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General: Gazing into my Short-Term Crystal Ball

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,572MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Now that mid-2012 has arrived, we've got a few prognostications to share with our readers about what we think the future, the short-term future anyway, holds for the F2P market. See what you think and then weigh in with your ideas in the comments.

It's not difficult to find people who think buy to play is the way of the not too distant future, and who regard GW2 as the title that will establish this type of business model as a major alternative to both subscription and F2P, or perhaps as a replacement for the latter. Indeed, it seems certain that those who hold this opinion will expound it repeatedly as we move toward the late August launch date announced last week. But will what they're hoping for actually happen, or will it turn out to be wishful thinking, largely by the same people who, not so long ago, could be seen saying over and over that F2P would never be viable in this hemisphere?

Read more of Richard Aihoshi's The Free Zone: Gazing into my Short-Term Crystal Ball.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • WarmachinezWarmachinez Ottawa, ONPosts: 11Member

    I really love these articles. Please keep it up.

  • ThaneThane berlinPosts: 2,230Member Uncommon

    hm, should have mentioned sony in the article imo.

     

    they are comming up with planetside 2 for free, and that's what THEIR basic mmo model will look like in the future.

    sony is kinda the bigger reference here than arena net, especially since they are going from a p2p to a f2p model in the close future for all their games.

     

     

    otherwise, agreed, p2p will stick around for some time

     
     

    "I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!"

  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,571Member Uncommon

    I know Richard has to prepare these articles in advance... but I think he missed the step where Activision is now exploring F2P with its biggest property... Call of Duty. Sure this is in China (where it makes sense to explore both F2P and PC), but if it does well, how long until they start moving this franchise elsewhere? What if Tencent decides that it should use this to get a stock share in Activision-Blizzard?

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,753Member Uncommon

    i smell a gears of war mmo in the future

    and f2p

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  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon

    B2P doesn't interest me that much anymore.  When every major game was P2P the B2P model was kind of cool.  Now that there are more and more quality F2P games I just can't see paying $60 up front for nothing.  Now if you had to pay $60 up front but got that much in game cash then I might consider it, but as it stands the B2P isn't a good deal in my opinion.

  • dageezadageeza london, KYPosts: 578Member

    B2P has been around for a long time as in fps and rts and even arpg games it is only new to the mmo genre...

    As a gamer I would of course love to see this gamer friendly model spread to other legit game companies, however B2P games being made by less than honest companies that would chose to release junk for quick box sells would have an overall negative impact on the industry..

    And because this industry is full of insta cash con artists and being this model depends on successful expansions and hard work to stay successful it can only work in the hands of very few mmo devs..

    F2P games particularly come with both huge upsides and potentially bigger downsides, as the old saying goes most F2P games arent really free at all...

    With that said i like the $OE approach with PS2 and see this model as the one that puts soe back in the game...

     
     

    Playing GW2..

  • Pratt2112Pratt2112 Mt marion, NYPosts: 1,534Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by dageeza

    B2P has been around for a long time as in fps and rts and even arpg games it is only new to the mmo genre...

    As a gamer I would of course love to see this gamer friendly model spread to other legit game companies, however B2P games being made by less than honest companies that would chose to release junk for quick box sells would have an overall negative impact on the industry..

    And because this industry is full of insta cash con artists and being this model depends on successful expansions and hard work to stay successful it can only work in the hands of very few mmo devs..

    F2P games particularly come with both huge upsides and potentially bigger downsides, as the old saying goes most F2P games arent really free at all...

    With that said i like the $OE approach with PS2 and see this model as the one that puts soe back in the game...

     
     

     What you're basically describing about B2P companies pushing out crappy games for quick sales is precisely what's been going on in the gaming market for years now. Not just in MMOs.

     

    Companies have simply found a way to release MMOs similarly to how they release standard single player games.

     

    The distinction is that once up on a time, MMO developers set themselves apart by creating games that would keep people playing for years. Now, with the heavy commercialization of them by the big companies, they seem to be developed almost the way you'd see a single player game created and released.

     

    Create a mediocre game, only show off the best parts, hype it up to the sky to get interest and to generate a lot of early box sales... ride the subscriptions as long as it's bringing in money... then go F2P. Wash, rinse repeat.

     

    TOR is in the second stage of that right now. They already got the payoff from the pre-release hype, they're currently riding subscriptions as long as they can. I don't expect it'll be long before they're announcing their move to F2P. I also don't doubt that was their intention all along.

     

    They've basically found a way to have their cake and eat it, too.

     

    And people just happily playing right into it, like lambs to the slaughter, not even paying attention to what the hell is going on around them because all they're focused on is "the shiny".

    People  will often ask "when will developers start providing us a better experience and stop shoveling out these cheap, over hyped games?

     

    The long answer is:

    When people stop attaching their pride/ego/identity to a IP or company,  defending or rationalizing everything developers/publishers do as though it somehow defines them. When they start putting their money where their mouth is by not buying the crappy games being shoveled out in the first place. Start sending the message that you're not going to tolerate their crap. Stop sending the message that "hey, just ignore us if we complain about your crappy games all over gaming forums. Just release them. You know we're gonna buy them anyway".

     

    The short answer is: Never.

     
     
     
  • RobbgobbRobbgobb Dallas, TXPosts: 453Member Uncommon

    I rarely look at it as a disappointed when I buy any game. I may be sad that it wasn't better but I can count on one hand the games I have bought over 30 years and thought it was a bad idea to buy them. I have to say there is plenty of F2P that catches my attention but have to also say that for MMORPGs that are translated that I have given up on them. I would prefer bugs in the game over incoherent or horrible translations. Seen this too much for me to even want to play it. 

    I will play P2P, B2P, and F2P. I bought Grandmaster Pack for Secret World and to me that is worth it. I am actually thinking that is something that is likely to be more common as well. Lifetime subscriptions make people stay interested as they can come back at any time. I know people who have done that for Champions Online and LotRO and they say they love able to pick the game back up at any point to play.

    The fact that we have foreign companies buying local ones is something I wish wasn't happening but as long as people like Cryptic and Riot get to operate close to how they were before then I am happy. Hope it allows for sharing that we get good ideas from there brought into what is create here.

  • Skyy_HighSkyy_High Ithaca, NYPosts: 138Member
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    B2P doesn't interest me that much anymore.  When every major game was P2P the B2P model was kind of cool.  Now that there are more and more quality F2P games I just can't see paying $60 up front for nothing.  Now if you had to pay $60 up front but got that much in game cash then I might consider it, but as it stands the B2P isn't a good deal in my opinion.

    The funny thing about this is that every other genre of videogame is "B2P", and they manage to do it just fine. People read reviews, play demos, and pay for games up front without (in general) feeling like they've been ripped off. Why should MMOs be different? 

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 17,943Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Thane

    hm, should have mentioned sony in the article imo.

    they are comming up with planetside 2 for free, and that's what THEIR basic mmo model will look like in the future.

    sony is kinda the bigger reference here than arena net, especially since they are going from a p2p to a f2p model in the close future for all their games.

    otherwise, agreed, p2p will stick around for some time

     

    I seen what SOE calls "free" in EQ2, to do anything you will have to pay at least as much as for your monthly subs there. Is there any sign saying something is different with PS2?

    I don´t mind F2P but the western "freemium" version seems to often be a rip off where you need to pay a sub after a while. Not all games are like that but many are and EQ2 is by far the worst of them.

    As for B2P I don´t think GW2 will chage everything either, but if both it and Undead labs "class 4" sells well I think at least some games will use the model.

    As I see it things are best for all of us if we can choose between games that are F2P, B2P and P2P. I in fact wouldn't protest if games had both P2P or B2P servers and F2P servers as long as they are separate from eachother.

  • KothosesKothoses GalwayPosts: 758Member Uncommon

    It strikes me that the Acti/blizz buy out would involve either splitting the two companies up or a leveraged buy out (the latter really only possible in some countries and even then usually a much higher stake than 60% is required.

     

    Nexon were allegedly making moves towards western studios and publishers recently so I would expect to see their name in the hat.

    Or perhaps a surprise merger with an established studio that combines their capitalisation to the point where they could afford Acti/Blizz (which would create the largest Online gaming entity in the world) and if they are clever and partner up with a studio that is dominating in the americas give them in roads into all three big markets (Asia, Europ and America).

     

    Promoting thought a new Gaming video blog http://www.youtube.com/user/quinnthalas discussing games, gamers and the internet with gameplay footage as background.

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