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The List: Five Reasons Your MMO Should Go F2P

Columns By William Murphy on September 28, 2011

Five Reasons Your MMO Should Go F2P

It's an official trend, folks. More and more MMORPGs not made in the East are going F2P or adopting some sort of hybrid model, and we here at MMORPG.com don't see said trend stopping anytime soon.  More and more games will launch from day one with a sort of F2P revenue model, but until then the new thing seems to be all about switching your model mid-stride to one of free play and optional micro-transactions.  In a totally serious (not) List this week, we take a look at five reasons any game should think about going F2P after a successful (or not so successful) run as a subscription based title.

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Please keep in mind that this is all tongue-in-cheek.

5.) Because the Players Demand It

How many times have you been playing a game when the general chat channel fills with people just wishing the game would go free to play? I mean, it seems like every game I play these days is filled to the brim with folks suggesting it’s the best move possible.  Gosh darn it, if the world runs on supply and demand, then I’m pretty sure the hardcore MMORPG crowd is in high demand of F2P titles.  And we’d better get ‘em.

4.) Because You Have Too Many Players

It gets hard managing all those subscriptions.  The solution is simple!  Convert to F2P and never have to deal with all that silly revenue stuff again. I mean, how on earth can anyone be expected to keep track of all those subscriber numbers, activity, cancellations, multi-month purchases… the list goes on and on.  If only there were some sort of machine that could do all that number-crunching for us, then we wouldn’t need to resort to F2P models!


Oh yeah...that...

3.) Because People Love to Pay Extra for Hair

There’s another reason so many games should switch over to F2P: the cosmetic shoppers are an untapped resource for mass riches. You may think I’m kidding (read: I am), but I’m willing to bet there are more people out there dying to shell out their hard earned cash for a Rihanna hair-style than there are for a Rihanna sex-tape.  If there’s one thing MMORPGs have taught us, all people really care about is how cool their digital hero looks and whether or not their chainmail greaves make their ass look fat. 

2.) Because All the Cool Kids Are Doing It

Face it. We’re all sheep anyway.  And once one company sees success as a F2P developer, you’re all just going to jump onboard eventually anyway. I kid you not, should one day Blizzard decide to make their next big MMO a F2P venture where all you pay for is the glow that goes on your items... every other company will follow suit.  Because if High School taught us anything, if the cool kid with the baja and sweet Airwalks is crushing up Smartees and snorting them, so should you.  

1.) Because 'Hail Mary' Didn't Work

And finally, last but not least… if all else fails for your game and there’s just nothing left for you to do to keep it afloat? Might as well completely remove the barrier to entry and ask people to pay for those flattering chainmail greaves.  Because chances are, once it’s free, that’s when we’ll spend money on it.  We’ve proven this much so far with (insert game here that turned around abruptly once going F2P).

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.