servers?

     

  • DerrosDerros Posts: 1,076Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vesavius
    Originally posted by UsulDaNeriak
    Originally posted by Vesavius
    ..., or does it simply exist to wring more money out of (ultimately) the same size player base on the whole?

    no, your assumption is wrong. it is not the same player base. the player base is either growing (see DDO), or it is shrinking slower. also growing revenue is not guaranteed or reported so far.

     

    Have you got links to support this, or are we both assuming? Have we any real proof that the loss rate is slower with F2P? Or that, ultimately, the player base will end up any bigger then under a sub?

     

    I am genuinlly interested though, when did DDO add it's new servers?

     

    There is a greater potential for growth with a F2P type system, simply due to a lower bar of entry, which allows people on the fence to really get into the game. 

     

    Companies know that players = content in these games, so they need bodies for the people who will buy CS items to play with.  F2P players see some of the advanced stuff the cash shop, which tempts them to buy the content. 

     

    Mostly its about making sure the world doesnt seem empty, (see SWTOR)

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by Vesavius

    I guess what i am trying to say is that does F2P actually 'save' a game in the long term, or does it simply exist to wring more money out of (ultimately) the same size player base on the whole?

    DDO and LOTRO both reported substantial increase (like multiple times) of the player base after going F2P.

    So no .. it is not wringing more ou tof the same size player base. It is getting more players and wring money out of a small % of that.

  • AzrileAzrile Houston, MDPosts: 2,582Member

    I think the success of F2P  has more to do with how it is done than just a matter of going F2P.   Games like AOC and EQ2 both went F2P, but their model wasn´t really to expand their playerbase as much as just to suck dollars out of a dying game.  There wasn´t a big splash about it and they were never preparing for more overall players.

    DDO on the other hand was exactly the way to do it.  You give the majority of the game, but hold out some things that people will spend a few dollars here and there for.  You have enough content that players don´t get bored, but there seems to always be something new to buy.  

    With AOC and EQ2, it is more like a very limited free trial, where you don´t feel like you are playing the meat of the game.  By the time you are expected to buy content, you really aren´t in love with the game yet.  WIth DDO, you can really become attached to the game and your character before you really feel them pushing you to buy more.

    But to be honest, DDO is kinda sliding the last few patches.  I think they have realized their playerbase isn´t going to grow much more, so they are finding more ways to get their current players to buy more stuff, or have stuff they continually have to buy.  The first year or two they were f2p, I think they were happy with the revenues they were getting from new players.

    DDO is still the best f2p out there.. if you like to have a couple different playstyles (melee vs caster etc) you can play a long long time without every even feeling like you are missing anything from a complete game.

     

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by Azrile

    I think the success of F2P  has more to do with how it is done than just a matter of going F2P.   Games like AOC and EQ2 both went F2P, but their model wasn´t really to expand their playerbase as much as just to suck dollars out of a dying game.  There wasn´t a big splash about it and they were never preparing for more overall players.

     

    Don't know about EQ2 and AOC .. but this is obviously NOT true for DDO.

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/27416/Going_Free_Boosts_Turbines_DDO_Revenues_500_Percent.php

    And I quote "Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited has gained over one million new players since its September 2009 launch -- as the game's paid subscriber base has more than doubled."

    F2P is about expanding the player base.

  • Storman1977Storman1977 Columbus, OHPosts: 207Member
    Originally posted by Vesavius

    I am genuinlly interested though, when did DDO add it's new servers?

     

     

    Cannith and Orien were added in 2009, one just before the conversion in preparation for it and one just after because of the need for it, can't remember which was which.  Wayfinder was added in 2011.  Wayfinder was originally to be the destination server for the Euro players, but seeing as it didn't power up until several months after Codemasters shuttered the old Stormreach servers and the initial transfer put the Euro players on Ghallandra, the Euro players were already well integrated into the other seven servers and it became just like the rest.

    Granted, the addition of the three servers since the conversion can't hide the fact that the game had to merge servers from 15 down to five when it was still strictly P2P.

     

    image

  • GravargGravarg Harker Heights, TXPosts: 3,332Member Uncommon

    I wouldn't say all P2P games that went F2P were failing.  DDO and Lotro weren't failing imho.  I have a lifetime subscription to lotro and I've played it since launch.  There wasn't ever a time where you logged in to not find a group to go do something with.  I think the switch to F2P was purely a financial oppurtunity.  The games were getting older, and they could attract more players to come play with a f2p system.  Almost all of my friends that I've met over the years in both DDO and Lotro still play, and almost all of them still have a subscription (and I think all but a few at least sub every other month or two).

     

    There's no denying that more people are playing Lotro now than before it went F2P.  I mean, free is free.  You're more likely to play something if it's free instead of a game that cost money, mainly because you lose nothing if you don't like it.  F2P can be really good for most P2P games as long as it's done right.  Turbine has done the best job at transitioning to F2P.

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