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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » How well exactly does the F2P conversion work for failed P2P games?

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60 posts found
  Derros

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/16/09
Posts: 1082

6/24/12 6:03:27 PM#21
Originally posted by Vesavius
Originally posted by UsulDaNeriak
Originally posted by Vesavius
..., or does it simply exist to wring more money out of (ultimately) the same size player base on the whole?

no, your assumption is wrong. it is not the same player base. the player base is either growing (see DDO), or it is shrinking slower. also growing revenue is not guaranteed or reported so far.

 

Have you got links to support this, or are we both assuming? Have we any real proof that the loss rate is slower with F2P? Or that, ultimately, the player base will end up any bigger then under a sub?

 

I am genuinlly interested though, when did DDO add it's new servers?

 

There is a greater potential for growth with a F2P type system, simply due to a lower bar of entry, which allows people on the fence to really get into the game. 

 

Companies know that players = content in these games, so they need bodies for the people who will buy CS items to play with.  F2P players see some of the advanced stuff the cash shop, which tempts them to buy the content. 

 

Mostly its about making sure the world doesnt seem empty, (see SWTOR)

  nariusseldon

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 22588

6/24/12 7:06:10 PM#22
Originally posted by Vesavius

I guess what i am trying to say is that does F2P actually 'save' a game in the long term, or does it simply exist to wring more money out of (ultimately) the same size player base on the whole?

DDO and LOTRO both reported substantial increase (like multiple times) of the player base after going F2P.

So no .. it is not wringing more ou tof the same size player base. It is getting more players and wring money out of a small % of that.

  Azrile

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/29/08
Posts: 2615

6/24/12 7:14:59 PM#23

I think the success of F2P  has more to do with how it is done than just a matter of going F2P.   Games like AOC and EQ2 both went F2P, but their model wasn´t really to expand their playerbase as much as just to suck dollars out of a dying game.  There wasn´t a big splash about it and they were never preparing for more overall players.

DDO on the other hand was exactly the way to do it.  You give the majority of the game, but hold out some things that people will spend a few dollars here and there for.  You have enough content that players don´t get bored, but there seems to always be something new to buy.  

With AOC and EQ2, it is more like a very limited free trial, where you don´t feel like you are playing the meat of the game.  By the time you are expected to buy content, you really aren´t in love with the game yet.  WIth DDO, you can really become attached to the game and your character before you really feel them pushing you to buy more.

But to be honest, DDO is kinda sliding the last few patches.  I think they have realized their playerbase isn´t going to grow much more, so they are finding more ways to get their current players to buy more stuff, or have stuff they continually have to buy.  The first year or two they were f2p, I think they were happy with the revenues they were getting from new players.

DDO is still the best f2p out there.. if you like to have a couple different playstyles (melee vs caster etc) you can play a long long time without every even feeling like you are missing anything from a complete game.

 

  nariusseldon

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 22588

6/24/12 7:36:00 PM#24
Originally posted by Azrile

I think the success of F2P  has more to do with how it is done than just a matter of going F2P.   Games like AOC and EQ2 both went F2P, but their model wasn´t really to expand their playerbase as much as just to suck dollars out of a dying game.  There wasn´t a big splash about it and they were never preparing for more overall players.


 

Don't know about EQ2 and AOC .. but this is obviously NOT true for DDO.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/27416/Going_Free_Boosts_Turbines_DDO_Revenues_500_Percent.php

And I quote "Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited has gained over one million new players since its September 2009 launch -- as the game's paid subscriber base has more than doubled."

F2P is about expanding the player base.

  Storman1977

Novice Member

Joined: 5/06/06
Posts: 209

6/24/12 7:40:45 PM#25
Originally posted by Vesavius

I am genuinlly interested though, when did DDO add it's new servers?

 

 

Cannith and Orien were added in 2009, one just before the conversion in preparation for it and one just after because of the need for it, can't remember which was which.  Wayfinder was added in 2011.  Wayfinder was originally to be the destination server for the Euro players, but seeing as it didn't power up until several months after Codemasters shuttered the old Stormreach servers and the initial transfer put the Euro players on Ghallandra, the Euro players were already well integrated into the other seven servers and it became just like the rest.

Granted, the addition of the three servers since the conversion can't hide the fact that the game had to merge servers from 15 down to five when it was still strictly P2P.

 

  Gravarg

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 8/24/06
Posts: 3336

6/24/12 7:47:30 PM#26

I wouldn't say all P2P games that went F2P were failing.  DDO and Lotro weren't failing imho.  I have a lifetime subscription to lotro and I've played it since launch.  There wasn't ever a time where you logged in to not find a group to go do something with.  I think the switch to F2P was purely a financial oppurtunity.  The games were getting older, and they could attract more players to come play with a f2p system.  Almost all of my friends that I've met over the years in both DDO and Lotro still play, and almost all of them still have a subscription (and I think all but a few at least sub every other month or two).

 

There's no denying that more people are playing Lotro now than before it went F2P.  I mean, free is free.  You're more likely to play something if it's free instead of a game that cost money, mainly because you lose nothing if you don't like it.  F2P can be really good for most P2P games as long as it's done right.  Turbine has done the best job at transitioning to F2P.

  fenistil

Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 3016

6/24/12 8:11:47 PM#27

Just depends on a game.

Almost all had population increase, some of them a drastic increase.

 

It is to be expected sine you don't have entry barrier, at least for a little while, since most of f2p / freemium games have barrier inside of a game progress or / and convenience wise.

 

 

Still thing is about overall revvenue increase and also long-term wise.

 

DDO convert was huge success. Maybe biggest one in history of p2p - > f2p converts.   It is logical since this game is more similar to GW1 CORPG model, than to mmorpg.

 

Lotro - was succes albeit nothing close to DDO one.  First of all it was one of very few p2p games with relative healthy popualtions. Of course few least populated servers suffered population issues, but others were ok. Even when Lotro did not get ANY content for over a year (Turbine was using workforce to ready transition to F2P) population still bleeded very slowly.

Initially popualtion increase was huge, then it started to bleed again (few servers with scarcest population are bit empty again, most popular servers are packed) , nowadays is on the rise again due to very recent Lotro on Steam offering.   If it is permanent or start losing ppl again - we'll have to wait few weeks to find out.

 

AoC - big initial rush, followed by fast decrease in player base and revenues.  They are actually close to pre-F2P low levels again.

 

Earthrise - even after F2P switch noone wanted to play it and it had to shut off.

 

DCUO - huge increase. Second biggest after DDO propably.   Which proves my point = more mmorpg is a game. More it is directed to younger audiences. More instanced and more action packed it is = bigger profits from F2P will be there.  Kinda no info from SOE or anyone else how does it looks now after initial huge buzz about f2p DCUO had worn out.

 

EQ2 - moderate increase, but nothing to excite about. 

 

Those are not all games that changed, but I don't really want to look info about other ones - noone is paying me for so I don't care that much about writing about them all.

 

We still have to find out how those transitions will work out long-term in enviroment that is getting more crowded F2P / Freemium wise.

DDO had almost no competition from other western mmos that went P2P -> F2P.

 

In a year-two there will be first more valid talks about it.

Though most companies dont really have to provide us with any relevant info. No specifics.

No info about longer-term revenues, no info about paying users vs. overall user size monthly, no info about PCU, etc

 

Lot of media buzz and marketting money, small amount of facts.

 

Funcom as only (?) company that went with P2P -> F2P with big title is reporting them relatively openly + easier to read their quarterly reports cause of small number of titles they have.

It is not looking so bright, but since AoC is argueably most failed AAA f2p transition they are NOT relevant for whole f2p transitions.

 

================

 

Anyway - I am of opinion = the more an mmorpg's is lobby, fast, conveniant game - the more profits it will reap at F2P / freemium model.

More game is a 'virtual world' like - the less it will benefit from F2P thing. 

  Axehilt

Elite Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 8408

6/24/12 8:26:01 PM#28
Originally posted by Vesavius 

Surely both models require the dev to provide a 'fun' product?

P2P games need you subbing, and therefore it needs to be fun, and cash shop games need you in their game to use the shop.

Why do you think a sub game is less 'fun' then a F2P game?

Surely, generally speaking, it is true that F2P games actually tend to build in artificial barriers to make the game LESS fun in order to drive you in to their shop to buy boosts or whatever to overcome them? Those same designed barriers in a sub game would lose the dev revenue because the player would just leave, so in fact it can be said that it is in sub game's interests to be more 'fun' then the F2P ones?

Subs aren't the problem, box fees are.  Subscriptions or F2P shops make money selling fun, while an upfront fee makes money selling hype.

According to my ToR math a while back, five months after launch box revenue still made up ~65% of the total revenue.  That's an incredible incentive for a company to invest tons of money into advertising, which doesn't improve a game at all.

Also, F2P games which build barriers to fun are 'doing it wrong' and aren't going to make more money than successful F2Ps like LoL, Tribes, or SMNC, who don't prevent players from having fun but sell alternate playstyles.  I suppose you could argue that by not having access to a playstyle option that's a barrier to fun, but it's a lot different than the more significant barriers to fun you see in typical F2P MMORPGs (massive grind w/o XP potion)  But again, by hiding the fun or selling advantages you go from LoL/Tribes/SMNC ("shutup and take my money!") to World of Tanks ("Great game, but it's pay2win so you're not getting a dime.")

Current F2P MMORPGs often don't entirely fall under the latter category, but certainly there are very few of them on the market which have really well designed shops where it feels like you can pay for new playstyles and content which aren't breaking the game's balance.

"Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
"There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  Theocritus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/15/08
Posts: 3675

6/24/12 9:55:35 PM#29

    Theres little doubt that f2p saved DDO, even Turbine has stated that......IT would not be in existence today if they had not done that......Also f2p introduces a much larger base into alot of these games and quite a few become paying customers that would not have if it had stayed p2p.

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 13428

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

6/25/12 5:23:58 AM#30
Originally posted by Vesavius
Originally posted by Axehilt

The games which have posted numbers about it have consistently reported some pretty impressive revenue increases.  F2P gives a permanent increase to the flow of new installs, of course, but it doesn't change the fundamental trait of games where as they age they attract fewer players.

So the seeming main success of F2P would seem to be the more efficient milking of a small player base, rather then the attracting of a new mass audience? 1

Would it be fair to say that the only time we have seen month on month increase in player numbers is under the P2P model?2

Even ignoring the profound efgfect that cash shops have on game design, maybe this is not the bright new future that many promised..?3

1) 'Milking' is pretty much a red flag that, after all these discussions explaining it, you're probably not open to discussion, but we'll try anyway. The Average Return Per Paying User in a F2P is often less than the monthly sub fee, so the games do bring in a new mass audience. Also, considering that only 10% or so are paying, a F2P MMO has to actually have 10-15x more players than its sub-based equivalent to make the same amount of money. Yes, someone spent 2k one day in a F2P MMO somewhere. If you don't think that's a weekly or even daily occurence in WOW, you're disillusioned about the money getting spent and about how much people actually are willing to spend on hobbies in general. 

2) That's a rather interesting assessment, considering two things

- all data for the past 10 years shows that such growth a few years in (the point at which many shift to f2p) is highly unlikely, as only 2 or 3 subscription MMOs have been able to pull that off at all, let alone consistently. 

- we have regularly seen such an increase after conversion. LOTRO opened four new servers and many of the reports of success came months after the change. 

3) If your view is that evilcorpco is taking over the mindless masses and milking their money, then you have an interesting outlook on things and quite a low opinion of gamers. Unlike you, I don't consider everyone here to be a moron with complete lack of self-control. I think people will, and currently do, pay for what they enjoy in their leisure activity, and I feel that most have the common sense to stop paying for something when they no longer enjoy it. It's entirely possible that you are right, though, that everyone (except you, of course) is a complete idiot, but I don't think that's probable at all. 

There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein

  Vesavius

Old School

Joined: 3/08/04
Posts: 7834

Players come for the game, but they stay for the people- Most Devs have forgotten this.

 
OP  6/25/12 5:56:34 AM#31
Originally posted by Derros
Originally posted by Vesavius
Originally posted by UsulDaNeriak
Originally posted by Vesavius
..., or does it simply exist to wring more money out of (ultimately) the same size player base on the whole?

no, your assumption is wrong. it is not the same player base. the player base is either growing (see DDO), or it is shrinking slower. also growing revenue is not guaranteed or reported so far.

 

Have you got links to support this, or are we both assuming? Have we any real proof that the loss rate is slower with F2P? Or that, ultimately, the player base will end up any bigger then under a sub?

 

I am genuinlly interested though, when did DDO add it's new servers?

 

There is a greater potential for growth with a F2P type system, simply due to a lower bar of entry, which allows people on the fence to really get into the game. 

 

On the same note the no cost entry means that players will also leave your game faster.

After the first month, the big relaunch, I am interested in the gain to loss ratio of these converted games.

Most (almost all) seem to see diminishing returns in terms of the player base in the long term, which is suprising seeing as they are giving the client away for free.

  User Deleted
6/25/12 6:05:35 AM#32
Originally posted by Vesavius

We all hear the hyperbole of success when a previously P2P game makes the change, and we all see the odd new server or two being thrown up, but...

Can someone tell me if any F2P has consistently been forced to add new servers post launch (on an ongoing basis) as they became ever more popular? Or have all the converted P2P games that have made the shift seen exactly the same player attrition that the saw under their old model? 

 

Does the shift to F2P give ongoing growth, or does it just allow the devs of failed mainstream games to make more money off a small player base?

 

 

 

The F2P games converted have all shown impressively high profits after conversion. They have needed to add new servers on occasion to handle the large influx of new players who would otherwise never touch the titles. 

The reason they do so well are choices. Choices for any game title with multiple players and a large playerbase is always a bonus. The new modern player is the type to jump from one game to the next on any given day, F2P allows this and allows for the benefit of being able to continue where they left off much like a SPRPG without being behind their friends in progression.

The thing we are seeing is basically the companies recognizing that the demands of the tiny part of the gamer population, the so called hardcore gamers, don't really profit them as much as the (explorer, puzzle finder, gatherer, crafter, cosmetic/homeowner, RPer, casual) majority. So we are having a paradigm shift in the business of MMO's. Some people are saying the bubble is about to burst, I say it already has with the introduction of SWTOR's 2004 gaming model and companies can no longer afford to be stagnant in the industry.

  Vesavius

Old School

Joined: 3/08/04
Posts: 7834

Players come for the game, but they stay for the people- Most Devs have forgotten this.

 
OP  6/25/12 6:06:04 AM#33
Originally posted by Axehilt
Originally posted by Vesavius 

Surely both models require the dev to provide a 'fun' product?

P2P games need you subbing, and therefore it needs to be fun, and cash shop games need you in their game to use the shop.

Why do you think a sub game is less 'fun' then a F2P game?

Surely, generally speaking, it is true that F2P games actually tend to build in artificial barriers to make the game LESS fun in order to drive you in to their shop to buy boosts or whatever to overcome them? Those same designed barriers in a sub game would lose the dev revenue because the player would just leave, so in fact it can be said that it is in sub game's interests to be more 'fun' then the F2P ones?

Subs aren't the problem, box fees are.  Subscriptions or F2P shops make money selling fun, while an upfront fee makes money selling hype.

According to my ToR math a while back, five months after launch box revenue still made up ~65% of the total revenue.  That's an incredible incentive for a company to invest tons of money into advertising, which doesn't improve a game at all.

Also, F2P games which build barriers to fun are 'doing it wrong' and aren't going to make more money than successful F2Ps like LoL, Tribes, or SMNC, who don't prevent players from having fun but sell alternate playstyles.  I suppose you could argue that by not having access to a playstyle option that's a barrier to fun, but it's a lot different than the more significant barriers to fun you see in typical F2P MMORPGs (massive grind w/o XP potion)  But again, by hiding the fun or selling advantages you go from LoL/Tribes/SMNC ("shutup and take my money!") to World of Tanks ("Great game, but it's pay2win so you're not getting a dime.")

Current F2P MMORPGs often don't entirely fall under the latter category, but certainly there are very few of them on the market which have really well designed shops where it feels like you can pay for new playstyles and content which aren't breaking the game's balance.

 

You know, we were saying this here yesterday... the barrier to entry for many being the box and not the sub I mean. The sub in fact dosen't seem to be a barrier at all when you consider the sub based games that have shown ongoing growth in the past, something that converted F2P games don't seem to be able to do.

I would love to see a game launch that gave away the client for free, 1 weeks free play, and then charged for a sub (of say, £5/ month).

Nice post btw.

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 13428

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

6/25/12 6:41:57 AM#34
Originally posted by Vesavius

The sub in fact dosen't seem to be a barrier at all when you consider the sub based games that have shown ongoing growth in the past, something that converted F2P games don't seem to be able to do.

You said this a coupel times in this thread, so I'm curious what you are basing that on. Could you link sources for this?

There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein

  erictlewis

Novice Member

Joined: 11/08/08
Posts: 3067

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

6/25/12 6:48:37 AM#35
Originally posted by Vesavius

We all hear the hyperbole of success when a previously P2P game makes the change, and we all see the odd new server or two being thrown up, but...

Can someone tell me if any F2P has consistently been forced to add new servers post launch (on an ongoing basis) as they became ever more popular? Or have all the converted P2P games that have made the shift seen exactly the same player attrition that the saw under their old model? 

 

Does the shift to F2P give ongoing growth, or does it just allow the devs of failed mainstream games to make more money off a small player base?

 

 

 

The only one that I know of was Lotro, after going free to play they added like 4 servers, but that was a year ago.  DCUO is still sitting at 4 servers, and EQ2 has not added any at all, in fact folks are probably in the next few month going to be askingfor mergers.

 

  Rhypo

Novice Member

Joined: 4/07/09
Posts: 22

6/25/12 7:04:41 AM#36

idk about adding servers and stuff, but Aion (EU) is alot more fun then before F2P, lots of new players, cash shop pretty sweet nothing p2w about it...I like it, I left because of low population and it didn't seem to be worth the sub but with f2p it is alot more enjoyable.

  User Deleted
6/25/12 7:04:55 AM#37

Besides DDO and LOTRO, as every mmos reported that much of an increase. The thing is, they may be making more money, but is it even that much more? And what about games with both sub and cash shops?

  Ashen_X

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/22/10
Posts: 365

6/25/12 7:20:38 AM#38
Originally posted by Vesavius
Originally posted by UsulDaNeriak
Originally posted by Vesavius
 

 

So the seeming main success of F2P would seem to be the more efficient milking of a small player base, rather then the attracting of a new mass audience?

Would it be fair to say that the only time we have seen month on month increase in player numbers is under the P2P model?

nice saracasm, but i guess you are wrong.

all these games had a decreasing player base and not enough new players entered the game. even with fee-trials and all that stuff. obviously with F2P/Freemium more players try the game and also enough new players are willing to spend money in the shop or even subscribe premium, in order to compensate for the natural player-loss of older games.

i agree, that every type of cash-shop model is able to produce more revenue than pure P2P. however, if a game dies slower due to conversion, it was the right business decision.

 

Sarcasm? No... Honest questions and ideas in the interests of conversation.

But, anyhow, I agree... it was undoubedtly the right business decision, as in it makes more money from the same diminishing player base, but that's kind of what I am asking.

I guess what i am trying to say is that does F2P actually 'save' a game in the long term, or does it simply exist to wring more money out of (ultimately) the same size player base on the whole?

I believe that you will find that those games for whom a FtP conversion works do see an increase in players. My experience of this has been that many (most ?) of these new players are less invested in the game than subscribers. Even so, some of them pay a bit into the company's coffers.

When all has been said and done, more will have been said than done.

  nariusseldon

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 22588

6/25/12 12:03:13 PM#39
Originally posted by Vesavius
 

 

On the same note the no cost entry means that players will also leave your game faster.

After the first month, the big relaunch, I am interested in the gain to loss ratio of these converted games.

Most (almost all) seem to see diminishing returns in terms of the player base in the long term, which is suprising seeing as they are giving the client away for free.

The concept of "leaving" does not apply. You "leave" a sub game and you never give it another cent.

For F2P, since your toon is still there, and there is no cost to play, you can always come back and play a little. In fact, many game hop because of the lack of commitment. And god foresake, you may even spend a little from time to time.

The beauty of F2P is that there is no commitment, and there is no barrier for players to come back after taking a break.

  Vesavius

Old School

Joined: 3/08/04
Posts: 7834

Players come for the game, but they stay for the people- Most Devs have forgotten this.

 
OP  6/25/12 12:08:05 PM#40
Originally posted by itgrowls
Originally posted by Vesavius

We all hear the hyperbole of success when a previously P2P game makes the change, and we all see the odd new server or two being thrown up, but...

Can someone tell me if any F2P has consistently been forced to add new servers post launch (on an ongoing basis) as they became ever more popular? Or have all the converted P2P games that have made the shift seen exactly the same player attrition that the saw under their old model? 

Does the shift to F2P give ongoing growth, or does it just allow the devs of failed mainstream games to make more money off a small player base?

The F2P games converted have all shown impressively high profits after conversion. They have needed to add new servers on occasion to handle the large influx of new players who would otherwise never touch the titles. 

 

In the short term, for sure. The re-launch definitely does bring in a raft of new curoius Joes and tourists.

I was specifically asking what people thought about the long term.

The fact that the vast majority of converted titles STILL cannot retain players says that maybe it wasn't the payment model that was the problem?

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