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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] Star Wars: The Old Republic: What Does SWTOR F2P Mean?

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  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 13481

 
OP  8/13/12 3:41:49 PM#1

Last week, Bioware and EA announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic would be adding a free to play component. In our latest Free Zone column, we take a look at the announcement and give our analysis of what it all means as well as check in with several F2P industry voices for their thoughts as well. Check it out!

While I didn't have the opportunity to comment last time on the news that SWTOR will change business models, the topic is still very prominent in my mind, so let’s get to it. I wasn't surprised at all by the actual announcement since I had already predicted quite some time ago that it would happen. Actually, even though I knew there was zero possibility at the time, I expressed the opinion years ago, well before launch, that the game might be better served by redesigning it to be free to play from the get-go. Nonetheless, I didn't expect EA to make the move so soon. My best guess was by around the middle of next year. Obviously, my crystal ball turned out to be somewhat misty.

Read more of Richard Aihoshi's The Free Zone: What Does SWTOR F2P Mean?

Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  Coolit

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/22/10
Posts: 444

8/14/12 8:20:59 AM#2

I think at this point for new games the subscription model is dead. SWTOR going f2p and of course the imminent release of GW2 shows the direction the industry is going whether people like it or not.

At this point I can't think of any sensible publisher that would launch a game as p2p. f2p doesn't mean an inferior game or service anymore and it hasn't done so for some time, I think this stigma is starting to erode now and once it does that will be it for p2p.

 
  User Deleted
8/14/12 8:25:53 AM#3
What I take from it....
Your targeted audience just wasn't what you expected, sw fans that are also gamers
It didn't live up to subscription expectation obviously
Publishers are definately going to be gunshy now except those that are already knee deep, or have a decent following like Rift, wow, eve, GW, Tsw may have made it ...... Big money won't be there for e eryone else so there will be reduced expectation.

All the more reason right now to sink my teeth into GW2 and settle in for the next few years while publisher confidence builds up again.
  comrademario

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/19/11
Posts: 98

8/14/12 8:31:01 AM#4

I agree that f2p is here to stay and that it isn't the boogeyman that most make it out to be.

As Flaviio Daneil Caracas says: Games are about being fun and giving value for money, whether that's p2p or f2p, so long as companies get the balancing act right (as they seem to be doing more and more) f2p will be the preferred model. It's not surprising that some publishers and games made mis-steps when f2p was new to the market, it should have been expected, but learning from those mis-steps is key to quietening the voices that think this model is the death of gaming.

 

  User Deleted
8/14/12 8:34:32 AM#5
Another thing too is just don't hype your game up like its the next world or warcraft, lots of opinions will differ and when the negativity train starts rolling it picks up steam quick. Imagine if this game would have just launched free to play and thousands of attitudes were different, you would thousands singing the swtor praise, instead of what the,crap sub for that? No thanks!!!
  elocke

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/15/04
Posts: 4110

8/14/12 8:35:25 AM#6
How about asking GAMERS and not corporate big wigs.  Of course they are going to spin any F2P conversion into a positive.  Money is on the line.  This question needs to be asked to true Gamers and Designers, like the guys at Trion and, sadly even Blizzard since they are the last hold out on subs it seems.  I can't take any of those questions and answers in this article seriously, otherwise.  Sorry, but corporate and marketing guys aren't who I would go to about my gaming needs.  Ever.

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  Whiskey_Sam

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/13/12
Posts: 275

Nemo me impune lacessit.

8/14/12 8:53:44 AM#7
Subscription games don't fail because people don't like paying subscriptions; they fail because people don't think they are worth the subscription price.  Lower the sub fee, make better games, and watch them succeed.

___________________________
Have flask; will travel.

  noblood

Novice Member

Joined: 3/21/12
Posts: 12

8/14/12 8:59:23 AM#8
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam
Subscription games don't fail because people don't like paying subscriptions; they fail because people don't think they are worth the subscription price.  Lower the sub fee, make better games, and watch them succeed.

The force is strong with this one.

  Nephaerius

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/18/09
Posts: 1467

8/14/12 9:13:09 AM#9
Originally posted by noblood
Originally posted by Whiskey_Sam
Subscription games don't fail because people don't like paying subscriptions; they fail because people don't think they are worth the subscription price.  Lower the sub fee, make better games, and watch them succeed.

The force is strong with this one.

 When is a game ever going to be worth a sub fee regardless of what it is?  For me the answer is never.  Just look at all the single player and multi-player experiences I can have in the F2P or B2P market and I can't justify it any longer.  When I first got into MMO's I accepted subs as a fact of the genre, paying for server costs and continued development, but I just haven't really seen a benefit from any of my subs.  All that preventing cheating, botting, gold spamming, etc. is BS in my experience because it runs rampant regardless of the title's business model.  Not to mention the fact that regardless of sub I usually have to buy some expansion pack in the standard MMO model.  So much for already having paid for the development of that content with my sub....

A lot of times others will claim there are so many more hours of content in an MMO, but I simply don't find this to be the case.  In my experience it's the same amount of content as any other game but it tends to either be drawn out artificially through ingame hurdles to jump through or simply through socializing and playing with groups (not a bad thing).  In reality at launch the majority of MMO's are 60-100 hours of content tops (not counting rolling alts and repeating content).  For myself, I can easily get that out of a great shooter, co-op RPG, or any other game I enjoy without ever paying for continuing access. 

Latest cases in point for me - Super Monday Night Combat over 400 hrs played, SMITE over 100 hours played, if we get back to MMO's Aion has held me for 100's of hours following my return with F2P as well as Fallen Earth.  I'll even be back to check out SWTOR and my level 50 Inquisitor when the F2P switch happens.  Personally, I've decided to never touch a game with a sub again. 

I'd also like to mention here how many of the F2P games I play, especially those outside the MMO space, provide more frequent updates than any MMO I've ever played.  Super Monday Night Combat updates weekly, SMITE worst case is monthly, LoL bi-weekly.  Aion and Fallen Earth churn out updates all faster than any MMO I've subbed to or when those particular games were sub based.  Even Allods, not a fan, puts out updates faster than WoW, who in theory is raking in the most sub money. 

What stops me from returning to Rift, WoW, Darkfall (oh how I love you), or most other MMO's I've played?  Can't justify the sub with everything else available to me.  I won a free copy of Eve Online months ago, love the game, trialed many times, one of the best in the genre, sitting unused because for me it's still not worth a sub.

This is not to say that ALL F2P games are superior to one's with subs.  Simply that there are enough F2P and B2P, MMO and otherwise, to keep me happy without ever returning to the sub model.  Clearly to each his own because it is personal preference based on experience after all.

Twitter: @Nephaerius
Steam: Neph
Xbox 360 GT: Nephaerius

  GI05

Novice Member

Joined: 12/25/09
Posts: 18

8/14/12 9:16:44 AM#10

Subscription tiers- $5/$10/$15 may worked. 

 

 

Edit: spelling 

 

  User Deleted
8/14/12 9:22:49 AM#11
I wish I could just pay $55 a month and all achievements would be automatically downloaded to my account. And I would have the best and most of everything except for the guy that pays $65 a month but he just had one more cool flying mount than I do
  Terranah

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/03/04
Posts: 3616

8/14/12 9:50:42 AM#12

 Of course people will take away all the wrong conclusions from this debacle.  That's why we have failure after failure.  It's kinda like those people who make the same mistakes in their lives over and over.  It's dysfunction, and no matter how reasoned your arguements, the wrong decisions will continue to be made because all the wrong people are making those decisions.

 

Here's an analogy.  For those who can not follow an analogy, or metaphors or similies, just move along to the next post.

 

Imagine you are novelist well known for writing science fiction.  You have a wide fan base and are loved by your loyal fans.  Along comes your publisher and asks you to write a romance novel.  Since you are such a talented writer and have so many fans who buy your books you think, sure why not.  So you proceed to write a romance novel, but your novel does not contain any romance at all.  Your edgy and innovative that way.  

 

The publisher markets it as the greatest romance ever told.  Your book releases, all your fans buy it and lots of romance  fans too.  But your old fans don't like it because it's not like your other stuff, and the romance fans don't like it because there's no romance.  Does that mean the romance genre is doomed.  No.  It means you were arrogant for thinking you could redefine something much bigger than you.  

 

MMORPG is not just a feature set.  It's an idea and concept that is bigger than Bioware or EA or any developer.  It's an idea that is even bigger than the gamers that play these games.

 

That's why, inspite of all the flaws of the early mmos the genre flourished.  It's because the idea of the mmo, of millions of people coming together in a virtual space conceived by human imagination is so powerful.  Daydreaming, the playground of the mind was always a solo affair; but the mmo gives us the ability to play with others in a virtual setting.  The concept resonates within the collective subconcious, even if most people are incapable of realizing it.  

 

That is the strength of the mmo, and when you disrespect that powerful idea you will be put in your place no matter how big you are.

 

  Tawn47

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/27/07
Posts: 515

8/14/12 10:10:17 AM#13
Originally posted by Terranah

 Of course people will take away all the wrong conclusions from this debacle.  That's why we have failure after failure.  It's kinda like those people who make the same mistakes in their lives over and over.  It's dysfunction, and no matter how reasoned your arguements, the wrong decisions will continue to be made because all the wrong people are making those decisions.

Here's an analogy.  For those who can not follow an analogy, or metaphors or similies, just move along to the next post.

Imagine you are novelist well known for writing science fiction.  You have a wide fan base and are loved by your loyal fans.  Along comes your publisher and asks you to write a romance novel.  Since you are such a talented writer and have so many fans who buy your books you think, sure why not.  So you proceed to write a romance novel, but your novel does not contain any romance at all.  Your edgy and innovative that way.  

The publisher markets it as the greatest romance ever told.  Your book releases, all your fans buy it and lots of romance  fans too.  But your old fans don't like it because it's not like your other stuff, and the romance fans don't like it because there's no romance.  Does that mean the romance genre is doomed.  No.  It means you were arrogant for thinking you could redefine something much bigger than you.  

MMORPG is not just a feature set.  It's an idea and concept that is bigger than Bioware or EA or any developer.  It's an idea that is even bigger than the gamers that play these games.

That's why, inspite of all the flaws of the early mmos the genre flourished.  It's because the idea of the mmo, of millions of people coming together in a virtual space conceived by human imagination is so powerful.  Daydreaming, the playground of the mind was always a solo affair; but the mmo gives us the ability to play with others in a virtual setting.  The concept resonates within the collective subconcious, even if most people are incapable of realizing it.  

That is the strength of the mmo, and when you disrespect that powerful idea you will be put in your place no matter how big you are.

Brilliant.  This should be chiselled in stone and placed in the centre of a big plaza outside each MMO studio.

Incidentally it is rather annoying that BW / EA (and the few remaining SWTOR fans) continue to arrogantly proclaim that there is a problem with the P2P model.  The game was a disaster, not the payment model.  Hopefully when the F2P model isn't the resounding comeback they hope it is theyll realise where the fault lies.  I expect im hoping in vein.

  Dragnog

Novice Member

Joined: 12/01/11
Posts: 54

8/14/12 10:12:27 AM#14

Personally, it makes no difference to me if this game is Free to Play. I would have happily paid the subscription (which I did for a couple of months) if I had found the game fun. 

For me this game did not capture the feel of the other KOTOR games and it did not capture the feeling of a great MMORPG. In the end the game did not fufill the expectations I had for it and so changing the model that I pay for it does not change the content of the game. 

If Free To Play companies see this as a success for their model of payment then I am sure that I will be staying away from their games as well. 

 
 
  Yellowbeardd

Novice Member

Joined: 12/12/07
Posts: 83

8/14/12 10:57:39 AM#15

Everyone Thought i was crazy when i said SWTOR would be Free to Play in under a year, look who is crazy NOW lol. 

 

Great game but poorly done, greed of making a game like WoW and hoping to be a money tree, instead of making a game for the SWTOR Fans and that is where they failed.

Now they are hoping to go Free to Play and hope the people that join and reach the 50 mark will end up paying for a premium subscription to do endgame. Sad attempt to get subs up again but might work, but i doubt it.
yellowbeardd Xfire Miniprofile
  zinger71

Novice Member

Joined: 8/29/11
Posts: 55

8/14/12 11:00:58 AM#16
I prefer the P2P subscription model IF the game is worth it. I currently pay monthly for WoW, Rift, TSW, TERA and a couple others. It's not a cheap hobby. To me, it just seems as though games that you pay to play every month receive far more developer love in terms of patches, updates, expansions and the like. They know they have to work their asses off to keep earning your hard earned money. Take for instance Trion. Quite possibly THE most dedicated devs on the planet. The passion they have for their product is undeniable. I'm also not happy with the restrictions put on players that don't sub. Take a look at the recent F2P transition of Vanguard for an example. I suspect SWTOR will be much the same. As an earlier poster commented, for many of us, its about a living, breathing virtual world with thousands of players enjoying the same space. It's our fantasies realised. If devs can make games in the space that we WANT to play, there are still millions of us willing to pay monthly to do it.
  Ozmodan

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6682

8/14/12 11:12:23 AM#17

I was intrigued by this quote " since you still need to purchase the game itself".  If you still need to purchase the game, then SWTOR will NOT be f2p in the slightest.  It will be using the GW1 & 2 model.  

I do disagree with the author though, a decent game will still do quite well as subscription based revenue model.  Just depends on content and design.  Theme parks run out of content fast.  Others not so much, like a sandbox design.

  Skuz

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/25/08
Posts: 1041

"If you can''t laugh at yourself there''s always someone around to show you how it''s done!"

8/14/12 11:16:27 AM#18

I still maintain that whilst F2P is always an option it is no magic bullet, the economy tanking globally will be a big factor in the shift to F2P systems & hybrid systems.

I prefer the quality of games that at the least start out with a sub in mind, though that may change some you still need to bear in mind the sheer volume of utterly shit F2P titles on the market & remain a discerning player.

  arctarus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/26/06
Posts: 2585

8/14/12 11:26:44 AM#19

Just surprise that those being interview cant accept the fact that going f2p means that your game have fail.

Fail in keeping people interested enough, find it worthy enough to keep paying a monthly fee for it. They try to sugar coat and say that f2p is the future... NO!

Going f2p is the only way left to find hope for the game, hopefully that some other people find it fun and willing to pay more for it from cash shop, extra contents etc...

Fyi, f2p, will also brings in more gold farmer...

Failure is failure and untill devs accept it and realise the true reason why their game fail, and others learn from it, we will see no end to this cycle.

Personally f2p is never the way to go for mmo, you pay for delicated team to continue to enhance the game, example WoW where they keep revisting the old contents and make it better ( spells casting animations etc... ). release of patches to also enhance the game. New instances etc...

Release of x-pac to further the stories of the games, yes you pay for the x-pac, but without the initial $15 they wont be able to work on it in the first place.

Those p2p games that you dont find it worth to pay a monthly sub for it, have fail for you...

Swtor have fail, in its core design, which many people have voice out, will going f2p really makes more profit ?

We shall see....

 

 

 

 

RIP Orc Choppa

  Burntvet

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 2757

8/14/12 11:33:27 AM#20
Originally posted by Ozmodan

I do disagree with the author though, a decent game will still do quite well as subscription based revenue model.  Just depends on content and design.  Theme parks run out of content fast.  Others not so much, like a sandbox design.

QFT

 

TOR's "failure" means one thing and one thing only: people will no longer pay from a crappy game. That's it.

No mysteries to ponder; no secret lessons to decipher, no loads of data to analyze.

Make a game not worth paying for, and people won't pay.

 

The rest of the stuff about "the sub model being dead" and "F2P is model of the future" as to why TOR failed, is just excuses, BS, and noise.

 

 

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