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General: Why the F2P Trend Won’t Last



  • KenFisherKenFisher Northwest, INPosts: 5,035Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Kaneth

    We could see more of a move towards B2P if GW2 proves to be wildly successful, and popular. Much of that success is hinged on the DLC model they choose, imo. If you wind up spending more than $180 per year in the GW2 store on additional content you might see more disdain for the B2P model. However, ANet has a good track record with their GW1 store.


    I agree with this.  I'm surprised that buy to play hasn't shown more of an increase in available games.  In fact, I only can think of two offhand... one being GuildWars the other a smal Indie game.

    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now working in Network Security.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  When I don't understand, I ask.  Such is not intended as criticism.
  • VirusDancerVirusDancer Brandon, FLPosts: 3,649Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by ActionMMORPG

    Originally posted by Kaneth

    We could see more of a move towards B2P if GW2 proves to be wildly successful, and popular. Much of that success is hinged on the DLC model they choose, imo. If you wind up spending more than $180 per year in the GW2 store on additional content you might see more disdain for the B2P model. However, ANet has a good track record with their GW1 store.


    I agree with this.  I'm surprised that buy to play hasn't shown more of an increase in available games.  In fact, I only can think of two offhand... one being GuildWars the other a smal Indie game.

    But GW did not offer a MMORPG...even the F2P games, in their own curious way do.  That is where it will be interesting to see what comes of GW2.

    I miss the MMORPG genre. Will a developer ever make one again?

    Explorer: 87%, Killer: 67%, Achiever: 27%, Socializer: 20%

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member

    Originally posted by Bill Murphy

    The simple fact is that players are going to play whatever is A.) fun and B.) quality.  It does not matter what the revenue model is.  The game has to be good.


    I think that's a bit of wishful thinking.

    The youngest gamers will play any game that is free, regardless of quality.  Consider yourself a sixteen year old with no job and no income, and its easy to see why.

    I offer my son as an example.  He resorted to begging to get Skyrim, but in between the rare single-player games he can talk Mom into buying, he virtually lives on free MMOs. with about as much customer loyalty as you would expect from someone gaming that way--which is to say, none at all.


    The next generation of gamers will begin their "careers" this way.  Does that sound like a model that won't be successful?


    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • MurlockDanceMurlockDance ParisPosts: 1,223Member

    I don't mind there being many options for payment. The more payment options the better. However, I think there are too many games turning to this hybrid model trying to nickel and dime players. I feel particularly cynical towards companies wanting to foist cash shops on players in P2P games...

    Unfortunately, these companies are seeing this as the way of the future. I tend to want to not be involved with this "future", so I see myself eventually leaving most MMOs. Even single player games like Dragon Ages seem to be doing these small content downloads for perhaps a smallish amount of money, but if you add them up to what an expansion normally costs, are you actually getting an expansion's worth?

    At a time of economic crisis, are these changes really that wise?

    Playing MUDs and MMOs since 1994.

  • helliwanhelliwan Ottawa, ONPosts: 15Member

    You know if we are gonna sit here and type about P2P success over F2P, it might as well ask the one who have a negative opinion over some games to come out of their wits and just create something of their own will and see how it'll take over the market and be holding the spot for seven years.  There are many free to play game from asian origin that  doesnt have any great graphic and yet people still go on it and play tem 24/7 and  frankly the idea of saying that "quality and  content"  is what will really make you lose yourself to the devil is uther rubbish.   And as we move more towards the future the more hard life is getting harder, i really dont think  the F2P option is going to stink then burst  itself out, that option is way to give everyone a way to try a game for themselves and see if they can invest the time in a game with their friends, since not everyone can afford that luxurious way of life of  wasting valuable cash in a game, i  understand to some people 14,99 is nothing, But still hold great values to other people. So marketing wise the F2P  option is not because the game is bad or  is out of content it just a way to keep up with the advance of the other asian company who come up with  F2P and the eshop idea is really amazing. I dont know for others who have been playing WOW for  over 7 years just like me and have had not felt it that from the very first expension it has been the same thing under different names. but at same time everything good or not good still need their chance and to let everyone to enjoy it till they cannot take it anymore. All the games purposes are opened for fun, so jump in the game doesnt matter what your opinion pick, F2P or P2P,  just give them each their own chances.


  • FikusIIFikusII next door, CAPosts: 45Member

    Loot is losing it's luster. Any game dependant on it wont last. The only stronger drug that last forever is the human bond.

    Social networks have become virtual worlds and have  mastered the human bond while mmorpgs have abandoned it for loot. The great high will win. Worlds will become web pages with portals to the rides and eventually become part of the virtual world.

    Worlds with no art, so sad. But that was the choice they made.

  • redpinsredpins Clovis, CAPosts: 147Member

    F2P for casual is more viable and more profitable. F2P is the new casual, no dedicated money on startup and pay for what you want. As for taking over the market, there are more F2P than P2P on the market right now. You know that people are making this F2P option more viable than before? Pay for what you want, when you want. And those advocating Buy 2 Play only should realize that there is still a CASH SHOP in Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2 so stfu about it only having the buy option when you have a cash shop companion with it. B2P is awesome for games that can justify it. Do I think that F2P will be the leader in mmog? It already is, but to contend with it is no longer Subscription forced models, rather Buy 2 Play with a optional subscription model and a cash shop option. Balancing the Cash Shop and Subscription options BASED on community votes, the real players not the 1% idiots that yell onthe forums, allowing the players to comfortably buy what they want, when they want. The company would in return need to push out FRESH FULL new content on a timely basis that will KEEP it's players happy.

    No game will do this for a very long time, no game developer will listen to this for a very long time. Go enjoy the dying world of PAID subscriptions, I will enjoy the emerging world of new games that are coming out.

    I struggle not with life, money, emotions, and world, but against old mindsets and selves to be proven obsolete in a age and time of rapid changes. Go create fun, so you can have fun.

  • moosecatlolmoosecatlol Boring, TXPosts: 1,281Member Uncommon

    Because human beings are intelligent sentient life forms that learn from their mistakes? OH WAIT, NOPE!

  • alterfenixalterfenix Bielsko-BialaPosts: 360Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Hexipox

    Seven years is a long time, and with other studios finally beginning to catch up in terms of quality product (Rift, SWTOR – we hope) – Rift? you can seriously have played this game. I played it since launch and until August. I quit because they just copy-paste everything from other games or even worse they copy-paste their own events. When you start the topic of quality, don’t bring in Rift, that’s a good example of a non-quality game that is slowly dying.

    I suppose that author was talking about cline't stability and such but then I still agree with you. It is true that quality is the most important. It is also true that in those 7 years WoW presented itself as product of higher quality than competitors however in case of MMO games stuf such as stability and client performance are important but those still are just small pieces in puzzle. Rest of this puzzle is content and here unfortunately every new MMO is simply worse than previous one. Just look at how well new games can catch players to stay for some longer time.

    While success in some, sorry, idiots  book is according to numbers of subscriptions then it’s hard to be successful on the MMO market. But there are products such as niche products and that’s where I see the strength in SW:TOR – It can be a seriously good MMO for maybe 1-2 million subs, while the starting might be 5+ millions. But this game talk to a hardcore SW fan, story and everything. Kinda like Lotro did in the start.


    Since you mentioned LotRO. It I think may be the best image of how SWTOR may end up. In the beginning LotRO appeared to be as a well made game that takes best of WoW and EQ then. Such WoW killer as SWTOR is sometimes being called now. Additionally set in great and popular ip that definitely could only help with playerbase. Not saying that there is some tragedy right now but I guess everyone who played LotRO then and plays it now knows what I mean. And with SWTOR doubtfully it will be different.


    So yeah, the future are freemium models. On one hand I know even myself ppl that would like to play such WoW or Rift but the can't justify paying for sub just so they can play a few hours during weekends. On the other hand it's hard to enjoy the game where being on top can be bough in cash shop therefore freemium model seems to be perfect as of now. Ofc if properly introduced with approvale of the community.

  • tupodawg999tupodawg999 LondonPosts: 724Member Uncommon

    I think WoW took EQ, changed a bunch of stuff, and made a very profitable game. Later games focused mostly on what WoW changed and didn't think about what stayed the same. So (imo) games have been progressively honing the achiever experience while ignoring the stickiness aspect of the games and subscription games need stickiness.

    So a lot of games were designed for p2p but didn't hit that neccessary stickiness. Games like that can make more money from f2p and churn. I think that's cool as an insurance policy for good games that just didn't have enough of that magic stickiness ingredient but it's made some people see f2p as the best model. The trouble with that is if a game is designed for f2p from the beginning then it's designed for churn. It doesn't need to try and prevent it. That's the big design difference.

    (This is less true if the f2p game is competing in a market that still has a lot of sticky sub games. The design shift will only become really obvious if games designed for longterm subs disappear and the f2p games drop to lowest common denominator.)

    I think the best model is to design for p2p but focus more on what causes game stickiness and less of polishing the linear achiever experience, as that can be re-arranged to fit, and then have f2p as an insurance plan.

    (Also some games could specifically use f2p players as a way of enhancing their sub game e.g. an RvR game using f2p players as a mercenary faction to balance faction numbers if one side is outnumbered.)

  • CecropiaCecropia Posts: 3,939Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by moosecatlol

    Because human beings are intelligent sentient life forms that learn from their mistakes? OH WAIT, NOPE!


    Well, we are sentient... Queue the crickets.

    "Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb

  • stayontargetstayontarget Tacoma, WAPosts: 6,426Member Uncommon

    I really don't think p2p will dominate the market in the future but its not going to go away also.

    there are a few factors that is causing sub games to go the f2p route.  One is that the games in question had serious flaws in quality & overall content.  But one of the biggest factors is the lack of time sinks or as most people like to call grind.   Players are getting to end content way faster now days and the end is a hallow shell of a game.  Developers connot keep up with content vs speed of leveling.

    Velika: City of Wheels: Among the mortal races, the humans were the only one that never built cities or great empires; a curse laid upon them by their creator, Gidd, forced them to wander as nomads for twenty centuries...

  • BrynnBrynn Albuquerque, NMPosts: 345Member

    So, after a million words to read, I just have one thing to say: It's all in perception. As long as players think they are getting something for nothing, there will be F2P.

  • TheCrow2kTheCrow2k Adelaide, AKPosts: 953Member

    The article is spot on in terms of why so many games jump to F2P so rapidly, its pretty bad when the quality, content, depth, and design are so poor.


    My great hope with F2P & Freemium is that it opens the door enough for more indie developers to have a go in this space, there are many very innovative and popular indie games & successfull studios around & I think these same creative people could work wonders in the MMO space.

  • tupodawg999tupodawg999 LondonPosts: 724Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by stayontarget

    I really don't think p2p will dominate the market in the future but its not going to go away also.

    there are a few factors that is causing sub games to go the f2p route.  One is that the games in question had serious flaws in quality & overall content.  But one of the biggest factors is the lack of time sinks or as most people like to call grind.   Players are getting to end content way faster now days and the end is a hallow shell of a game.  Developers connot keep up with content vs speed of leveling.


    I think that's along the same lines as what i'm calling stickiness. It seems really simple but i think one of the big things that changed was moving away from having lots of very distinctive start zones. WoW kept that from EQ but i think other games only looked at what WoW *changed* and started to drop it. Lots of distinctive start zones and races equals lots more  alts which equals time. That's just one example.

    If you think about it most players don't start a game and then play it non-stop for years. They play it for x months then take a break for y months, rinse and repeat.

    So say you have a game with 120,000 subs where the average player plays for 6 months and quits for 3 in a repeating pattern then in reality your total number of "subscribers" is actually 180,000 but only 2/3 are subbed at any one time.

    The same game with an x and y of 6 months each might have the same total subscriber base of 180,000 but only 90,000 playing at one time.

    The same game with an x of 3 and y of 9 with the same total subscriber base would only have 45,000 playing at one time.

    So p2p games need to focus on increasing the x value and reducing the y value for different types of player.

  • Creslin321Creslin321 Baltimore, MDPosts: 5,359Member
    This is why I think F2P is anecdote.

    Imagine that a fresh new designer comes out with a purse and prices it at $500. The purse doesn't reach massive success but becomes beloved by a small "cult" of people.

    After this, other designers come out with purses that are somewhat similar to the original, but have many differences as well. Maybe one new purse is marketed towards youngsters, and other towards mature women. All of these purses are priced $500 as well, and they sell reasonably well within their targeted market.

    Now imagine that Gucci comes out with a $500 purse that is a smash hit. Everyone wants one, and even folks that weren't purse enthusiants get one.

    After this, a bunch of smaller designers try to mimic Gucci's success by coming out with $500 purses that are extremely similar to the Gucci purse but not quite as good. Maybe the leather isn't supple enough, or the labels aren't as prestigious. Either way, the new purses just can't as good as the original they are based on.

    Now, do you think these new purses would sell for $500? The answer is a resounding no. People are not going to buy a knock off for the same price as the original.

    So in order for the knock-offs to sell, they have to be priced CHEAPER than the original. Someone may be inclined to buy a knock-off Gucci purse for $200, but definitely not $500.

    This is essentially what happened with F2P.

    WoW (Gucci) released a game that was a smash hit. Other companies tried to mimic its success by copying it, but were always inferior to WoW. So what's the only way they can make a profit? Lower their price...or at least lower their perceived price. Enter F2P.

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

  • jinxxed0jinxxed0 Posts: 841Member Uncommon

    The name of the game is content quantity. If a game doesnt have a lot, it fails. It has to be good as well of course, but even though they dont know it, people would rather have 100 hours of good content rather than 20 hours hours of awesome content if they are playing the same price.


    thats why Guild Wars 1 worked. It'd loaded with so much content.

    Thats why City of Heroes worked for so long, it has a ton

    Thats what games like Champions Online and DCUO went F2P so fast.


    Game devs just make half assed stuff with great graphics, the content is on the short side, the cut corners on content and gameplay, the content itself is mediocre at best on average. Then on top of that, they sell DLC that should have been a part of the complete package. That statement gets thrown around a lot, but it's obviously the case with a lot of games. What I find funny though is that a lot of games just have DLC that get thrown out there, then the game just never updates again. No bug fixes, no DLC price changes, nothing. Its abandoned.


    This is why indie games are on the rise. Because they actually care about what they're making. They aren't some graduate making someone else's game. They're making somthing they can be proud of without some greedy slimey publisher breathing down their neck.


    Its also why companies like Capcom keep making decent games since they publish a lot of their own stuff.

  • helliwanhelliwan Ottawa, ONPosts: 15Member

    Everything in life is about opinion, it is the same thing when you go to the store and buy something. its not because it is either worse or good just because one person opinion stated that it is good and it offers this and this feature and from there you see everyone grabbing it. Its all about marketing strategy so that everyone will follow the trend. Other mmorpg are not there to kill the other or take the other place it is more  each mmorpg have their own appeals and their own crowd.  No mmorpg are better or worst.  So if you decide today to do anything make sure you have the mind at the right place and your head on your shoulder, so that when a reviewer will probably discredit  it that you can still have your opinion about unchanged.  Be happy to play  something you like the same way you will confortable to buy a car  or a tablet that you can afford not just because  something is free or is pay to play that it is that good. 


           So in today trend everything is a copy of something else, but that copy doesnt work like the one it copied. In the mmorpg world nothing is really a copy of the other one since  basically they all have the same purpose, Entertainment, many people online at the very same and playing at the same time as you and doing the very same thing you you do.

    For 7 years people has been playing the same game over and over getting to lvl 80 or 85 and never actually take break and say  they will want to try something new, or when they actually do is to either find something wrong with it or find the new thing repetitives and so on, but before that for 7 years we've all been doing the routing and never actually get enough of it .  We are in 2011 almost 2012 no longer in 2004 it is time to leave the routine and actually think differently be different do other things buy different things make your own style and play style. 

    Everyone hast their own style own choices, if you like WOW try it, if you enjoy rift more try it, or if you want novelty either gw2 or SWTOR or anything that is free to play jump in and dont stop. the world is out to be conquered by individuals not by mere opinions.

  • RazeeksterRazeekster GlobPosts: 2,589Member Uncommon

    I'll have to completely disagree with you as I quit Rift after trying it's free trial.

    I didn't even finish the free trial before I quit too because I thought it was such an aweful game.

    I mean seriously the games niche is the rifts which I find more annoying then fun as they interupt quests and travel routes.

    The events are horrible as they happen way more than they should blocking the whole map with rifst and mob raids, and even main cities that have been taken over by mobs (it's clear just from this that there aren't even enough players to support the games events as I saw more than three times the same city taken over by mobs and having to wait for it to reset as no one was coming to clear it out).

    The mobs are horrid because even if you're ten levels above them they still will aggro you making exploration in Rift completely void.

    Even though they have mounts it's still bad because one to two hits and you get knocked off your mounts!

    Also the games storyline is just plain boring.

    I quit WoW but I will totally disagree with anyone who says that Rift is better and more polished than WoW.

    When playing Rift I also get this feeling that I'm playing all kinds of other games at the same time meaning it's been done a hundred times before and is just plain boring.

    Feel free to disagree, but these are just my opinions.


  • PrigoginePrigogine Cedar Rapids, IAPosts: 18Member


    more like impossible to play (or made intentionally difficult) so that you become forced to buy from there item mall. It's a bit like virtual date-rape.

  • DaddyDarkDaddyDark MoscowPosts: 138Member

    I believe FTP is only good for the occasional gaming experience and niche games, like I don't want to spend money for the subscription each month, though I occasionally play AVA for its great shooter-PvP experience (IMHO it is much better vs. Counter Strike). I've also purchased a few guns from the shop - it is still much cheaper vs. buying a game and paying subscriptions. AVA is actually a good example of the FTP game, where you can get powerful weapons for free, still they are always adding new guns to the game (not really more powerful, but just different) so you would like to buy one just out of curiousity and admiration. This is not really my favourite game (I would spend more time playing some other MMO) - and FTP suits me perfectly there... )) There is no overcrowded issue either, since AVA is a niche game for the old style hardcore shooting much like in CS.

  • OkhamsRazorOkhamsRazor londonPosts: 1,047Member

    Of course free to play will last . Most mmos arn't good enough to be sustained by a monthly subscription from the offset and need what amounts to a really long endless free trial to get people into them . I have no problem at all with the western DDO model its perfect for the casual gamer and you can still subsribe if you wish in the traditional way . I don't like the eastern model though which souly relys on cash shops . But they are two completly different systems which some people dont seem to understand .

    What I would have prefered to see was more competitive pricing in mmos I argued years ago that some if some games offered lower monthly subscriptions they may do better only to get many in these forums saying they would pay even more than the standard sub and no mmo should ever cut its monthly fee . It never ceases to amaze me how short on common sence some people in these forums appear to be .

    I bet they would have preferd lower subs to the free to play now . Something had to change anyone could see that but a lot of mmo gamers are a dogmatic bunch .

  • ElikalElikal ValhallaPosts: 7,912Member Uncommon

    I very much agree to the article. F2P is mostly a reaction on MMO aging or games, like DCUO, who miserably failed and take it as last chance to survive. What we need indeed is quality.

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  • rsrestonrsreston BerlinPosts: 346Member Uncommon

    I thought you were also going to mention the fact that, when D&DO became free, it was THE polished, AAA title that was free to play, and it was natural that it received all those players back then. But as time goes by and more and more AAA MMOs become F2P, there'll eventually be a saturation - and then only fun & quality will prevail.


  • Servant-XIIServant-XII Toledo, OHPosts: 34Member

    This issue is really about business and you either understand the business of it or you don't. Regardless if you hate capitalism and think people should just make products for free and not advertise for them to turn a profit, I'll say it once and I'll say it again: a business exists for the purpose of making a profit. To that end, many things need to be done including advertising and implementing a viable business model.

    F2P is a business model and one that is more viable than P2P because it offers its consumer base choice. And in any business venture, choice is king. Players want more control and you give them that, the chances that they will, in the very least, try a game, goes up a hundredfold.

    It's like the music industry. When it became apparent that the digital age made paying for the music you actually wanted possible instead of paying for a whole CD that had only three songs you liked, people jumped on that like white on rice. It decimated CD sales which has seen a steady decline ever since. So, the industry had to come up with a different business plan because it was here to stay. Same with F2P.

    F2P's shake up of of the industry is scary to some, so they attack it having little knowledge about how it works. People who do not like change will make all kinds of excuses why everything should stay the way that it is. But that's normally what they are. Excuses, not legitimate reasons.

    All that being said, F2P does not make a wack game better. Coming out with a good product is a given. If you don't have a quality product, it's not going to last no matter what. I think everyone agrees with that. But saying that a long lasting game that goes F2P can't sustain it's subscriber base is another example of someone who doesn't understand F2P. Many of these companies have paid off their investors and have a solid subscriber base. They're already making a profit. However, more profit brings in more money for the game to be developed and if F2P can do that for them, there's nothing wrong with giving it a shot. They certainly have nothing to lose. They've already proven the game can make money, especially if they've been around for a long time.

    So, whether you like it or night, f2P is going to be here for a while until a better business model comes along. For those who don't like that, it's noothing personal. It's just business.

    CoH Supergroup: The Millennium Paladins

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