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Are Free MMOs Taking over The Market?

Posted by AndyLee Friday September 19 2008 at 4:23AM
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The free MMORPG market is growing at an incredible pace and now there are hundreds free MMORPGS for players to choose from. As the competition becomes unprecedentedly intensive, developers have to keep improving their games in order to survive in the industry. The once wide quality gap between the free MMO and the P2P MMO is fading away. More and more players are used to “the free lunch”. They stop their subscription of P2P MMOs and shift to different free new games constantly. So, will the free MMO completely dominate the market in a near future?

As the P2P MMOs tend to have superior graphics and elaborate quest system, they are for the hardcore gamers who are willing to pay a monthly fee and spend several hours on the game every day. However, for those causal players who play game less intensively, the subscription is not good value for money. Therefore, the free MMO is an alternative choice for gamers who just play games occasionally and want to save money. Also, when there is no new content to hooking players into the old game, players will probably just leave to a new game. The massive amount of free to play MMOs are placing great pressure on P2P games.

Critics always complain about free MMOs’ lack of storyline and cheesy graphics. However, as I said before, MMOs are all about social interaction. Most “casual gamers” don’t give a damn about splendorous graphics, deep and intensive libraries of lore or epic length quests. They just want a virtual community where they can meet people, customize their characters, make friends, and go PVP. Conquer Online for example, as a free MMORPG which was published 5 years ago, has poor graphics and storyline. However, with the decent community design and vivid Chinese culture, Conquer Online still is one of the most popular F2P MMORPGs. The number of registered is still growing even under today’s intensive competition.

Conquer Online's Avatar Design Event

   

In conclusion, I don’t think free model will replace the subscription model completely as major developers will still control the hardcore gamer’s market. But F2P is becoming the mainstream business model of the industry and it indeed lets more players enjoy the fun of MMOs.

Vyeth writes:

I'd say that the "most" hardcore players are on F2P's due to their grinding nature and pretty much "Pay to survive" atmospheres.

In a P2P you cannot pay to be better than someone, thats the defining difference in the models.. Some people would rather pay to increase their chances of winning and some pay ALOT of money to do so. Much more than a 15 dollar a month subscription.

Fri Sep 19 2008 9:22AM Report
Mordoth writes:

I hope not, but as it is they seem to be cranking out more and more very quickly.  Most are sub-par in quality and the one's I have actually tried to play I was not even able to get logged in.

Fri Sep 19 2008 9:54AM Report
toddze writes:

well Vyeth there are many, many gold buyers out there these days. It must be big business because every MMO has countless cgf, and cgf spam tells. So imo theres people who pay alot more on buying gold for the P2P games than there are people buying stuff in F2P games.

Fri Sep 19 2008 10:50AM Report
Resin213 writes:

 I like the AO model. Free to try pay for core content with extra money from in-game advertising, in fairly un-obtrusive manners, billboards and what not. Its nice to be able to preveiw games before laying down a huge chunk of change on them.

Fri Sep 19 2008 11:28AM Report
Meridion writes:

F2P games are 90% games where you have to buy ingame things for real money. This is a question of mindset and continent. 80% of the F2P games are asian. Because asians are used to and tolerate grind, low-quest-quality and ingame-shop itemization.

Whereas western players tend to go for fixed monthly costs and low grind games. This guaranteed evened out conditions for all players. It's a matter of cultural influence spheres.

 

Sat Sep 20 2008 2:56AM Report
DocSpencer writes:

I actually think payed MMOs are going to die out in the next 10 or so years. I play the free MMO Perfect World International, it's been translated to english now and it is amazing. The graphics are some of the best out there if you put em on the highest setting and the quests are pretty good. There is even a great storyline, like a "big picture" kind of quest. Most payed games can't even compare to this free one and there's more ones like it out there. They are taking over the MMo industry.

Sat Sep 20 2008 6:06AM Report

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