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F2P: CoX shows that it is no guarantee of saving SWTOR

gervaise1gervaise1 .Posts: 2,071Member Uncommon

Sad panda:  NCSoft have today announced that City of Heroes. CoX was a sub based game from its launch back in May 2004 until it went F2P in June 2011. It had decent 200k-ish sub numbers prior to the launch of WoW but managed to push out at least 20 quarterly content packs. NB: this is not a CoX thread!

In an "effort" to increase its user base CoX went F2P last June. Quotes from the press release at the time:

"Arriving later this year, City of Heroes Freedom™ is a compelling new way for Paragon Studios to deliver more content to more players than ever before."

and

"starting July 1st, current subscribers will begin accumulating 400 Paragon Points every month up until launch, giving loyal customers unprecedented rewards and options". (The monetization stuff being done by a specialist arm of NCSoft as well).

Sounds hauntingly familiar to what EA Bioware have said is the future for SWTOR.

F2P has proved unable to sustain the staff of 80. They are being laid off and Paragon Studios closed.

 

 

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Comments

  • zymurgeistzymurgeist Pittsville, VAPosts: 5,212Member Uncommon
    I wouldn't judge what EA will do based on NCsoft. They'yre very diferent companies. There are no guarantees.

    "Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause" ~Victor Hugo

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,669Member Uncommon

    When the problem is a mediocre game, a business model change won't save it. Just because it's now a more palatable model doesn't make it now a more compelling game.

     

    Question though... who ever said F2P can save a bad game?

    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

  • tixylixtixylix gfff, TNPosts: 1,208Member Uncommon

    The problem with CoH is it got boring so fast and there was no reason to go back.

     

    Money isn't the issue, these games fight for people's time and money just gives people more of an incentive to play. If your game isn't worth playing then people wont play it just because it is free as it's wasting their time that could be devoted somewhere else.

  • gervaise1gervaise1 .Posts: 2,071Member Uncommon

    Agree entirely about EA possibly doing thngs differently - and maybe EA will discover the holy grail of F2P.

    It is not likely though. Whichever company you look at there is only so much that can be done. Unique content for "VIP" - check; a fluff shop - check; limitations - check etc. This just happened to be a very clear indications that a game going F2P does not guarantee that it will become profits. The number of players may go up - at least on day 1; revenue may go up - again on day 1 but those don't mean the game will become profitable.

    Clearly it can be done. There are games out there doing it - designed and launched as "F2P" with a cash shop.

    My own view is that SWTOR should be B2P - gives you the basic game; or trial to level 15 (since they have that already) and then a charge for the story arcs to 50. And then new content paid for as DLC. More like GW2. They have launched however. And a re-launch will cost more money than they are likely to spend.

     

  • KarteliKarteli Providence, PAPosts: 2,646Member
    Originally posted by gervaise1

    "starting July 1st, current subscribers will begin accumulating 400 Paragon Points every month up until launch, giving loyal customers unprecedented rewards and options". (The monetization stuff being done by a specialist arm of NCSoft as well).

    Sounds hauntingly familiar to what EA Bioware have said is the future for SWTOR.
     

    Haha I was thinking the same thing as I was reading the quote .. just change the date and change Paragon Points to Cartel Coins and you have a EA statement right there.

     

    Unless the game gets reworked with some serious interesting content or non-WoW gameplay style, I don't see much of any kind of future for SWTOR.  In it's current state, I don't think it's even worth it to reload the game and see other class stories when it goes freemium.  In that same bandwidth I could just watch a handful of Netflix movies instead.  Plus it costs money to unlock all the freemium gimps being put in place .. not worth it.

     

    All the class story arcs are on youtube for free anyways if I ever got desperate.

    Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8NNHmV3QPw&feature=plcp
    Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

  • lifeordinarylifeordinary AgadirPosts: 646Member
    Originally posted by gervaise1

    Sad panda:  NCSoft have today announced that City of Heroes. CoX was a sub based game from its launch back in May 2004 until it went F2P in June 2011. It had decent 200k-ish sub numbers prior to the launch of WoW but managed to push out at least 20 quarterly content packs. NB: this is not a CoX thread!

    In an "effort" to increase its user base CoX went F2P last June. Quotes from the press release at the time:

    "Arriving later this year, City of Heroes Freedom™ is a compelling new way for Paragon Studios to deliver more content to more players than ever before."

    and

    "starting July 1st, current subscribers will begin accumulating 400 Paragon Points every month up until launch, giving loyal customers unprecedented rewards and options". (The monetization stuff being done by a specialist arm of NCSoft as well).

    Sounds hauntingly familiar to what EA Bioware have said is the future for SWTOR.

    F2P has proved unable to sustain the staff of 80. They are being laid off and Paragon Studios closed.

     

     

    But COX was what 7 years old? it had a long run. Age of MMOS also matter a lot when it comes to decision of closing them down.

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,645Member Uncommon

    A bad game is a bad game. The rev model is pretty irrelevant.

    Sure, converted games see an initial boost in players (to be expected of a relaunch), but there really is no honest discussion of the long term performance of F2P in the West for a lot of these converted games.

    We hear hype at launch, then nothing until it declares it will be closing down.

     

    Can F2P retain players any better then a sub game? The evidence seems to say probably not, and the fact is that F2P needs MORE players to be profitable then a sub game (because of it's 'whaling' in a sea of players approach).

     

    F2P is starting to look pretty flimsey as an option in the long term tbh.

  • Creslin321Creslin321 Baltimore, MDPosts: 5,359Member

    I think that studios will find the F2P market much more competitive now, and thus we will start seeing more F2P failures.  When P2P to F2P conversions first started, the F2P market was populated only by mediocre or P2W games.  So when a premium game like LOTRO or DDO went F2P, it wasn't hard for it to compete.

    now though, the F2P market has several premium games, and the non-sub market now has what many believe to be the best MMORPG in the industry, GW2.  So when a game goes F2P, it's no longer just competing with mediocre games, it has real competition from the big boys.  The F2P bubble is about to bust.

    Are you team Azeroth, team Tyria, or team Jacob?

  • koboldfodderkoboldfodder Danbury, DEPosts: 390Member Uncommon
    City of Heroes was not a bad game.  It is just a very old game with outdated graphics.  People played it for years, then moved on to other games.  In fact, it is one of the MMO success stories.  Champions Online is the bad superhero game, which also went F2P a while back and still no one plays it. 
  • gervaise1gervaise1 .Posts: 2,071Member Uncommon

    Lots of people (posters maybe) seem to think that F2P can save a bad "sub based" game from reading previous threads - or even a good sub based game. Maybe it can save SWTOR but ...

    CoH had many excellent features, with story driven PvE, OK PvP and way more content than SWTOR. And it is closing

    And yes age matters - agree in two key ways:

    1. An old game is more likely to have paid for itself - CoH had no IP to pay and was developed essentially by a start up (not NCSoft of course) so it will almost certainly have cost less than SWTOR. The books must have looked OK when NCSoft took it over in fact - companies don't usually go out of their way to take over loss making operations! 

    2. After the "big announcement" of F2P and the launch the game slips out of the public eye; one month maybe two? At that point it is an "old" game and folks will be being bombarded with adverts and announcements to play a different F2P game. in  the case of CoX maybe DCU going F2P killed it.

     

     

     

  • lifeordinarylifeordinary AgadirPosts: 646Member
    Originally posted by koboldfodder
    City of Heroes was not a bad game.  It is just a very old game with outdated graphics.  People played it for years, then moved on to other games.  In fact, it is one of the MMO success stories.  Champions Online is the bad superhero game, which also went F2P a while back and still no one plays it. 

    That is what i tried to say. COX is old..old game. SWTOR isn't even a year old yet. So comparison doesn't say much. SWTOR has number of players  with P2P model which COX couldn't have even with F2P model.

  • chryseschryses LondonPosts: 1,453Member Uncommon
    As an ex SWToR player, I cancelled after one month. The real problem is gameplay not the business model. Even with FTP, I won't consider going back because I would rather play guild wars 2 then Skyrim or other FTP games.
  • ZinzanZinzan NorthPosts: 1,351Member
    DAoC going on 11 years now is an EA game with a subscription and a subs base of about 2-5k which is still running along quite happily.

    Expresso gave me a Hearthstone beta key.....I'm so happy :)

  • lifeordinarylifeordinary AgadirPosts: 646Member
    Originally posted by Zinzan
    DAoC going on 11 years now is an EA game with a subscription and a subs base of about 2-5k which is still running along quite happily.

    Maybe the day EA gets its hands on a reall killer like GW2, they will also close  old titles to focus on the game that really matters.

  • superniceguysuperniceguy AnchorheadPosts: 2,278Member Uncommon

    City of Heroes has more staying power / features / events than SWTOR, so yes, SWTORs future does not look bright. I even thought SWTOR would be the first F2P game to get shut down.

  • superniceguysuperniceguy AnchorheadPosts: 2,278Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Zinzan
    DAoC going on 11 years now is an EA game with a subscription and a subs base of about 2-5k which is still running along quite happily.

    Yeah, but it does not need 500K subs to break even.

  • gervaise1gervaise1 .Posts: 2,071Member Uncommon

    I think the DAoC example is a very valid point. It is an older game than CoH and the graphics are worse. UO is even older for that matter. For sure DAoC staff had to be reduced and when asked why MJ was very clear that it was that or it had to close. And for sure there has been no new content ("to speak of") for years. For now the few k subs are obviously covering the costs of the game.

    One can only speculate whether CoH should have sticked with subs.

     

    But hey DAoC and UO are sure to go F2P soon - EA have told us: sub-based games are dead ....

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member

    If game is bad no business model will save it. 

    Why waste my gaming on bad game even if it is free?

     

    Gameplay experience > money  (at reasonable amount)

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,669Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by gervaise1

    Lots of people (posters maybe) seem to think that F2P can save a bad "sub based" game from reading previous threads....

    Can you link to a thread where someone said it can save a bad subscription game?

    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

  • Esquire1980Esquire1980 Stillwater, OKPosts: 529Member

    Here's hoping this is a wake-up call for the entire MMORPG industry.  I tried CoX several years back (free trial) and I didn't make it thru that trial for the exact same reasoning as I left TOR.  The gameplay.

    F2P can not save a game that is lacking in the basic game.  ONLY post launch development and changing directions in development can do that.  No studio can keep up in a themepark model with players unsatiable want/need for more and more content.  There has to be something else there that keeps a playerbase while waiting for that more and more content or development swings in direction.

    TOR simply does not have any of that and no amount of added instances (more of basicly the same as it has now),  that will take development "6 weeks" (yeah right) and players a few days to burn thru, will fix that problem.  They can even add difiiiculty to no end in their instances and it will become moot as most of the playerbase will just find it impossible and stop even trying more quickly than if they could burn thru it. (put it on farm) Then there's that pesky little deal of feeling your being nickle and dimed to death, everytime you turn around, that tends to come in a F2P game and most certainly leads to P2W.  You simply do not end up feeling as invested in a F2P game as a sub based game due to nothing more than these facts.

  • tiefighter25tiefighter25 Winchester, MAPosts: 937Member

    Blame it on what you will, overly hopeful expectations, a boom-bust economic mentality, whatever.

    FTP has been getting serious industry cheerleading. The most egregious example being:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/analyst-swtor-move-to-free-to-play-could-attract-up-to-50-million-players

    Pachter went from somewhat rosy SWTOR p2p glasses in 2011 up to Fenruary 2012 to FTP is splitting the MMO atom.

    He states that the only two things that were holding SWTO back from financial windfall were the monthly subscription cost, and the cost of the game's box.

    I don't want people to argue why Pachter might be smoking whacky tobacky, but acknowledge that FTP has been quite hyped as of late.

  • DerrosDerros Posts: 1,077Member Uncommon
    Of course there is no garantee, but it seems like it IS garanted to fail if it stays on its present course.
  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,476Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Esquire1980

    Here's hoping this is a wake-up call for the entire MMORPG industry.  I tried CoX several years back (free trial) and I didn't make it thru that trial for the exact same reasoning as I left TOR.  The gameplay.

    F2P can not save a game that is lacking in the basic game.  ONLY post launch development and changing directions in development can do that.  No studio can keep up in a themepark model with players unsatiable want/need for more and more content.  There has to be something else there that keeps a playerbase while waiting for that more and more content or development swings in direction.

    TOR simply does not have any of that and no amount of added instances (more of basicly the same as it has now),  that will take development "6 weeks" (yeah right) and players a few days to burn thru, will fix that problem.  They can even add difiiiculty to no end in their instances and it will become moot as most of the playerbase will just find it impossible and stop even trying more quickly than if they could burn thru it. (put it on farm) Then there's that pesky little deal of feeling your being nickle and dimed to death, everytime you turn around, that tends to come in a F2P game and most certainly leads to P2W.  You simply do not end up feeling as invested in a F2P game as a sub based game due to nothing more than these facts.

    Did  you start at coh release or much later?  The game has a lot of content.

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,645Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by tiefighter25

    Blame it on what you will, overly hopeful expectations, a boom-bust economic mentality, whatever.

    FTP has been getting serious industry cheerleading. The most egregious example being:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/analyst-swtor-move-to-free-to-play-could-attract-up-to-50-million-players

    Pachter went from somewhat rosy SWTOR p2p glasses in 2011 up to Fenruary 2012 to FTP is splitting the MMO atom.

    He states that the only two things that were holding SWTO back from financial windfall were the monthly subscription cost, and the cost of the game's box.

    I don't want people to argue why Pachter might be smoking whacky tobacky, but acknowledge that FTP has been quite hyped as of late.

     

    It has been pushed and shilled for the last 2 years at least. Anyone else remember the 'F2P Movement' website?

     

    oh, yeah, here... http://www.f2pmovement.com/ ... Pure unadulterated marketing and opinion forming founded by Luis Paulo Dobreira of the F2P commericial portal MMObomb and the Portugese PlanetaJogos.pt.

     

    Key sites and opinion formers have been targetted to deliver a very clear marketing message, that the sub is dead and F2P is the only choice. It was only a few days ago I recieved an email from Kotaku hammering that exact message yet again.

     

    If some consumers out there want to believe that the selling of this revenue model is being done to benefit them, fine, I can't change that, but I personally seriously doubt that.

     

    Pachter is just yet another monkey at the organ.

  • JaedorJaedor Denver, COPosts: 1,140Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    When the problem is a mediocre game, a business model change won't save it. Just because it's now a more palatable model doesn't make it now a more compelling game.Question though... who ever said F2P can save a bad game?

    Don't think anyone did, but LOTRO is generally used as a shining example of how going F2P saved the game.

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