Given al lthe interest in F2P models recently I thought perhaps a big company who has invested a lot of money in making an AAA title may transition or at least provide incentive to attract the F2P players with game rebates.
The benefits of a rebate are (and I am sure there are more to this because I am no MMO businessman):
- The game can be marketed as free to play. You give me money now, and a few weeks (read : months) of processing will go by and I will send you a rebate for the box.
- Loyalty builder (sort of) - If you have my money I am more likely to get my money's worth. Therefore the game exposure to the player is improved. It may be harder to shelve the game after three days because the player didn't like the tutorial levels/ experience.
- Cash Flow. Many businesses have a money market account of similar where cash can be moved in and out yet generates some interest. Inflate that account with initial payments may build some interest which the company can keep.
- Compliance : It is a fact of life. Some people are just not driven enough to fill out or send in a rebate coupon.
- Flexible in terms. A rebate on the game? A rebate in subscriptions? A rebate in the MMO Shop Credit? Lots of angles are open to make a game "free to play".