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General Discussion 

News & Features Discussion  » General: Why the F2P Trend Won’t Last

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103 posts found

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 651

11/10/11 8:20:39 PM#61

I think WoW took EQ, changed a bunch of stuff, and made a very profitable game. Later games focused mostly on what WoW changed and didn't think about what stayed the same. So (imo) games have been progressively honing the achiever experience while ignoring the stickiness aspect of the games and subscription games need stickiness.

So a lot of games were designed for p2p but didn't hit that neccessary stickiness. Games like that can make more money from f2p and churn. I think that's cool as an insurance policy for good games that just didn't have enough of that magic stickiness ingredient but it's made some people see f2p as the best model. The trouble with that is if a game is designed for f2p from the beginning then it's designed for churn. It doesn't need to try and prevent it. That's the big design difference.

(This is less true if the f2p game is competing in a market that still has a lot of sticky sub games. The design shift will only become really obvious if games designed for longterm subs disappear and the f2p games drop to lowest common denominator.)

I think the best model is to design for p2p but focus more on what causes game stickiness and less of polishing the linear achiever experience, as that can be re-arranged to fit, and then have f2p as an insurance plan.

(Also some games could specifically use f2p players as a way of enhancing their sub game e.g. an RvR game using f2p players as a mercenary faction to balance faction numbers if one side is outnumbered.)



Joined: 3/06/09
Posts: 3631

Poacher killer.

11/10/11 8:26:59 PM#62
Originally posted by moosecatlol

Because human beings are intelligent sentient life forms that learn from their mistakes? OH WAIT, NOPE!


Well, we are sentient... Queue the crickets.

"Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb



Joined: 10/04/08
Posts: 6182

Girlfriends come and go but Epic battles are Soulbound

11/10/11 8:35:07 PM#63

I really don't think p2p will dominate the market in the future but its not going to go away also.

there are a few factors that is causing sub games to go the f2p route.  One is that the games in question had serious flaws in quality & overall content.  But one of the biggest factors is the lack of time sinks or as most people like to call grind.   Players are getting to end content way faster now days and the end is a hallow shell of a game.  Developers connot keep up with content vs speed of leveling.

Velika: City of Wheels: Among the mortal races, the humans were the only one that never built cities or great empires; a curse laid upon them by their creator, Gidd, forced them to wander as nomads for twenty centuries...


Novice Member

Joined: 12/17/03
Posts: 345

11/10/11 8:42:23 PM#64

So, after a million words to read, I just have one thing to say: It's all in perception. As long as players think they are getting something for nothing, there will be F2P.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 957

11/10/11 9:18:02 PM#65

The article is spot on in terms of why so many games jump to F2P so rapidly, its pretty bad when the quality, content, depth, and design are so poor.


My great hope with F2P & Freemium is that it opens the door enough for more indie developers to have a go in this space, there are many very innovative and popular indie games & successfull studios around & I think these same creative people could work wonders in the MMO space.


Advanced Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 651

11/10/11 9:19:57 PM#66
Originally posted by stayontarget

I really don't think p2p will dominate the market in the future but its not going to go away also.

there are a few factors that is causing sub games to go the f2p route.  One is that the games in question had serious flaws in quality & overall content.  But one of the biggest factors is the lack of time sinks or as most people like to call grind.   Players are getting to end content way faster now days and the end is a hallow shell of a game.  Developers connot keep up with content vs speed of leveling.


I think that's along the same lines as what i'm calling stickiness. It seems really simple but i think one of the big things that changed was moving away from having lots of very distinctive start zones. WoW kept that from EQ but i think other games only looked at what WoW *changed* and started to drop it. Lots of distinctive start zones and races equals lots more  alts which equals time. That's just one example.

If you think about it most players don't start a game and then play it non-stop for years. They play it for x months then take a break for y months, rinse and repeat.

So say you have a game with 120,000 subs where the average player plays for 6 months and quits for 3 in a repeating pattern then in reality your total number of "subscribers" is actually 180,000 but only 2/3 are subbed at any one time.

The same game with an x and y of 6 months each might have the same total subscriber base of 180,000 but only 90,000 playing at one time.

The same game with an x of 3 and y of 9 with the same total subscriber base would only have 45,000 playing at one time.

So p2p games need to focus on increasing the x value and reducing the y value for different types of player.


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/27/09
Posts: 5424

11/10/11 10:20:41 PM#67
This is why I think F2P is anecdote.

Imagine that a fresh new designer comes out with a purse and prices it at $500. The purse doesn't reach massive success but becomes beloved by a small "cult" of people.

After this, other designers come out with purses that are somewhat similar to the original, but have many differences as well. Maybe one new purse is marketed towards youngsters, and other towards mature women. All of these purses are priced $500 as well, and they sell reasonably well within their targeted market.

Now imagine that Gucci comes out with a $500 purse that is a smash hit. Everyone wants one, and even folks that weren't purse enthusiants get one.

After this, a bunch of smaller designers try to mimic Gucci's success by coming out with $500 purses that are extremely similar to the Gucci purse but not quite as good. Maybe the leather isn't supple enough, or the labels aren't as prestigious. Either way, the new purses just can't as good as the original they are based on.

Now, do you think these new purses would sell for $500? The answer is a resounding no. People are not going to buy a knock off for the same price as the original.

So in order for the knock-offs to sell, they have to be priced CHEAPER than the original. Someone may be inclined to buy a knock-off Gucci purse for $200, but definitely not $500.

This is essentially what happened with F2P.

WoW (Gucci) released a game that was a smash hit. Other companies tried to mimic its success by copying it, but were always inferior to WoW. So what's the only way they can make a profit? Lower their price...or at least lower their perceived price. Enter F2P.

Are you team Azeroth, team Tyria, or team Jacob?


Novice Member

Joined: 4/22/06
Posts: 847

11/10/11 10:33:38 PM#68

The name of the game is content quantity. If a game doesnt have a lot, it fails. It has to be good as well of course, but even though they dont know it, people would rather have 100 hours of good content rather than 20 hours hours of awesome content if they are playing the same price.


thats why Guild Wars 1 worked. It'd loaded with so much content.

Thats why City of Heroes worked for so long, it has a ton

Thats what games like Champions Online and DCUO went F2P so fast.


Game devs just make half assed stuff with great graphics, the content is on the short side, the cut corners on content and gameplay, the content itself is mediocre at best on average. Then on top of that, they sell DLC that should have been a part of the complete package. That statement gets thrown around a lot, but it's obviously the case with a lot of games. What I find funny though is that a lot of games just have DLC that get thrown out there, then the game just never updates again. No bug fixes, no DLC price changes, nothing. Its abandoned.


This is why indie games are on the rise. Because they actually care about what they're making. They aren't some graduate making someone else's game. They're making somthing they can be proud of without some greedy slimey publisher breathing down their neck.


Its also why companies like Capcom keep making decent games since they publish a lot of their own stuff.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/30/06
Posts: 15

11/10/11 11:04:36 PM#69

Everything in life is about opinion, it is the same thing when you go to the store and buy something. its not because it is either worse or good just because one person opinion stated that it is good and it offers this and this feature and from there you see everyone grabbing it. Its all about marketing strategy so that everyone will follow the trend. Other mmorpg are not there to kill the other or take the other place it is more  each mmorpg have their own appeals and their own crowd.  No mmorpg are better or worst.  So if you decide today to do anything make sure you have the mind at the right place and your head on your shoulder, so that when a reviewer will probably discredit  it that you can still have your opinion about unchanged.  Be happy to play  something you like the same way you will confortable to buy a car  or a tablet that you can afford not just because  something is free or is pay to play that it is that good. 


       So in today trend everything is a copy of something else, but that copy doesnt work like the one it copied. In the mmorpg world nothing is really a copy of the other one since  basically they all have the same purpose, Entertainment, many people online at the very same and playing at the same time as you and doing the very same thing you you do.

For 7 years people has been playing the same game over and over getting to lvl 80 or 85 and never actually take break and say  they will want to try something new, or when they actually do is to either find something wrong with it or find the new thing repetitives and so on, but before that for 7 years we've all been doing the routing and never actually get enough of it .  We are in 2011 almost 2012 no longer in 2004 it is time to leave the routine and actually think differently be different do other things buy different things make your own style and play style. 

Everyone hast their own style own choices, if you like WOW try it, if you enjoy rift more try it, or if you want novelty either gw2 or SWTOR or anything that is free to play jump in and dont stop. the world is out to be conquered by individuals not by mere opinions.


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 7/09/11
Posts: 2233

May the game be ever in your favor.

11/10/11 11:42:12 PM#70

I'll have to completely disagree with you as I quit Rift after trying it's free trial.

I didn't even finish the free trial before I quit too because I thought it was such an aweful game.

I mean seriously the games niche is the rifts which I find more annoying then fun as they interupt quests and travel routes.

The events are horrible as they happen way more than they should blocking the whole map with rifst and mob raids, and even main cities that have been taken over by mobs (it's clear just from this that there aren't even enough players to support the games events as I saw more than three times the same city taken over by mobs and having to wait for it to reset as no one was coming to clear it out).

The mobs are horrid because even if you're ten levels above them they still will aggro you making exploration in Rift completely void.

Even though they have mounts it's still bad because one to two hits and you get knocked off your mounts!

Also the games storyline is just plain boring.

I quit WoW but I will totally disagree with anyone who says that Rift is better and more polished than WoW.

When playing Rift I also get this feeling that I'm playing all kinds of other games at the same time meaning it's been done a hundred times before and is just plain boring.

Feel free to disagree, but these are just my opinions.



Novice Member

Joined: 10/22/08
Posts: 18

11/11/11 2:54:36 AM#71


more like impossible to play (or made intentionally difficult) so that you become forced to buy from there item mall. It's a bit like virtual date-rape.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/08/11
Posts: 138

11/11/11 3:30:13 AM#72

I believe FTP is only good for the occasional gaming experience and niche games, like I don't want to spend money for the subscription each month, though I occasionally play AVA for its great shooter-PvP experience (IMHO it is much better vs. Counter Strike). I've also purchased a few guns from the shop - it is still much cheaper vs. buying a game and paying subscriptions. AVA is actually a good example of the FTP game, where you can get powerful weapons for free, still they are always adding new guns to the game (not really more powerful, but just different) so you would like to buy one just out of curiousity and admiration. This is not really my favourite game (I would spend more time playing some other MMO) - and FTP suits me perfectly there... )) There is no overcrowded issue either, since AVA is a niche game for the old style hardcore shooting much like in CS.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/08/10
Posts: 1066

11/11/11 5:45:06 AM#73

Of course free to play will last . Most mmos arn't good enough to be sustained by a monthly subscription from the offset and need what amounts to a really long endless free trial to get people into them . I have no problem at all with the western DDO model its perfect for the casual gamer and you can still subsribe if you wish in the traditional way . I don't like the eastern model though which souly relys on cash shops . But they are two completly different systems which some people dont seem to understand .

What I would have prefered to see was more competitive pricing in mmos I argued years ago that some if some games offered lower monthly subscriptions they may do better only to get many in these forums saying they would pay even more than the standard sub and no mmo should ever cut its monthly fee . It never ceases to amaze me how short on common sence some people in these forums appear to be .

I bet they would have preferd lower subs to the free to play now . Something had to change anyone could see that but a lot of mmo gamers are a dogmatic bunch .


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/09/06
Posts: 8156

“No path is darker then when your eyes are shut.” -Flemeth

11/11/11 6:46:12 AM#74

I very much agree to the article. F2P is mostly a reaction on MMO aging or games, like DCUO, who miserably failed and take it as last chance to survive. What we need indeed is quality.

People don't ask questions to get answers - they ask questions to show how smart they are. - Dogbert


Novice Member

Joined: 11/26/06
Posts: 348

DOS 6.22 - fuzzy memories...

11/11/11 6:59:29 AM#75

I thought you were also going to mention the fact that, when D&DO became free, it was THE polished, AAA title that was free to play, and it was natural that it received all those players back then. But as time goes by and more and more AAA MMOs become F2P, there'll eventually be a saturation - and then only fun & quality will prevail.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 34

Eyes that look are common. Eyes that see are rare.

11/11/11 7:18:41 AM#76

This issue is really about business and you either understand the business of it or you don't. Regardless if you hate capitalism and think people should just make products for free and not advertise for them to turn a profit, I'll say it once and I'll say it again: a business exists for the purpose of making a profit. To that end, many things need to be done including advertising and implementing a viable business model.

F2P is a business model and one that is more viable than P2P because it offers its consumer base choice. And in any business venture, choice is king. Players want more control and you give them that, the chances that they will, in the very least, try a game, goes up a hundredfold.

It's like the music industry. When it became apparent that the digital age made paying for the music you actually wanted possible instead of paying for a whole CD that had only three songs you liked, people jumped on that like white on rice. It decimated CD sales which has seen a steady decline ever since. So, the industry had to come up with a different business plan because it was here to stay. Same with F2P.

F2P's shake up of of the industry is scary to some, so they attack it having little knowledge about how it works. People who do not like change will make all kinds of excuses why everything should stay the way that it is. But that's normally what they are. Excuses, not legitimate reasons.

All that being said, F2P does not make a wack game better. Coming out with a good product is a given. If you don't have a quality product, it's not going to last no matter what. I think everyone agrees with that. But saying that a long lasting game that goes F2P can't sustain it's subscriber base is another example of someone who doesn't understand F2P. Many of these companies have paid off their investors and have a solid subscriber base. They're already making a profit. However, more profit brings in more money for the game to be developed and if F2P can do that for them, there's nothing wrong with giving it a shot. They certainly have nothing to lose. They've already proven the game can make money, especially if they've been around for a long time.

So, whether you like it or night, f2P is going to be here for a while until a better business model comes along. For those who don't like that, it's noothing personal. It's just business.

CoH Supergroup: The Millennium Paladins

  User Deleted
11/11/11 7:23:01 AM#77

The movement of F2P appears to be changing, not going fact it's increasing.

Free to Play, Pay to Excel seems to be the next model so would that be F2P/P2E? LOL

Low barrier to entry, once you've committed to the game, then you can pay and get normal sub perks.  What's nice about this model is that it keeps new players flowing into the game and also makes it easy for your friends/kids try a game out or at least play casually from time to time.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/09/11
Posts: 1334

To busy playing GW2 to post much around here... *shrug*

11/11/11 8:51:01 AM#78
Originally posted by MMOtoGO

The movement of F2P appears to be changing, not going fact it's increasing.

Free to Play, Pay to Excel seems to be the next model so would that be F2P/P2E? LOL

Low barrier to entry, once you've committed to the game, then you can pay and get normal sub perks.  What's nice about this model is that it keeps new players flowing into the game and also makes it easy for your friends/kids try a game out or at least play casually from time to time.

 Pay to excel? Why don't we just call it what it often turns into: pay2win. Another downside with f2p is that they'll often nerf players with every patch to force them (more or less gently, usually less) towards the cash shop to keep on playing like they are used to playing. Always looking over your shoulder, thinking 'what are they going to do next to twist my arm into paying now?".

On the upside, free to play casually, no box price to try the game, no monthly fees...

If there is a sub option, then you should really call it Freemium since that's more like a limited trial. Some F2P games go for a very rude bait and switch, most do it more gradually.


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/26/10
Posts: 2034

11/11/11 8:52:15 AM#79

Originally posted by Naral

Meh. Not sure what to think. Of all my friends playing MMORPGs right now, none of them are playing a F2P game.  Every single person I know tries them for a week or two, then walks, never quite happy. 

For me, games that are F2P always have the feel that something is lacking. Maybe it's just my own dislike coming through.

Now, GW2 I put in a different class.  Buying the original box at a premium to pay for the production value you are getting is a whole different animal than say, Allods. 



I agree, this industry desperately needs more room in it for buy to play with optional expansion purchases at reasonably paced intervals.  Both the sub model and the free to play/freemium models annoy me in ways buy to play does not.

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.

~Albert Einstein


Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1835

11/11/11 9:56:25 AM#80

There is nothing really controversial about your arguement. In fact, I think it's pretty much spot on...and really only represents common sense from a business perspective.

The simple fact is that the audience for MMO's is very diverse and has a wide variety of tastes and interests. Something that appeals to one segment of it is going to turn off another. In a market with little competition that might mean much and trying to appeal to (what you percieve) as the largest segment may work just fine. In a saturated market where there is lots of competition, companies that are successfull are those that tend to find an underserved segment  within that market and cater to thier tastes better then anyone.

Payment models are just like anything else, people have preferences...based upon thier individual circumstances. Some folks love going on a vacation and paying ala-carte for just what they want....others can't stand that and love the idea of all-inclusives or all access passes where they can relax and enjoy the vacation as much as they want without thinking about money.  With automobiles...some folks will only Lease...others only want to buy and will never Lease, some folks only want to get new cars, others will only buy used.

Other industries realize that customers don't come in just one shape and size......and vendors exist to meet the preferences of that diversity of customers.

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