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General: F2P Has a Limited Shelf Life According to MMO 'Pioneer'

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,596MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

MMO "Pioneer" Richard Bartle, co-creator of MUD1 and author, has gone on record with GamesIndustry.biz as saying that, in essence, the free to play bubble will burst when players realize that they are about to be "nickled and dimed to death". Bartle engaged in a healthy debate with F2P proponents during the Develop conference held recently in England.

"It will tail off because there is a fixed amount of people willing to spend enormous amounts of money, and there's too much competition for those people.

"It will also tail off because the type of games people want to play will change. The more games you play the more sophisticated the content of the games you will want. And when you want a more sophisticated game, then the overlay of free-to-play will be more of a problem for you. You will get a more moral sense of fair play."

Read the full article at GamesIndustry.biz

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Common
    Originally posted by SBFord
    players will vote, with their attention and with their wallets, for games that treat them more respectfully.

    believe it when i see it

     

    to clarify

    many gamers are picky, including me  (bought 1 mmo in 2 years),

    but not enough to make a difference

  • LudwikLudwik Rochester, NYPosts: 401Member Uncommon
    It's not going anywhere.

    Buy 1, Get 1 is as popular today as it was 50 years ago.

    There will never be a shortage of dumb people.
  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    I found it interesting and made his comments far more credible because he wasn't touting a return to p2p. I think the idea that the payment model will continue to evolve is just obvious at this point. It's just not something people tend to talk about when droning on about f2p or p2p being better.

    The lame tricks and the developers that tried too hard to cash in on them are what cause the shift in the first place. If that's all mmos become I can't say the evolution of payment models is going to be a positive thing. 

  • OberholzerOberholzer Hasbrouck Heights, NJPosts: 498Member
    I believe the payment model will continue to evolve but I don't think F2P is going anywhere anytime soon. People love free stuff. It's amazing how many people say "This game suck, I'll wait until it goes F2P" So it will suddenly suck less when it's free.
  • danwest58danwest58 Cincinnati, OHPosts: 981Member Uncommon

    He is right that the F2P concept will dry up a bit more because that group of player that is willing to spend $1000 a year or more on a F2P game to get a competitive edge will grow fewer in number.  Take for example Ruins of Magic, Players have spent thousands of dollars just to keep up with raiding in that game.  Not everyone has spent that type of money however there are players that have.  Some of these players realized that they been taking for because they could have spent $180 a year for a single P2P game and got the same out of it.  Couple that with MMO publishers are now starting to bundle Subscriptions in with multiple games at one time.  Example is SOE All Access.  Now think of this rolled up for Blizzard with WOW, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Titan.  Yes 2 are F2P games however you would get so me credits towards new items in HS and HoTS.  It will be a sub model however you get more value than just access to 1 game.  It also will make F2P players happy because maybe they use their credits to by HS cards one month and not play WOW as an example.  

     

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  • RattenmannRattenmann ReitmehringPosts: 510Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by SBFord

    MMO "Pioneer" Richard Bartle, co-creator of MUD1 and author, has gone on record with GamesIndustry.biz as saying that, in essence, the free to play bubble will burst when players realize that they are about to be "nickled and dimed to death". Bartle engaged in a healthy debate with F2P proponents during the Develop conference held recently in England.

    "It will tail off because there is a fixed amount of people willing to spend enormous amounts of money, and there's too much competition for those people.

    "It will also tail off because the type of games people want to play will change. The more games you play the more sophisticated the content of the games you will want. And when you want a more sophisticated game, then the overlay of free-to-play will be more of a problem for you. You will get a more moral sense of fair play."

    Wow. To be perfectly honest here: This is BY FAR the best way to describe it. This fits my personal understanding of the matter like 100%. Simply spot on.

     

    The first red text is something most FTP player try to argue against with "i have never spend a single dime!". And i simply respond: "Then you never experienced the full game."

    The second red marked text is a description that fits on me. Over the years i have established a sence of what i want in a game. What i do and don't tolerate and what is fun FOR ME. I actually gravitate towards quality more and more. Something FTP games do not offer, like at all. Quality is something the whole genre seems to have less and less. I am not talking about grafics here, but the whole picture. The game just has to be a good package that fits nicely together and is fun out of the box.

     

    Again: Wonderful read and the best take on the topic i have read so far. Thumbs up.

    MMOs finally replaced social interaction, forced grouping and standing in a line while talking to eachother.

    Now we have forced soloing, forced questing and everyone is the hero, without ever having to talk to anyone else. The evolution of multiplayer is here! We won,... right?

  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,579Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by danwest58

    He is right that the F2P concept will dry up a bit more because that group of player that is willing to spend $1000 a year or more on a F2P game to get a competitive edge will grow fewer in number.  Take for example Ruins of Magic, Players have spent thousands of dollars just to keep up with raiding in that game.  Not everyone has spent that type of money however there are players that have.  Some of these players realized that they been taking for because they could have spent $180 a year for a single P2P game and got the same out of it.  Couple that with MMO publishers are now starting to bundle Subscriptions in with multiple games at one time.  Example is SOE All Access.  Now think of this rolled up for Blizzard with WOW, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Titan.  Yes 2 are F2P games however you would get so me credits towards new items in HS and HoTS.  It will be a sub model however you get more value than just access to 1 game.  It also will make F2P players happy because maybe they use their credits to by HS cards one month and not play WOW as an example.  

     

    The largest source of revenue for all F2P games in the west has always been the sub. This has been true since the 90's and is still true decades later. Because of this SOE has moved all of thier products to F2P, and has put them under a single sub option (pay for one, get them all). They realize that as the market gets more competitive, the way that you will stand out is by your service. F2P is a service model, after all.

  • str8hellstr8hell ZrenjaninPosts: 8Member Uncommon
    If the game is good people will spend money on it not matter if its F2P or B2P or P2P. Personally i like F2P games.
  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member

    Don't really care for Bartle and his pseudo science about MMO's, but I do agree with him that F2P is just an inconvenient speed bump on the highway of MMO pleasure.

     

    No one can deny that "Free to play" games actually cost more than subscription games do. There are a few outlying games that are truly F2P, but I can count those games on one hand.

     

    Free to play is the same as casinos and gambling, just another way to part the ignorant and misinformed of their hard earned money.

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • CrazKanukCrazKanuk Elmira, ONPosts: 2,499Member Uncommon

    Considering that Runescape has been around for longer than most MMOs in existence today, I'd say that insinuating that F2P is a fad is hilarious. Also, being that it seems to be the main model for mobile games, it's not going anywhere. In fact, younger generations are now growing up with an understanding, or even an expectation, that they don't HAVE to pay for games because there are equally good options which are free. They are also learning to accept microtransactions early on. My 10 year-old is heavy into Clash of Clan and he's paid for stuff a few times, and he's well aware of the implications. He even justifies it to me when he asks if he can make the purchase (cause they have to ask me before they buy anything) because I'll often tell him no. "It's free, just wait and play a different game for a while, come back, and you'll be ready". However, he now almost comes to me with a detailed business plan and why he wants to purchase something. He also tells me about times when he thought about it and didn't ask because "it was dumb". 

     

    Anyway, the point is that once my kids, and their generation, are in the age of majority, they will EXPECT free games. Even with Console games, there is a huge push for Free games. We'll have H1Z1, EQN, War Thunder, PS2, Warframe, Deep Down. If these games are successful, it could only serve to push the F2P movement forward into consoles. Since digital delivery is now extremely viable, studios can effectively knock a massive chunk of costs off their books, or even bypass publishers entirely and save even more cash. This only makes F2P more viable. 

     

    Unfortunately, the cost to make a game only increases every single year and before the release of this current gen of consoles, game prices were pretty much level (no inflation) for years. In order to make up this cost, they've had to rely on DLC, etc. That's dicey. So, if anything, I'd say that the B2P (or boxed, retail) industry is on a bubble much closer to bursting than F2P. 

    Crazkanuk

    ----------------
    Azarelos - 90 Hunter - Emerald
    Durnzig - 90 Paladin - Emerald
    Demonicron - 90 Death Knight - Emerald Dream - US
    Tankinpain - 90 Monk - Azjol-Nerub - US
    Brindell - 90 Warrior - Emerald Dream - US
    ----------------

  • AeanderAeander Walker, LAPosts: 522Member Uncommon

    The good F2P MMOs (if there are any) will kill off the bad ones (of which there are many). The only event that will cause f2p mmos to tail off would be an introduction of a large number of QUALITY f2p games (and that simply isn't happening for the forseeable future). 

     

     

  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,579Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Aeonblades No one can deny that "Free to play" games actually cost more than subscription games do. There are a few outlying games that are truly F2P, but I can count those games on one hand.

    I think a case could very easily be made that F2P games cost less than P2P. I do not think that a case could be made that F2P costs more than P2P. However, if you believe you have something here... I would be interested in hearing it.

  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member
    Originally posted by Superman0X

     


    Originally posted by Aeonblades No one can deny that "Free to play" games actually cost more than subscription games do. There are a few outlying games that are truly F2P, but I can count those games on one hand.

     

    I think a case could very easily be made that F2P games cost less than P2P. I do not think that a case could be made that F2P costs more than P2P. However, if you believe you have something here... I would be interested in hearing it.

    Not sure what you mean here. In my experience of 15 years of MMO gaming, every F2P game I have played sans Rift really has been locked behind steep pay walls that prevent you from experiencing all of the content a game has to offer. If you are looking for some kind of article or something, I'm not a writer.

    I guess what I should of said is people can deny that F2P games cost more, but actually playing most of the MMOs that have come out have taught me otherwise. It's as easy as playing them to find how bad they are.

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • MadnessRealmMadnessRealm Montreal, QCPosts: 2,716Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Aeonblades
    Originally posted by Superman0X

     


    Originally posted by Aeonblades No one can deny that "Free to play" games actually cost more than subscription games do. There are a few outlying games that are truly F2P, but I can count those games on one hand.

     

    I think a case could very easily be made that F2P games cost less than P2P. I do not think that a case could be made that F2P costs more than P2P. However, if you believe you have something here... I would be interested in hearing it.

    Not sure what you mean here. In my experience of 15 years of MMO gaming, every F2P game I have played sans Rift really has been locked behind steep pay walls that prevent you from experiencing all of the content a game has to offer. If you are looking for some kind of article or something, I'm not a writer.

    I guess what I should of said is people can deny that F2P games cost more, but actually playing most of the MMOs that have come out have taught me otherwise. It's as easy as playing them to find how bad they are.

    A F2P cost about as much as you feel you are getting out of it. I've played F2P MMOs since 2003-04, and the only MMO where I've actually spent a decent amount of money is a F2P I've been playing on and off since 2009, and that amount is somewhere close to $300. Had this been a P2P title and including the box price, I would'Ve had only 1 year and 4 months of gameplay, whereas I've gotten 5 years out of a F2P, and I'm not even including the cost of P2P expansions, which if we're going to be talking about pay walls is actually kind of just that considering you're already paying monthly for the "right" to play the game.

     

    ------
    Your daily dose of common sense since 2009!

  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,579Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by MadnessRealm

    Originally posted by Aeonblades

    Originally posted by Superman0X  

    Originally posted by Aeonblades No one can deny that "Free to play" games actually cost more than subscription games do. There are a few outlying games that are truly F2P, but I can count those games on one hand.
      I think a case could very easily be made that F2P games cost less than P2P. I do not think that a case could be made that F2P costs more than P2P. However, if you believe you have something here... I would be interested in hearing it.
    Not sure what you mean here. In my experience of 15 years of MMO gaming, every F2P game I have played sans Rift really has been locked behind steep pay walls that prevent you from experiencing all of the content a game has to offer. If you are looking for some kind of article or something, I'm not a writer. I guess what I should of said is people can deny that F2P games cost more, but actually playing most of the MMOs that have come out have taught me otherwise. It's as easy as playing them to find how bad they are.
    A F2P cost about as much as you feel you are getting out of it. I've played F2P MMOs since 2003-04, and the only MMO where I've actually spent a decent amount of money is a F2P I've been playing on and off since 2009, and that amount is somewhere close to $300. Had this been a P2P title and including the box price, I would'Ve had only 1 year and 4 months of gameplay, whereas I've gotten 5 years out of a F2P, and I'm not even including the cost of P2P expansions, which if we're going to be talking about pay walls is actually kind of just that considering you're already paying monthly for the "right" to play the game.  
     

    Cost: (of an object or an action) require the payment of (a specified sum of money) before it can be acquired or done.

    P2P has a direct cost, because you must give them money before playing. This is greater than 0. F2P has a 0 direct cost, because you can play before paying.

    This makes the cost of P2P ALWAYS higher than F2P. Individual games (F2P/P2P regardless) may have varied costs for different things. However, based on business model alone, P2P>0 and F2P=0, so P2P is higher.

    No matter how you slice it F2P will have a lower cost on the whole.

  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member
    Originally posted by Superman0X

     


    Originally posted by MadnessRealm

    Originally posted by Aeonblades

    Originally posted by Superman0X  

    Originally posted by Aeonblades No one can deny that "Free to play" games actually cost more than subscription games do. There are a few outlying games that are truly F2P, but I can count those games on one hand.
      I think a case could very easily be made that F2P games cost less than P2P. I do not think that a case could be made that F2P costs more than P2P. However, if you believe you have something here... I would be interested in hearing it.
    Not sure what you mean here. In my experience of 15 years of MMO gaming, every F2P game I have played sans Rift really has been locked behind steep pay walls that prevent you from experiencing all of the content a game has to offer. If you are looking for some kind of article or something, I'm not a writer. I guess what I should of said is people can deny that F2P games cost more, but actually playing most of the MMOs that have come out have taught me otherwise. It's as easy as playing them to find how bad they are.
    A F2P cost about as much as you feel you are getting out of it. I've played F2P MMOs since 2003-04, and the only MMO where I've actually spent a decent amount of money is a F2P I've been playing on and off since 2009, and that amount is somewhere close to $300. Had this been a P2P title and including the box price, I would'Ve had only 1 year and 4 months of gameplay, whereas I've gotten 5 years out of a F2P, and I'm not even including the cost of P2P expansions, which if we're going to be talking about pay walls is actually kind of just that considering you're already paying monthly for the "right" to play the game.  
     

     

    Cost: (of an object or an action) require the payment of (a specified sum of money) before it can be acquired or done.

    P2P has a direct cost, because you must give them money before playing. This is greater than 0. F2P has a 0 direct cost, because you can play before paying.

    This makes the cost of P2P ALWAYS higher than F2P. Individual games (F2P/P2P regardless) may have varied costs for different things. However, based on business model alone, P2P>0 and F2P=0, so P2P is higher.

    No matter how you slice it F2P will have a lower cost on the whole.

    Haha interesting theory. I disagree, but I do see what you are getting at.

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • RobokappRobokapp Dublin, OHPosts: 5,205Member Uncommon

    F2P is already turning around for MMOs and growing for MOBAs. F2P isn't going anywhere but F2P MMOs are.

     

    TO THE GRAVEYARD!

    image

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,183Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Superman0X

     


    Originally posted by Aeonblades No one can deny that "Free to play" games actually cost more than subscription games do. There are a few outlying games that are truly F2P, but I can count those games on one hand.

     

    I think a case could very easily be made that F2P games cost less than P2P. I do not think that a case could be made that F2P costs more than P2P. However, if you believe you have something here... I would be interested in hearing it.

    Try playing a Perfect World, Aeria or Gpotato game and say that!  Right, you can't.  They all support outright gambling.  Yes you can play some f2p games for free, but not many, but you are under a lot of restriction doing so.  When it comes to pvp, the f2p games really shine when it comes to extracting money from their players.  You just cannot be competitive in these game without spending a fortune.

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member
    Originally posted by Aeander

    The good F2P MMOs (if there are any) will kill off the bad ones (of which there are many). The only event that will cause f2p mmos to tail off would be an introduction of a large number of QUALITY f2p games (and that simply isn't happening for the forseeable future). 

     

     

    That is what this was really about, not the tired dead horse of which is better. Right now all f2p games are lumped together as free to play, but anyone who's tried them knows they're not all the same. When the OP was talking about evolution this will probably be the first step. The more predatory types of f2p will become well known for what they really are. The ones like rift and tera will be the types we identify as "good"....although I'd like to see random boxes die a quick death :)

    Once more people become educated on what to look for they'll start making more informed decisions on what is and isn't acceptable. Hopefully once people stop playing the terrible cash grabs it will force developers to stop looking for scams to get peoples money and get them back to building better games to do it.

  • ThaneThane berlinPosts: 2,232Member Uncommon

    "They want to make money, of course, but money is a side issue."  best part, again, that worked when you could create games with 2 people, and not had whole companies work on a game.

    "I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!"

  • boxsndboxsnd Kraxton, ARPosts: 438Member Uncommon
    The F2P model is not going anywhere. P2W will die out but fair F2P models will dominate in the future.

    DAoC - Excalibur & Camlann

  • ste2000ste2000 londonPosts: 4,699Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ludwik
    It's not going anywhere.

    Buy 1, Get 1 is as popular today as it was 50 years ago.

    There will never be a shortage of dumb people.

    This

    There is a huge market for F2P.

    What we will see in the future is a come back of the Subscription model though.

  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,579Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by DamonVile

    Originally posted by Aeander The good F2P MMOs (if there are any) will kill off the bad ones (of which there are many). The only event that will cause f2p mmos to tail off would be an introduction of a large number of QUALITY f2p games (and that simply isn't happening for the forseeable future).     
    That is what this was really about, not the tired dead horse of which is better. Right now all f2p games are lumped together as free to play, but anyone who's tried them knows they're not all the same. When the OP was talking about evolution this will probably be the first step. The more predatory types of f2p will become well known for what they really are. The ones like rift and tera will be the types we identify as "good"....although I'd like to see random boxes die a quick death :) Once more people become educated on what to look for they'll start making more informed decisions on what is and isn't acceptable. Hopefully once people stop playing the terrible cash grabs it will force developers to stop looking for scams to get peoples money and get them back to building better games to do it.
     

    This is where I disagree:

    Companies that make money will succeed. Those that do not will fail. The quality of the games, and the methods that they use to monetize will not really matter. The key to this is the money.

    In the recent years, there has been many vary large investments in western gaming companies from Asian gaming companies. This is because they have made so much more money, that they can just afford to buy the western competition. This has a much greater effect on the content that will be made in the future, than any changes in consumer spending have.

  • CrazKanukCrazKanuk Elmira, ONPosts: 2,499Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Aeonblades
    Originally posted by Superman0X

     


    Originally posted by Aeonblades No one can deny that "Free to play" games actually cost more than subscription games do. There are a few outlying games that are truly F2P, but I can count those games on one hand.

     

    I think a case could very easily be made that F2P games cost less than P2P. I do not think that a case could be made that F2P costs more than P2P. However, if you believe you have something here... I would be interested in hearing it.

    Not sure what you mean here. In my experience of 15 years of MMO gaming, every F2P game I have played sans Rift really has been locked behind steep pay walls that prevent you from experiencing all of the content a game has to offer. If you are looking for some kind of article or something, I'm not a writer.

    I guess what I should of said is people can deny that F2P games cost more, but actually playing most of the MMOs that have come out have taught me otherwise. It's as easy as playing them to find how bad they are.

    Define steep? I've been playing F2P games for a long time as well and I find quite the opposite. I would agree that there are games out there which can definitely empty your wallet quickly (RoM comes to mind in my experience), but as for current MMOs, it's really difficult to find games which sell any sort of advantage exclusively through the cash shop. I'd be interested in knowing what games you're talking about. 

     

    I love Rift, too, and I think that a Hybrid model is most effective. Actually, I really love SWTORs model, honestly. I subbed for a few months and at the end of those few months I had enough money and Cash Shop currency that I could basically purchase unlocks for all the stuff that subscription bought me (ie extra bags, AH slots, etc.). So, overall, I felt like it was a pretty good value because I can now just hop on there once every few weeks whenever I need to wave a lightsaber around a bit, and I don't have to pay a sub for that. This is really what makes F2P more flexible in the long run. There are just too many good games coming out to expect anyone to remain subscribed to any one game for too long. However, if you leave the door open, they'll continue to play and maybe toss you a bone once and a while too. 

     

    Even with straight-up F2P games, if you were to invest $15 a month, I think that you'd be doing quite well in the majority of games out there today. So what defines steep? 

     

     

    Crazkanuk

    ----------------
    Azarelos - 90 Hunter - Emerald
    Durnzig - 90 Paladin - Emerald
    Demonicron - 90 Death Knight - Emerald Dream - US
    Tankinpain - 90 Monk - Azjol-Nerub - US
    Brindell - 90 Warrior - Emerald Dream - US
    ----------------

  • GruugGruug Chillicothe, ILPosts: 1,311Member Uncommon

    I still do not understand why people just do not get the whole "nothing is free"....especially in a so-called f2p MMO. Just because one person plays a so-called f2p game without paying, does not mean someone (or many someones) are not paying for that single "free" player. And to be able to pay for that single player, the people paying are actually paying MORE for what they want. That is the reason the f2p model will not work and ultimately will fall apart. That is if people just stop and think that is.

     

    Let's party like it is 1863!

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