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News & Features Discussion  » General: New Report Reveals Declining MMO Subscription Revenue

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78 posts found


Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 17123

"what a boring life, HATING everything" -Gorilla Biscuits

9/20/11 9:44:58 AM#61
Originally posted by Ceridith

It's always baffled me why so many gamers enjoy playing games where they have to pay more to get less in a F2P game, and then turning around and berate subscription games for being 'too expensive'.

Can't argue with that one bit.

For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me


Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/08/08
Posts: 1

9/20/11 10:28:40 AM#62

Well in my opinion these games that claim to be "F2P" are nothing but micro transaction scams.. This gaming model has made me kinda sick to my stomach. F2P is not F2P at all. In games like LOTRO where you get more of a trial than full freedom to play the game, most F2P game come with a subscription premium the same price as you were paying regular sub, only the F2P player gets limited this and that pretty much forcing you to pay anyway.

Most F2P games players will end up getting the premium because lack of content they can enter and lack of bank space or bag space or available items to them like mounts and such. These companies are taking advantage of us as customers and gamers alike. Selling items of specal value that may improve gameplay and games that sell items with advantages is just wrong.

I fully support P2P games such as WoW, yes they have a micro store but the items sold or services there do not affect gameplay. I would rather pay $15 a month than pay the $15 and then have to buy other items that come out every week that change gameplay.

Lets take All Points Bulletin for example, they restrict your contact standing and money earned after matches if you are F2P by so much that you need premium to get anywhere, then they sell overpowered guns on the Market for upards of 30$ each and also cars are 20$ each and you may rent guns for 30 day or longer. This is just wrong to do, I think that they would make more in the long run just having a sub based game, more people would play and more money would come in.

This increase in money is due to a short spurt in spending by customers to get certain items in games.. then they get annoyed because they have spent hundrends of dollars on a 50$ game. The sub base is just better in my opinion.

Free to Play really isn't Free at all. My grandfather used to say, "Nothing in life is Free." You will end up paying for it one way or another.

The F2P is just an advertizing ploy to get people in then they tell them they can't do this or that without premium and then they end up buying to play.. it's just a company saying "hey, we failed at making the game good enough for people to pay so we will say it's Free to play and then make it like a trial version then they will pay to play it past the tutorial, hah we will make or money back in no time!"

Sub based games are just better overall.



Elite Member

Joined: 7/02/11
Posts: 2150

9/20/11 10:38:56 AM#63

I don't think they ever mentioned that the decline could be due to the lower quality overall of recent MMO releases, did they?  Most likely the issue is due to lazy developers wanting easy cash rather than the payment model itself.  People are willing to pay for content that is actually fun and even more importantly, targeted at their play style.  They will leave or even pass up on a game that does neither.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/06
Posts: 367

9/20/11 10:39:42 AM#64
Originally posted by elocke

Didn't a good portion of previously sub only games switch to FTP models?  thereby decreasing how many games even HAVE a subscription based income?  This is a misleading article.


Murders in small, mid-west town last year: 0

Murders in small, mid-west town this year: 1



Novice Member

Joined: 4/26/05
Posts: 414

9/20/11 10:59:43 AM#65

I expect game quality to decline.  We'll not see mmorpgs on the level of warcraft in the future if they're designed from the start with the f2p model in mind.  F2p kills quality.  You have to design the game with differently.  You can't say person x will have that particular quest or weapon by level 10 because person x may not buy it.  So games will be dumbed down to appease the simple minded masses that will leap onto the f2p bandwagon.

Instead of developers receiving predicted revenue monthly (i.e.  1 million people x 15.00 = 15,000,000) they will have no idea what they'll get with microtransactions (pay as you play) so the desparation level to skew the game mechanics toward money gain will be high.  Quality will suffer. 

With f2p developers and publishers win, you lose.


There will come a day when people will remember when games used to be deep and fun while they suffer through the latest shallow f2p.


I'm glad I got out of mmorpgs.  Now I play single player console games.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/26/05
Posts: 414

9/20/11 11:06:17 AM#66
Originally posted by Distopia
Originally posted by Ceridith

It's always baffled me why so many gamers enjoy playing games where they have to pay more to get less in a F2P game, and then turning around and berate subscription games for being 'too expensive'.

Can't argue with that one bit.

I've been saying that forever.  Its very true.

You'll spend more in a f2p for the same experience you get in a p2p.  F2p games are more expensive to play and people berate p2p games because of the "expensive" monthly fee.

As I mentioned before, with f2p games developers and publishers win, you lose.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/10/11
Posts: 53

9/20/11 1:19:13 PM#67

I have no idea whether this has been mentioned earlier or not, but I have to seriously question the value of this report's ocnclusions.

Looking at the data included in the report, it seems to be completely missing the entire Asian sector, and the North american / European data only goes back to 2007.

Also, there doesn't seem to be any attempt to correlate this data against broader economic data. Without that, you would be a fool as an investor to bet money based on this report and a fool as a gamer to draw any conclusions from it.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/28/06
Posts: 429

9/20/11 1:27:58 PM#68

Personally I think that  if games are going to microtransactions and F2P. We shouldn't have to go premium for the 14.99 a month. Premium price should be like $4.99 a month and you know people will do microtransactions. We already pay once why make us pay again. Or if by paying $14.99 a month we also accrue currency to use at the micro transactions shops. F2P is great for the games it is getting more revenue overall but to put 14.99 ontop of it to get more content is ridiculious. Games should just sell thier gold too to get rid of the gold sellers. Just because it is there though doesn't mean you have to purchase it.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/25/05
Posts: 787

Live and Learn.. Then Die and forget it all.

9/20/11 1:57:37 PM#69

Originally posted by UrzaElent

Well I would take any of this with a grain of salt. I mean really, we've been in a rescission for what now 2-3 years and just about every state but a handful have had high unemployment  for almost the same amount of time. No industry is making nearly as much money as they did  before all this hit the fan. It just makes sense that the hobby/entertanment sectors are the hardest hit. Just look at the money from the theater/movie industry and how low its dropped compare to previous years. As someone that works in retail this is no surprise at all.

When you have millions unemployed and millions more praying they are still employed by the time the holidays come around like the about 100k plus from the post office that may or may not have jobs come christmas and the fact that some mmo devs came up 5% short this year seems silly at the least. I love my hobby. I've been an avid gamer since before some of these posters were even born but if I had to pick anyone to lose money it would have to be the gaming industry. There are just way too many other things to be worried about right now and other places where my money can be better spent. 



Totally Agree!

Out of every 100 men, 10 should not be there,
80 are nothing but targets, 9 are the real fighters.
Ah, but one, ONE of them is a warrior,
and he will bring the others home.
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Novice Member

Joined: 12/23/07
Posts: 169

9/20/11 9:19:21 PM#70

I think microtransactions are the way to go. Let's take a big example: World of Warcraft, which is rapidly losing subscriptions, and keeping few new subscriptions for anything more than a short period.

In today's market, when people are keeping their wallet close, and their checkbook closer, who's willing to shell out $20 to buy the box game, and then after that, $15 a month? And don't forget about another $20 for an expansion, and $20 for another expansion, and $30 for another expansion. It just doesn't make sense, unless the buyer seriously thinks he or she will be playing for a very, very long time (but if they follow MMORPG news, they probably don't). I mean, I thought I'd like World of Warcraft when I was younger, but after using one trial, I decided that I liked other MMOs, particularly Guild Wars, infinitely better. Good thing I didn't buy the game. Also good thing I waited until trials became boxed with every Blizzard game (got mine when I got Starcraft: Brood War, which I got later than everyone else).


Novice Member

Joined: 3/22/07
Posts: 67

9/21/11 4:56:45 AM#71

Originally posted by EverSkelly

Originally posted by itgrowls

brings in revenue, that actually gives more money to the devs so they can churn out more content


You meant, even more cash shop items instead of a real content.

If its a subscription model, devs need to put gameplay content in order for people to be interested and pay subscription.

If it's a F2P, devs add more and more cash shop items instead of a game world content, because it's cash shop items that make money in f2p, not a subsriptions


Couldn't have said it better.    


Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 8004

9/21/11 5:38:42 AM#72

Originally posted by Requiamer
Well mmo market is in real bad shape now, its like 3 to 4 year already that no really good game boosted those numbers. So the number begin to show the decline.

But imo f2p isn't a very good model either because it cannot finance large projects.

What goes up, must go down at some point, sooner or later.

This has nothing to do with 'no really good game boosting those numbers'. Online video game entertainment was, and still is, new industry so the rapid growth we have seen for past years is nothing unnatural. I would say we are experiencing 'consolidation' period now when the industry is adapting changes in game design as well as business models.

Imo, simpler games, probably with cross platform support, and shorter production cycle will be released - WoT is shiny example how new generation of games could look like.

This goes perfectly well with F2P model. F2P isn't bad model just because it is not suited for large projects. I would be very surprised if we see increasing trend in large budget games but if so, box fee + subscription + paid expansions + cash shop would be reasonable to expect considering the budgets such titles take.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/07/05
Posts: 3167

9/21/11 6:13:34 AM#73
Originally posted by Dave08

Originally posted by EverSkelly

You meant, even more cash shop items instead of a real content.

If its a subscription model, devs need to put gameplay content in order for people to be interested and pay subscription.

If it's a F2P, devs add more and more cash shop items instead of a game world content, because it's cash shop items that make money in f2p, not a subsriptions


Couldn't have said it better.    


Why do you assume cash shops don't offer gameplay content?  Unlockable areas, like in AoC or LOTRO?  I'd call unlockable classes and races "gameplay content" too, and don't mind seeing devs working on adding stuff like that.  Cash shops don't have to be all xp potions and neon hair dyes.  


They can be more like DLC expansion stuff, and as such, can give devs more money and incentive to add gameplay content.  As opposed to a sub, where they get the same amount from everyone, no matter what they add.  Sure, they lose subs if they don't add anything, but that can seem more intangible, when they're losing subs for any number of other reasons at the same time.  


Without the direct connection of purchasable content, publishers are more likely to cut their development funding, putting the game into a maintanence mode where they barely have the resources to regularly patch bugs and balance issues.


When I want a single-player story, I'll play a single-player game. When I play an MMO, I want a massively multiplayer world.


Novice Member

Joined: 3/16/04
Posts: 340

9/21/11 6:50:07 AM#74
Originally posted by Vhaln   


Why do you assume cash shops don't offer gameplay content?  Unlockable areas, like in AoC or LOTRO?  I'd call unlockable classes and races "gameplay content" too, and don't mind seeing devs working on adding stuff like that.  Cash shops don't have to be all xp potions and neon hair dyes.   


 Well, yes, but in a F2P they usually put stuff to the cash shop, not to the game world.

Basically in F2P they just remove some content from a game and put it in a cash shop. They create artificial problems in game to take away fun and enjoyment, and then sell solutions for these problems in cash shops.

They make leveling slow and painfull grind, but sell exp potions.

They give the ability to enhance your gear, but you can fail and destroy the gear or enhancement item. You can buy non-fail ones in cash shop though.

They create zones, but lock them. Want to exp in that exciting zone? Buy the zone in cash shop. 

They create new races and classes, but you can't play them. Buy in cash shop.

And so on. Not even talking about armor and weapons.


Novice Member

Joined: 3/10/06
Posts: 875

Spelling and grammar do matter.I find your lack of real-life skills disturbing.

9/21/11 9:58:25 AM#75

Originally posted by EverSkelly


They create zones, but lock them. Want to exp in that exciting zone? Buy the zone in cash shop. 

They create new races and classes, but you can't play them. Buy in cash shop.


Sorry, I'm not really seeing how putting them on the in-game cash shop is so different from selling expansions and adventure packs on the company's web store or in retail boxes.



Joined: 8/14/07
Posts: 4933

9/21/11 10:10:59 AM#76
Originally posted by Kyleran
Originally posted by Sulaa

Yeah article is bit biased.  Subscription overall revenue dropped because some games went F2P and apart of Rift there weren't any AAA or decent sub game in long time.  


Try to shift few popular F2P games into P2P model and you will have less MT revenue and more sub revenue , it is that simple.


Situation in article is merely reflection of some game companies decision and not becasue suddenly sub games are going down :/

Going forward in the future it's going to be harder and harder to distinguish between the two models, with most titles employing some sort of hybrid.

Take EQ 2 Extended, is it a F2P game?  Yes, you can go with a bronze sub and only do cash shop purchases.  But wait, you can buy a gold sub and pay a monthly 15.00 fee.  In fact, don't most other recent F2P conversions such as LOTRO also offer a sub model?  So where exactly do their revenues fall?


GREAT point.

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Advanced Member

Joined: 1/10/03
Posts: 626

9/23/11 7:09:47 PM#77

You also have to take into account that there have been several games that have changed from P2P (monthly fee) to F2P (item shop) which would also cut down the P2P takings and boost item shop transactions. Probably look at it and would also see the same people paying on those.

As for me, i do not use item shops, and if a game is Item shop to get anywhere at all then i do not play it (or i leave a once P2P that has gone F2P with item shops). Simple, smaller ammounts changed at one time, but over the month it would end up being alot more than the old subscription fee that game once had.

  User Deleted
9/23/11 7:34:04 PM#78
Originally posted by itgrowls

Much to the hater's shagrin the F2P model is growing because of the success of the shops, just because games have a shop doesn't instantly make them pay 2 win and hackers and exploiters are on every single game (most of which were originally sub only). So we have a game model thats fun, that brings in revenue, that actually gives more money to the devs so they can churn out more content instead of the Fail sub model. The majority has spoken, we like F2P it's here to stay. End of Line.

Well, for starters, I don't see anyone talking about the "F2P market going anywhere". Seems you are on about the wrong topic in this thread.

Second.... what "fail sub model"?

WoW is sub-based and still kicking ass all these years later.

FFXI is sub-based and chugging right along.

EQ1 is sub-based, still chugging along.

RIFT is a newer MMO that is sub-based.. doing very well.

Lineage 2, still sub-based for about 8 years now... still kickin'.

Asheron's Call 1 is sub-based and still going.

Eve Online... still sub-based. Still doing fine.

And there are many more you could add to that list - some of which have been running for close to 10 years, or longer... all on a subscription model.

Know what all those MMOs have in common? They are all played by enough people who find the $13-$15 a month is worth it. And they have enough people who feel that way to allow the games to flourish and grow.

Why do some sub-based MMOs fail? Well, the answer is already given in this thread, but it boils down to the games simply not being good enough. It has nothing to do with the subscription model being a poor payment method.

And that's really it. That's the "magic formula" for sub-based MMOs. Make a game good enough for people to want to pay a subscription.... and they'll pay a subscription, month after month, willingly.

For just one example of what happens when a game fails to do this...

Asheron's Call 2 died off years ago, long before the concept of F2P/MTs was even heard of in the Western market.. Why? Because Turbine and Microsoft made too many critical mistakes that turned off too many players who never came back. And so, the game was taken offline. Meanwhile, its older sister, Asheron's Call 1 is still alive and kicking. Why? Because Turbine created a MMO that enough people found to be worth the subscription... and still do. AC2 went offline because the game failed, not the payment model.

So where exactly is the "fail" in subscriptions? There is none. Subscriptions are a perfectly viable payment model, have been for over a decade now (in MMOs alone) and continue to be.

As has been stated: Give people a P2P MMO they find worth it, and they'll pay it. The problem has been that, besides Rift, there haven't been (m)any in the past couple years that meet that requirement.

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