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[Column] General: 2013's Free to Play Top 10

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

Research company SuperData recently released a list of the top 10 F2P games based on their estimated worldwide revenue last year. Not surprisingly, the top position was occupied by CrossFire, which is said to have brought in a cool $957 million. Depending on how this figure was sourced, is it possible that the MMO shooter from SmileGate and Tencent may actually have surpassed the $1 billion mark?  

Read more of Richard Aihoshi's The Free Zone: 2013's Free to Play Top 10.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • ste2000ste2000 londonPosts: 4,699Member Uncommon

    So the big cash cows are the Subscribers with $21 spent each versus $7 spent averagely by the F2P players.

    If we take into consideration that most of the F2P games have also a Subscription option (like EQ2 and AoC) and we add the fact that the subscribers not only pay for a monthly subscription but also spend some money on the cash shops, the result is that $21 will grow while that $7 will go down sensibly.

    My conclusion is that a successful Subscription MMO (or a hybrid like WoW) will always be more profitable than a pure F2P game by a long shot.

    No wonder ESO and Wildstar are trying to get a slice of that market.

     
  • syriinxsyriinx New York, NYPosts: 1,059Member Uncommon
    Of the 10 games listed, only 4 were MMORPGs.  Lineage isnt even available in the west, so corss that off.  One of the three remaining is predominantly korean.  That leaves us with the two biggest f2p money makers from western MMORPGs being WoW and SWtoR, both of which are primarily sub based (one of which is only sub based)
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member
    Originally posted by ste2000

    So the big cash cows are the Subscribers with $21 spent each versus $7 spent averagely by the F2P players.

    If we take into consideration that most of the F2P games have also a Subscription option (like EQ2 and AoC) and we add the fact that the subscribers not only pay for a monthly subscription but also spend some money on the cash shops, the result is that $21 will grow while that $7 will go down sensibly.

    My conclusion is that a successful Subscription game (or a hybrid like WoW) will always be more profitable than a pure F2P game by a long shot.

    No wonder ESO and Wildstar are trying to get a slice of that market.

     

    Being able to charge the high rollers a high price and the low rollers a low price at the same time, instead of having to wait for the high rollers to finish spending money is dream of everyone with a product to sell.  MMOs are the only thing that really seems able to do it that I've seen.

     

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • nickster29nickster29 Holmen, WIPosts: 486Member
    I think the most interesting tidbit here is that the highest grossing F2P is CrossFire.  I played that FPS a few years back, but never really thought it was anything special.
  • bobfishbobfish SouthamptonPosts: 1,688Member

    Trouble is, whilst the subscription + shop model may be the most revenue per head, you do need a minimum number of players to succeed in an MMO. If you dip below the perceived "populated server" number, whether the game is profitable on that number or not, the perception of the players that the game is empty will make them leave.

     

    So, I think most western MMOs perhaps have it right, offer the game for free, with a shop, plus the option to subscribe for added benefits.

     

    HOWEVER.... this is all about corporations making the most money and is no indication of whether a game is worth playing or not.

  • bobfishbobfish SouthamptonPosts: 1,688Member
    Originally posted by nickster29
    I think the most interesting tidbit here is that the highest grossing F2P is CrossFire.  I played that FPS a few years back, but never really thought it was anything special.
     

    Its a rip on Counter Strike, but at a time when Valve weren't interested in persistent progression and micro transactions another company came along, cloned it, and made a fortune. Once you're on top, it is hard to be knocked off.

  • ste2000ste2000 londonPosts: 4,699Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones
    Originally posted by ste2000

     

    Being able to charge the high rollers a high price and the low rollers a low price at the same time, instead of having to wait for the high rollers to finish spending money is dream of everyone with a product to sell.  MMOs are the only thing that really seems able to do it that I've seen.

     

    Yes but my point was that the Subscribers also spend some money on cash shops as well, so these are the people to target if you want to make money.

    My conclusion is that in order to make a hugely profitable MMO the developers needs to be able to attract the Subscribers which are the real cash cow of MMO market.

    What I am saying is that Developers need to start making games for subscribers rather than for Casual players (which usually are F2P players)

     

    PS: I am only talking about the MMO market, I am not including LoL or Crossfire, which are obviously not MMOs and are built to make money as F2P, but MMOs F2P will never be able to make more money than subscription base MMO.

     
  • davc123davc123 sloPosts: 371Member
    EVE is f2p?
  • CazNeergCazNeerg Puyallup, WAPosts: 2,198Member
    Originally posted by syriinx
    Of the 10 games listed, only 4 were MMORPGs.  Lineage isnt even available in the west, so corss that off.  One of the three remaining is predominantly korean.  That leaves us with the two biggest f2p money makers from western MMORPGs being WoW and SWtoR, both of which are primarily sub based (one of which is only sub based)

    Not only sub based, if it were it wouldn't be on that chart.  That is WoW's cash shop revenue.  And primarily would be a stretch for TOR, since if the numbers in this chart are accurate, and the claim that TOR has roughly 500k subscribers is accurate, then they actually made more on their cash shop in 2013 than they did on subs.

    Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.

  • Agent_JosephAgent_Joseph SarajevoPosts: 1,069Member Uncommon

    F2P is illusion

    ,I hope EVE never go to f2p,coz in that case we'll must pay 20+$ monthly for skill training,I am ok with 15$ monthly.

    only EVE is real MMO...but I am impressive with TSW

  • catlanacatlana Houston, TXPosts: 1,677Member
    Originally posted by syriinx
    Of the 10 games listed, only 4 were MMORPGs.  Lineage isnt even available in the west, so corss that off.  One of the three remaining is predominantly korean.  That leaves us with the two biggest f2p money makers from western MMORPGs being WoW and SWtoR, both of which are primarily sub based (one of which is only sub based)

    Yeah, both of these titles are "primarily" sub based. So the revenue from their subs must exceed their f2p revenue. I am not seeing F2P dominating the MMO narket.

     

    Edit: EA's revenue from Subs was over $360 million. We do not know how much of that was SWToR. 

  • BlacksirBlacksir ConstantaPosts: 28Member
    the most stupid, bad article what i read ever!!!
    > The numbers for 2013 are in! This month we take a look at the top ten earners in worldwide free-to-play.  <<

    TOP 10 F2p ?!?!?! World of Warcraft FREE TO PLAY?!?!?!  what a hell was drink, smoke person what was write & make this top ?!?!

    Income value what are set in that top i am curios on what base was made ... from what source ... enyway worst journalistic approach online that I've ever read
  • zellmerzellmer Fakesville, WIPosts: 442Member

    Wow, LoL finally provided some proof of their claims and stats?

    Oh, they didn't....neat...

  • CazNeergCazNeerg Puyallup, WAPosts: 2,198Member
    Originally posted by Blacksir
    the most stupid, bad article what i read ever!!!
    > The numbers for 2013 are in! This month we take a look at the top ten earners in worldwide free-to-play.  <<

    TOP 10 F2p ?!?!?! World of Warcraft FREE TO PLAY?!?!?!  what a hell was drink, smoke person what was write & make this top ?!?!

    Income value what are set in that top i am curios on what base was made ... from what source ... enyway worst journalistic approach online that I've ever read

    It is the top ten cash shops, measured solely by microtransaction revenue.

    Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,197Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by ste2000
    Originally posted by lizardbones
    Originally posted by ste2000

     

    Being able to charge the high rollers a high price and the low rollers a low price at the same time, instead of having to wait for the high rollers to finish spending money is dream of everyone with a product to sell.  MMOs are the only thing that really seems able to do it that I've seen.

     

    Yes but my point was that the Subscribers also spend some money on cash shops as well, so these are the people to target if you want to make money.

    My conclusion is that in order to make a hugely profitable MMO the developers needs to be able to attract the Subscribers which are the real cash cow of MMO market.

    What I am saying is that Developers need to start making games for subscribers rather than for Casual players (which usually are F2P players)

     

    PS: I am only talking about the MMO market, I am not including LoL or Crossfire, which are obviously not MMOs and are built to make money as F2P, but MMOs F2P will never be able to make more money than subscription base MMO.

     

    Your idea would be true if a P2P game could attract the same numbers as F2P gaming. F2P gamers brought in 1/3 of the revenue per person but outnumber the P2P gamers 8x.

    Also you're using subscribers to a F2P game (EQ2) to bolster your argument about P2P games. Actually it would likely be subscribers to F2P games who overall pay more revenue. WoW is the only P2P mmo that can compete on this level and it is even matched by the first couple of games on that list.

    So in a world where every P2P game is as popular as WoW, you're right. We don't live in that world.

  • KbobKbob s, CAPosts: 81Member
    Dungeon Fighter is on here? Really? God those eastern countries love their crappy games.
  • SagethornSagethorn BusseltonPosts: 30Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by CazNeerg


    Originally posted by Blacksir the most stupid, bad article what i read ever!!! > The numbers for 2013 are in! This month we take a look at the top ten earners in worldwide free-to-play.  << TOP 10 F2p ?!?!?! World of Warcraft FREE TO PLAY?!?!?!  what a hell was drink, smoke person what was write & make this top ?!?! Income value what are set in that top i am curios on what base was made ... from what source ... enyway worst journalistic approach online that I've ever read
    It is the top ten cash shops, measured solely by microtransaction revenue.


     

    what hes saying is why is the thread titled "[Column] General: 2013's Free to Play Top 10" when they are discussing cash shops and p2p games

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  • PrecusorPrecusor PalmaPosts: 4,733Member Uncommon
    Great list of games.
  • Lili_BirchFlowerLili_BirchFlower Chilhowee, MOPosts: 15Member Uncommon
    Where is the 10th game for this list?  I see only 9 accounted for - Lineage is #6 with SWtOR, Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike ONline rounding out the article.  6+3 does NOT equal 10.
  • JJ82JJ82 Chicago, ILPosts: 1,177Member Uncommon
    SWTOR should not be on this list, that 139 million is from SWTOR and TWO FIFA games, not just SWTOR. FIFA Online was credited in EAs report as making he MOST of the three so its doubtful that SWTOR made more than 70 million.

    "People who tell you you’re awesome are useless. No, dangerous.

    They are worse than useless because you want to believe them. They will defend you against critiques that are valid. They will seduce you into believing you are done learning, or into thinking that your work is better than it actually is." ~Raph Koster
    http://www.raphkoster.com/2013/10/14/on-getting-criticism/

  • CazNeergCazNeerg Puyallup, WAPosts: 2,198Member
    Originally posted by JJ82
    SWTOR should not be on this list, that 139 million is from SWTOR and TWO FIFA games, not just SWTOR. FIFA Online was credited in EAs report as making he MOST of the three so its doubtful that SWTOR made more than 70 million.

    Citation?

    Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.

  • KonfessKonfess Dallas, TXPosts: 949Member Uncommon

    What is my take away from this article?  

    SWTOR $139 million

    Eve Online $70 to $75 million

    Pardon any spelling errors
    Konfess your cyns and some maybe forgiven
    Boy: Why can't I talk to Him?
    Mom: We don't talk to Priests.
    As if it could exist, without being payed for.
    F2P means you get what you paid for. Pay nothing, get nothing.

  • jbombardjbombard SapporoPosts: 530Member Uncommon
    Top 10 what?  Top 10 sales?  Top 10 gross profit margin % would be more interesting.   Top 10 customer satisfaction % rated by players would be even more interesting than that. A cross scatter with GPM% on one axis and customer satisfaction % on the other would be even more interesting.  Sales doesn't tell us a lot.  If you are operating inefficiently you can have a lot of sales and still be in the red, while a small group of people with far less sales(but also less overhead) operating efficiently can be extremely profitable.  If I was asked which one was the more successful company I would say the later.
  • catlanacatlana Houston, TXPosts: 1,677Member
    Originally posted by CazNeerg
    Originally posted by JJ82
    SWTOR should not be on this list, that 139 million is from SWTOR and TWO FIFA games, not just SWTOR. FIFA Online was credited in EAs report as making he MOST of the three so its doubtful that SWTOR made more than 70 million.

    Citation?

    He can not cite because he is wrong. If you want to read EA earnings report go to http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/ERTS/2911265146x0x701115/ae249d1a-3e9e-48fe-b6b4-ddd979f230d0/Q2FY14_EarningsSlides.pdf

    EA's extra content which is what we are discussing was $127 million for the quarter and $713 million for the trailing 12 months. The SWToR being $139 million for the trailing 12 months makes up a little less than 19.5%. We just did not know the percentage before. The revenue is easily there to cover the number.

    The subscription number was $62 million for the EA's second quarter with $393 million for the trailing 12 months. What percentage is SWToR is what we do not know. 

  • CazNeergCazNeerg Puyallup, WAPosts: 2,198Member
    Originally posted by catlana
    Originally posted by CazNeerg
    Originally posted by JJ82
    SWTOR should not be on this list, that 139 million is from SWTOR and TWO FIFA games, not just SWTOR. FIFA Online was credited in EAs report as making he MOST of the three so its doubtful that SWTOR made more than 70 million.

    Citation?

    He can not cite because he is wrong. If you want to read EA earnings report go to http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/ERTS/2911265146x0x701115/ae249d1a-3e9e-48fe-b6b4-ddd979f230d0/Q2FY14_EarningsSlides.pdf

    EA's extra content which is what we are discussing was $127 million for the quarter and $713 million for the trailing 12 months. The SWToR being $139 million for the trailing 12 months makes up a little less than 19.5%. We just did not know the percentage before. The revenue is easily there to cover the number.

    The subscription number was $62 million for the EA's second quarter with $393 million for the trailing 12 months. What percentage is SWToR is what we do not know. 

    Yeah, he finally gave me the citation in another thread, then conveniently stopped responding to my posts.

    Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.

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