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[Column] General: The F2P Consolidation Trend

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,588MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

After last week's announcement that regional rights once owned by Outspark were transfered to Europe's gamigo, we began to wonder if the F2P publishers would be undergoing a consolidation. Read The Free Zone to check out our ideas before leaving yours in the comments.

Since the previous column, a couple of announcements about relatively prominent western F2P publishers got me to wondering if they signal the start of something I've been expecting for a while now. As you can gather from today's heading, it's a consolidation in the F2P publishing industry here in North America and also in Europe. One piece of news to which I'm referring is the acquisition of Gala-Net / gPotato by Webzen. The other is the closing of Outspark plus the transfer of the regional rights for its most popular title, Fiesta Online, to the auspices of its European operator, gamigo. 

Read more of Richard Aihoshi's The Free Zone: The F2P Consolidation Trend.

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

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Comments

  • IsturiIsturi Phoenix, AZPosts: 1,509Member

    My thought is that crappy F2P MMO's that saturate the market with junk should close its doors and stop taking advantage of players with the underline of greed as a publishers only concern.

    However if a real publisher wants to present a MMO as a quality game and uses F2P as its payment for play and it is balance out then I hope for the best for this publisher. After all the publisher needs to make its money some how.

    I dont support F2P games since there is to many crappy MMO's that use F2P for greed so I do support B2P or P2P since it is proven that thes publishers that give us games like TSW, WoW GW2 just to name a few all AAA MMO's are genuine games that give us quality gaming experince.

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  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,197Member Uncommon
    Interesting article Richard.  There does seem to be some shifts in the publishing end of things.  I'm curious how this will go down especially with regards to the bigger named players on the block (Nexon, PWE, etc).
  • DihoruDihoru ConstantaPosts: 2,731Member
    Originally posted by Isturi

    My thought is that crappy F2P MMO's that saturate the market with junk should close its doors and stop taking advantage of players with the underline of greed as a publishers only concern.

    However if a real publisher wants to present a MMO as a quality game and uses F2P as its payment for play and it is balance out then I hope for the best for this publisher. After all the publisher needs to make its money some how.

    I dont support F2P games since there is to many crappy MMO's that use F2P for greed so I do support B2P or P2P since it is proven that thes publishers that give us games like TSW, WoW GW2 just to name a few all AAA MMO's are genuine games that give us quality gaming experince.

    Ignorance is bliss... P2P or F2P if a game stinks, it stinks regardless, granted F2P games tend to be more numerous that's only because P2P stinkers need to actually look like they'd be worth the price of admission (SWTOR anyone?).I support F2P, especially the Cryptic/PW version of it as it allows a Free 2 Play or Play to pay system (you can earn microtrans points through gameplay).

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  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon
    Anything that advances your character at a price is P2W.  In other words. FTP = P2W.  F2P means the game is more about figuring out where to spend your money.  P2P permits you to enjoy a level playing field.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon
    I will never download a F2P game.  Anything that advances your character at a price is P2W.  In other words. FTP = P2W.  F2P means the game is more about figuring out where to spend your money.  P2P permits you to enjoy a level playing field.
     

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • BeansnBreadBeansnBread PshPosts: 5,498Member Uncommon
    Buy to play with sub is just early access to the free to play version that invariably gets announced within 6 months of a release of a new game. 
  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon

    MMORPG = worst text editor in the history of text editors.  Much hate.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • GravargGravarg Harker Heights, TXPosts: 3,332Member Uncommon
    I've played many F2P games, and really none could keep me longer than 6 months.  I played Atlantica Online for about 6 months, but I think that was more because it was like Final Fantasy Online (not FFXI lol).  F2P is reserved for "lesser" games, or games that are aging imho.  New games that are P2P are fine, as long as they're good...and that's been a problem as of late.  Haven't had a good P2P game since WoW, except Rift :(
  • GoldenArrowGoldenArrow TurkuPosts: 1,187Member Uncommon

    Because so many AAA titles are going F2P the quality standard for F2P is raising.

    This causes the "shit mmorpg's" to slowly die out.

    Maybe if they made the cash shop reasonable and not P2W they could compete with these AAA titles.

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,197Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Arclan
    Anything that advances your character at a price is P2W.  In other words. FTP = P2W.  F2P means the game is more about figuring out where to spend your money.  P2P permits you to enjoy a level playing field.

    You've just described every sub-locked game published.  If you pay them then you get to advance your character.  If you don't pay them you don't get access to your character and can't advance it.  If you buy the xpac you can advance your character.  If you don't buy the xpac then you can't.  Sub-locked games (p2p) use a content lockout system (raid and instance locks) to keep you paying longer.

    There is no level playing field.  The paradigm that sub-locked promotes is one of time.  The basic assumption that time equals a level playing field is false because that entire system promotes the value of time over everything else.  There is no impetus to change that because sub-locked games are monetized on time.

  • MilitantMilitant nyc, NYPosts: 48Member
    F2P games are not all P2W...
    Path of Exile: 100% F2P, cash shop does nothing to advance your account (except stash slots.. Which doesnt increase ur carry capacity)
    Planetside2: sure cash shop buys upgrades for some more powerful upgrades for vehicles... But I don't think anything you can buy is P2W cause you can not spend a cent and buy with certs, you can jump into someone elses upgraded vehicle and use their upgrades and as infantry you can kill anyone with a paid for weapon with the free starting weapons
  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILPosts: 1,777Member
    How could you write this article and not mention Nexon co? They have opened offices in the US and Europe and have been buying companies big time including a chunk fo NCSoft who has also been aquiring companies!

    “I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • WraithoneWraithone Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 3,592Member Uncommon

    It will be interesting to see what happens this year.  Its been rumored that NCsoft is backing out of its western operations (no surprise given past history).  How that will impact Wildstar is anyones guess.

    As for the rest, as long as there is money to be had, I suspect they will continue with the shovel ware.  Some of these games would give any business model a bad name, not just F2P.

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,767Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Arclan
    I will never download a F2P game.  Anything that advances your character at a price is P2W.  In other words. FTP = P2W.  F2P means the game is more about figuring out where to spend your money.  P2P permits you to enjoy a level playing field.
     

    the yellow part is totally true. The green part is bullshit opinion. Yes there are many crap f2p mmos that are p2w and shuld not even exist. They saturate the industry and lower the reputation of the cash shop oriented model. However, That doesnt mean every f2p is p2w. That depends on 1) how much effort the company puts into the game to make it unique, fun, and worth of any money at all to be spent in cash shop. And 2) its a bad company that doesnt have loyal followers and dont care about players so sell p2w stuff to make a quick cash like a bad politician gathering money for campaing knowing hes gonna lose (only caring about the quick money, not the long term relationship between company and its community).

    Even sub based mmos are going the #2 route because they dont want / dare  to risk failing to get a long term commitment with the community so they take the easy way out (unfinished and generic product but keep the price unchanged) and still fail this way, which is a bigger shame.....just caring about how much money they make before going free

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  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,767Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by rojo6934
    Originally posted by Arclan
    I will never download a F2P game.  Anything that advances your character at a price is P2W.  In other words. FTP = P2W.  F2P means the game is more about figuring out where to spend your money.  P2P permits you to enjoy a level playing field.
     

    the yellow part is totally true. The green part is bullshit opinion. Yes there are many crap f2p mmos that are p2w and shuld not even exist. They saturate the industry and lower the reputation of the cash shop oriented model. However, That doesnt mean every f2p is p2w. That depends on 1) how much effort the company puts into the game to make it unique, fun, and worth of any money at all to be spent in cash shop. And 2) its a bad company that doesnt have loyal followers and dont care about players so sell p2w stuff to make a quick cash like a bad politician gathering money for campaing knowing hes gonna lose (only caring about the quick money, not the long term relationship between company and its community).

     

    Even sub based mmos are going the #2 route because they dont want / dare  to risk failing to get a long term commitment with the community so they take the easy way out (unfinished and generic product but keep the price unchanged) and still fail this way, which is a bigger shame.....just caring about how much money they make before going free

     

    EDIT: the second paragrath has nothing to do with p2w but i didnt want to post again so.... yeah 

     

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  • gervaise1gervaise1 .Posts: 2,066Member Uncommon

    "What kind of puzzles me about this situation is that gamigo chose to acquire “substantial assets” of Outspark rather than buy it lock, stock and barrel. This would seem to to mean the latter's other games were deemed not worth continuing to operate. Granted Secret of the Solstice, Luvinia Online, etc. aren't exactly household names, I can't say I'd have guessed none would survive."

     

    Fairly straightforward reason - and the same reason that SoE acquire the VSoH assets: no obligations, no contracts, no liabilities or debts, no need to lay off any staff and pay them whatever they might otherwise have gotten. As a result they will have a chace of running the title they have picked up at a profit. As you surmise the other titles were clearly considered doomed.

    Which leads on to the question that hasn't been asked - is F2P a viable business model? At least for PC games were development costs are usually far greater than they are for social games - Zynga's continuing results show that it is tough in the social games market.

    Clearly there have been "big hits". LoL, FIFA - essentially a F2P game in Asia, Runescape persists etc. There are also casualties however. Outspark is not the first game/company to cease.

  • tomato_kwantomato_kwan calgary, ABPosts: 44Member

    There are, undeniably, a few good f2p games out there; too few, however.

    Most F2P games are P2W.

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