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There have been so many crazy numbers going around some of which are meaningless I was pointed to this article with an interview of the CEO that gives a better sense what the numbers mean. I think this is positive feedback to a relatively good execution of F2P. In summary, there are more players paying the Elite memberships than there were P2P players subscribed before. And that's before the Cash Shop at all. Having an open and optional model - meaning attracting players with honey instead of pay or no cigar brings more "subbers."
The other number was the 10 times concurrent users which was quoted by the assistant producer. That definitely has weight as to the actual in game population for those who need the fuzzy feeling of online company. IMO the 1.4 mill is just a pretty number for an overall feel but doesn't have the weight other the other two.
*** The business model has changed for massively multiplayer online games. Some of the biggest players in the field cant maintain a mandatory subscription model. This is forcing publishers and developers to play around with the best way to take a game from a strict monthly fee to free-to-play.
Publisher En Masse Entertainment found success with its MMO role-playing game Tera, which it switched to free-to-play in February. The fantasy titles total users jumped to 1.4 million, with regions like Australia and Russia contributing the most new players internationally, though North America is still contributing the majority of new players.
The free-to-play model has driven Teras revenues up three-fold compared to its subscription era, but the game also saw an increase in subscribers.
[Tera has] significantly higher subscribers on the Elite tier than when it had a mandatory subscription, En Masse Entertainment chief executive officer Chris Lee told GamesBeat. The thing that helped is that we tried to nurture the existing community. We really thought about them and how we could prevent alienating them. The last thing we wanted to do was transition and have all these new players get everything for free and make it so existing players feel like they didnt get anything out of it.
That nurturing included a set of founders benefits that anyone who purchased Tera prior to the free-to-play move is entitled to. New players have to pay for things like extra character slots, but these founders get access to that for free.
The vast majority of those players stuck through the transition and continue to play, said Lee.
At the same time, En Masse thought long and hard about making sure the new business model even with its elite subscriber tier is fair to the new free-to-play users.
We just had to make sure that the free players arent gated and that theres not content that they cant access, said Lee. We didnt want to treat the subscribers as a different class of gamer theyre just buying into different benefits.
Outside of rise in subscriptions, the publisher is now generating revenue from in-game purchases.
All players have really taken to our microtransaction offerings, said Lee. Consumable items, things like experience boosters and reputation boosters, that characters can consume and benefit that category is our top seller.
Cosmetic items and mounts also generate a lot of revenue for the game.
To celebrate this success, En Masse is also announcing Dracoloths Rising, a five-day in-game event for players to hunt monsters and find special drops and prizes. From today through Sunday, giant dracoloth monsters will spawn all over the world of Tera. It may require the effort of several players, but teams that manage to take down one of these behemoths could earn some rare gear and other items.