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The Secret World: 'We Have the Tools for F2P'

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,619MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

GamesIndustry.biz is featuring a pair of articles about Funcom and The Secret World. The first is an interview with new CEO Ole Schreiner who speaks about Funcom's financial issues, the possibility of TSW going F2P and about the future of MMOs in general. The second deals with alleged insider stock trading by former CEO Trond Arne Aas.

With regard to The Secret World's possible future as either a hybrid-subscription model or a full on free to play title, Schreiner said:

That said we definitely have the tools to turn The Secret World into a free-to-play game - or even hybrid - should we decide to do that somewhere down the line. We did that with Age of Conan with significant success. We all know that trends and expectations in the gaming business, and perhaps particularly the MMO genre, is evolving quickly, and we're regularly re-evaluating our business model against the changing currents of the marketplace and our own player base as well. Not only in terms of The Secret World, but also our future games.

According to Norwegian financial sources, Aas is being investigated for possible insider trading violations:

In doing so, he was struck from Funcom's "primary insider list", which allowed him to trade his stock without reporting it publicly on the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE). Citing an anonymous insider "familiar with the situation," The Escapist claims that Aas then attempted to sell 1.5 million shares, though he only successfully sold around 650,000.

"His sale was discovered by another shareholder that subscribes to other shareholder lists, and when Trond's sales became public, Funcom's stock price tanked," the source said.


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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • OpapanaxOpapanax Rochester, NYPosts: 973Member

    Both MMORPG.com and Massively have these articles as headliners today.. Sucks..

    I enjoy most my time with TSW but I can see how they are financially in trouble enough to consider these things. They'll have to accomidate those who have gotten lifetime subs big time.

    Throwing 200 dollars down and seeing the game go free to play within it's first 6-12 months would make me infuriated to say the least..

    Does not bode well that this conversation is already coming up from Funcom..

    PM before you report at least or you could just block.

  • MeGaTronPowerMeGaTronPower beverly hills, CAPosts: 80Member
    Yea i knew tsw woudl go free to play, i heard the content in that game is shallow compare to swtor. I wasnt suprised at all.
  • DauzqulDauzqul Detroit, MIPosts: 1,406Member Uncommon

    A "hybrid"? No thanks. We all know exactly what that means...

    Sub + Item Shop. Oh! Wait! That's what I think you have now....

     

     

    #1 turnoff for me.

  • marz.at.playmarz.at.play Mississauga, ONPosts: 912Member

    That said we definitely have the tools to turn The Secret World into a free-to-play game - or even hybrid - should we decide to do that somewhere down the line. We did that with Age of Conan with significant success.

     

    No you didn't AoC crashed and burned with your F2P model. Too many restrictions, too expensive item shop. You don't know how to do F2P properly. AoC is your proof so why try to cover our eyes and lie.

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  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,719Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Opapanax

    Throwing 200 dollars down and seeing the game go free to play within it's first 6-12 months would make me infuriated to say the least..

    It shouldn't infuriated you, he mentioned f2p like AoC :)

    As much as I like them, Funcom has faults, and one of these faults is the crappy f2p of Conan. If they'll make something similar in TSW, then it still will be a better option to subscribe. So then a lifetime sub remains a great deal. I guess. (or at least I hope :) )

  • ReizlaReizla AlkmaarPosts: 3,300Member Uncommon

    No surprise there. Adding too few cosmetic/appearence items with creation and dropping them to a cash shop does open F2P options. With low box-sales & subscribers, F2P comes even closer.

    But I still wonder why FunCom decided to make TSW subscription based and not B2P. I think with B2P and cash shop as it is now (or a bit more extended with time-speedup items) TSW might have been a bigger success. I for one would have bought it if it was B2P...

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  • OpapanaxOpapanax Rochester, NYPosts: 973Member
    Originally posted by Po_gg
    Originally posted by Opapanax

    Throwing 200 dollars down and seeing the game go free to play within it's first 6-12 months would make me infuriated to say the least..

    It shouldn't infuriated you, he mentioned f2p like AoC :)

    As much as I like them, Funcom has faults, and one of these faults is the crappy f2p of Conan. If they'll make something similar in TSW, then it still will be a better option to subscribe. So then a lifetime sub remains a great deal. I guess. (or at least I hope :) )

    Oh I'm sure Lifetimers will automatically be converted into lifetime premium accounts. It's just disheatening, the game had a lot of promise. A few misses here and there and the unfortunate timing however didn't give TSW the time it needed to mature.

    I really enjoy the game and I hope its around for sometime. I want to see the world grow and have a chance to provide all those different little things that make it really unique to more players once they get the desire to try it out. If F2P is that way then I can't complain.

    I'm only a monthly subscriber myself. I know how MMO's come and go and I knew that TSW would need a few months to see where she was before I could give into any type of lifetime subscription.

    PM before you report at least or you could just block.

  • Zeus.CMZeus.CM ZagrebPosts: 1,788Member
    P2P cannot survive anymore. WoW wil be the last one.
     
  • roo67roo67 londonPosts: 402Member

    Well that didn't take long . Funcom were very greedy with thier EU subscription prices . I don't know why they thought they could charge more than any other game . It all seemed a bit of a mess at the start . The game itself was OK but these companys have to be realistic about the product they are selling . TSW was another game that would have done well with a buy to play model . Instead of that we have another mmo that will go free to play in a market flooded with free to play games .

    I feel sorry to those that spent money on a lifetime subscription .

  • ElsaboltsElsabolts Greencastle, INPosts: 2,594Member Uncommon

    I wonder if there advertizers feel like they were taken advantage of or were stupid, cause this will question there investment in this game.

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  • red_cruiserred_cruiser Milwaukee, WIPosts: 472Member Uncommon
    Nothing wrong with pay to play; what's wrong is how bad these new MMORPGs are.  Not even GW2 is really worth spending any money on. 
  • tharkthark FalunPosts: 1,147Member Uncommon

    I can't see anywhere in this article that they have made it clear that they will go free to play..They say they have the tools to do it..Or did I miss something ?

    Infact they even mention that TSW is now profitable after all the cost reductions ;)

     

  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Common
    Originally posted by thark

    I can't see anywhere in this article that they have made it clear that they will go free to play..They say they have the tools to do it..Or did I miss something ?

    Infact they even mention that TSW is now profitable after all the cost reductions ;)

    i agree

    i read the article as a PR piece of what the new CEO thinks funcom is able to do

    he is not embracing ftp like Smed of SOE, but he recognizes ftp as valid business model

     

    Is there still money to be made in big subscription MMOs?

    Ole Schreiner: I believe there is a market for free-to-play, subscription and hybrid business models. What's most viable for your project depends on what sort of game you're trying to make, what your focus is and how you're going about putting it together. I do think that as that as free-to-play offerings keep raising the bar in terms of quality and longevity, it's becoming more and more difficult for subscription games to live up to player's expectations. If you're demanding a monthly fee from someone they obviously expect more value than they get from a similar free-to-play offering. There is no way getting around the fact that a growing number of gamers expect MMOs to be free-to-play, or at least buy-to-play (such as Guild Wars 2), so building a successful subscription-based MMO is becoming more challenging.

  • OpapanaxOpapanax Rochester, NYPosts: 973Member
    Originally posted by thark

    I can't see anywhere in this article that they have made it clear that they will go free to play..They say they have the tools to do it..Or did I miss something ?

    Infact they even mention that TSW is now profitable after all the cost reductions ;)

     

    If you're really not seeing it and aren't just being a blind fan at this time; the kicker in the article is that this subscription model game with optional lifetime offer is discussing the possible implementations of a F2P model within the first 2-3 months of release..

    No, they aren't coming out and stating..

    "Hey we'll be going Free-to-play in another 6-8 months be warned.."

    But at this point they really don't need to..

    If they were absolutely and convicingly confident in their current monthly model then the question would of been moot to them and not even worth discussing. They would've denied they even had a model set up that was free-to-play. That is not the case here, we already know about the content delays, layoffs and the current insider trading issue of a former CEO.

    The writting is on the wall unfortunately and as a fan of the game I can't help but feel that The Secret World is on the same course as another game that is currently in a transitional state; Star Wars: The Old Republic. I don't think it's because these two games are heavy on story that they have had lesser than steller profits since their releases, they are very different titles and there are more things that seperate them than make them alike.

    However, us as consumers can not stand to be this shallow on the facts in our faces. We might not know all of them or which ones are of worthy concern, but as constant consumers of these products we should by now have an educated enough view of things to be able to tell when something positive or negative has validity..

    PM before you report at least or you could just block.

  • Agent_JosephAgent_Joseph SarajevoPosts: 1,070Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Zeus.CM
    P2P cannot survive anymore. WoW wil be the last one.
     

    what about EvE,I playing since 2005. sometimes 3-6 months  paying 3 accounts, i had ingame money(isk) but newer  use plex for pay

    If I  like game i ll spend my money for paying sub.

    Curently ,I  playing in same time TSW & EvE with 2 account, i dont care for b2p or F2P mmorpg's.

    TSW is great game but Funcom is very bad company ,it is sad

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

  • nuttobnuttob Plantation, FLPosts: 291Member
    I paid for a lifetime knowing that somewhere down the road they will probably go FTP.  I don't think it will be a bad thing for lifetimers, as we will have full access to the game no matter what happens.  FTP will bring in more players, and I say the more the merrier!
  • TobiasGreyTobiasGrey Worcester, MAPosts: 166Member
    Originally posted by MeGaTronPower
    Yea i knew tsw woudl go free to play, i heard the content in that game is shallow compare to swtor. I wasnt suprised at all.

    They should have just sold it as a singleplayer game with COOP. They would have made a LOT more money if they'd just been honest and not tried to squeeze a monthly fee into it.

  • KuppaKuppa Boulder, COPosts: 3,292Member Uncommon
    Im not sure why they keep walking around it. They need to do this asap.

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  • MMOwandererMMOwanderer LisbonPosts: 415Member
    Originally posted by Zeus.CM
    P2P cannot survive anymore. WoW wil be the last one.
     

    No, P2P game with no longevity can't survive anymore. Rift is actually doing better than most F2P/B2P actually, to my full surprise.

    Anyway, this isn't suprising. The game idn't even "get off the ground" with so low sales. Making it F2P IMHO won't change much. They'll probably make more cash off the shop, but will lose the box reveneu which is alot. I continue to wish FC the best, but most where seeing this after the total numbers. It will probably work like AOC, i guess.

    This is actually somewhat good for me. i definitely was interested in checking the game out eventually ifi i droped the box price more. Now i may get to play it  sooner.

    Edit: Yes, one must keep in mind that they're not going F2P yet, but, i do think it'll happen.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,719Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by JosephJR

    what about EvE,I playing since 2005. sometimes 3-6 months  paying 3 accounts, i had ingame money(isk) but newer  use plex for pay

    I don't play EVE, but a buddy of mine does, and when f2p comes up in conversations, he used to say, EVE is the most honest f2p game :) because of plex. I dunno, how much grind it needs, but he has 2 accounts, and didn't payed a cent in the last 12-14 month - or at least he states. And EVE doesn't have any restrictions which other f2p games have, you get the full game with plex too (since it's a subscription-based game officially...)

  • zhivikzhivik SofiaPosts: 38Member

    The biggest issue for me was price. I live in Europe, so as many of you know, the good old 1:1 exchange rate (i.e. 1 US dollar = 1 euro) was applied here. What this means that people in Europe get absolutely the same thing, but for about 25% higher price. Well, I decided I would pass, not to mention that the price they want for a lifetime subscription is simply outrageous. I mean, I have to spend 250 euros to get lifetime subscription, which equals the box price, along with slightly more than 13 months of subscription.

    Just in comparison, when I pre-oridered a lifetime subscription of LOTRO five years ago, it cost me $100, box price included (and about 6 months of subscription fees). Not only there was no regional price discrimination (i.e. different prices depending where you live), but the extra price was half a year of subscriptions, which I think is fair. I'm sorry, but either Funcom or their distributor, EA, decided to be too greedy. Well, it didn't work.

    It's a big shame, in the end, because the game was truly something new. Yes, combat is nothing special, and all characters kind of have the same physique, but this time Funcom at least tried to do something different, not spill out the next fantasy MMO. I admit I don't have much experience with it, but I liked the atmosphere, the modern setting, and the investigation missions. However, considering the price, it wasn't just worth it. Nowadays, the MMO demographic includes a more mature audience, which means people don't have enough time to play regularly, hence it is increasingly difficult to justify an expensive monthly subscription (and 15 euros/month is steep; I doubt many in the US would pay $18-19/month either). So there you have it, an interesting game design, but dismal business decisions.

    You know, when SWTOR came out, I hoped Bioware wouldn't get into too much trouble, so they could continue making single-player games. However, it seems there wasn't much to hope for, especially after Mass Effect 3. I hope it is not the same with Funcom, because I so much wanted to see Dreamfall Chapters ... In another life, maybe.

  • Bruise187Bruise187 Corning, ARPosts: 339Member Uncommon
    I dont understand why they go f2p. If you cant get subs for 15$ lower that price to 10, 8 or something first. I hate f2p games anyway. I would rather just pay for them to begin with for all the content.

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  • tharkthark FalunPosts: 1,147Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Opapanax
    Originally posted by thark

    I can't see anywhere in this article that they have made it clear that they will go free to play..They say they have the tools to do it..Or did I miss something ?

    Infact they even mention that TSW is now profitable after all the cost reductions ;)

     

    If you're really not seeing it and aren't just being a blind fan at this time; the kicker in the article is that this subscription model game with optional lifetime offer is discussing the possible implementations of a F2P model within the first 2-3 months of release..

    No, they aren't coming out and stating..

    "Hey we'll be going Free-to-play in another 6-8 months be warned.."

    But at this point they really don't need to..

    If they were absolutely and convicingly confident in their current monthly model then the question would of been moot to them and not even worth discussing. They would've denied they even had a model set up that was free-to-play. That is not the case here, we already know about the content delays, layoffs and the current insider trading issue of a former CEO.

    The writting is on the wall unfortunately and as a fan of the game I can't help but feel that The Secret World is on the same course as another game that is currently in a transitional state; Star Wars: The Old Republic. I don't think it's because these two games are heavy on story that they have had lesser than steller profits since their releases, they are very different titles and there are more things that seperate them than make them alike.

    However, us as consumers can not stand to be this shallow on the facts in our faces. We might not know all of them or which ones are of worthy concern, but as constant consumers of these products we should by now have an educated enough view of things to be able to tell when something positive or negative has validity..

     Well..If I'm recalling correctly they have talked about this before this article and even before release. You are acting like it is somehow shameful for them to admit they will go free to play or demo their game if you prefer..

    If they truly are going Free to play ..Wich even I agree they eventually will, why not just say so ?

    A game as expensive as TSW or SWTOR has to pull money from some source, and the best thing to do that is having a subscription , Free to play means they have alot more players testing the game with ease , but it also means many players has to buy from their online store othervise they will get very little revenue. And an online store is not the same secure and stable income as a subscription plan where they can calculate with ease how much money they will get each month give/take drop offs and new subscribers.

    So..If the game actually IS making a profit, I see no reason what so ever for them to go free to play right now. Unless their calculations signal that they will make even more money by going free to play.

     

  • KenzeKenze Posts: 1,214Member Uncommon
    F2P will not help TSW in the long run. Sure, they would  have a 3 or 4 month bump just from curious people but they would soon come to the conclusion most of those 200k buyers did. They need to look very hard in to some key combat system retooling before they think of F2P.

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  • NitthNitth AustraliaPosts: 3,684Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by thark
    I can't see anywhere in this article that they have made it clear that they will go free to play..They say they have the tools to do it..Or did I miss something ?Infact they even mention that TSW is now profitable after all the cost reductions ;) 

    Exactly. People are reading to much into this. Basicly if they want to then can.

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