Free to play MMORPGs are here to stay. Some nay-sayers still complain about the poor content and quality of service provided in F2P games but recent releases like Runes of Magic, Perfect World and Atlantica Online have shown the world what ‘free’ is capable of. The success of these titles prove that the micro transaction model can work both in Asia and here in the West. The only question that I have is why are so many free to play titles are RPGs?
After RPGs, the next most popular genre of free to play games is FPS (first person shooter.) Here too the success of the model is self evident. Nexon’s Combat Arms has a large playerbase from which it profits by selling slightly more powerful guns and accessories for a small fee. Almost every major free to play publisher either FPS game already available or is in the process of releasing one. IJJI, which already hosts Soldier Front and GunZ: The Duel is soon to release Huxley, a FPS built on the Unreal 3 engine. Even a major Western publisher has gotten the message. EA’s Battlefield Heroes is currently in beta testing and will be released as a free-to-play shooter.
Before I continue, I should mention that racing games are also well represented in the free to play space. Realistic racing games like Project Torque and cartoony racers like Tales Runner and Kart n Crazy are already free to download and play. But what about action adventure titles or platformers? What I would really like to see is more experimentation with all genres rather than sticking with the few tried and true staples. So far it has been Eastern developers doing most of the innovating in the free to play market and that trend seems likely to continue. Hopefully the major studios will soon wake up and the see writing on the wall. How cool would it be if the next major Ubisoft or Activision Blizzard title was entirely free to play?