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General Discussion

General Discussion 

News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: F2P and the Consumer Choice Narrative

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51 posts found

Novice Member

Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 355

2/13/13 5:59:13 AM#41
This sounds like a gamer print magazine--always behind the news by months if not years. The fact is that f2p oversaturated the market  long ago and is only still alive because they are decent cash grabs in a struggling economy. With few exceptions the games themselves Suck. All. Day. Long. and the few exceptions aspire to mediocrity. For mmorpgs, F2P is like a dinner theater and subscription is an opera house. I can expect my local dinner theater to put on a competent production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. I can't expect them to pull off a a production of Wagner's Ring cycle. For that you need a big house, well-endowed financially, a huge company of behind-the-scenes workers, an A-list cast, and a director with his head screwed on right. AAA companies and f2p are a recipe for failure.

Now we're calling prostitutes "sex workers". What's next? Calling hit men "end-of-life technicians"?


Novice Member

Joined: 8/30/08
Posts: 4889

2/13/13 7:01:41 AM#42

The reality of it is that the current F2P surge isn't to give consumers choice, it's because consumers have a choice. Less time, effort, and money is being put into the actual development of a large number of these Pay to Play MMO's and it's showing.


In years past F2P MMO's had extremely smaller development budgets. The games lack quality, polish, and content. They were sub par MMO's. They weren't really "Bad" but they simply did not warrant a premium. While many Pay to Play MMOs weren't as good as they could have been they were still a better choice than many Free to Plays and even then there really wasn't a great deal of choice between Pay to Plays. Todays market is a great deal different. 


In todays market Free to Play development budgets have increased while Pay to Play actual development budgets have decreased. I know someone is going to say "Oh but SWTOR had a 200million dollar development budget" but the reality of it is that they did not. The bulk of the budget for SWTOR went to other areas rather than development cost. The largest portion of that budget was for marketing and advertising alone. Another big chunk went to the use of the IP and licensing the engine. After all this another large portion went to Voice actors ( The game was released in Multiple Languages and Voice actors were needed for each) and such. Actual game development saw very little of that 200 million dollar budget. 


In the end what players were presented with was a semi interactive movie that was decent for about a month but never really warranted a monthly fee. Now faced with this and the fact that players actually have a choice now days with MMOs, they simply left. This forced EA to change the subscription model. It wasn't done to give players a choice in how they paid for the game, it wasn't done to give players the ability to play other MMO's along side SWTOR, it was done out of neccessity because of the low value of the game. 


For an MMO in the current market to be pay to play it has to deliver an experience worth paying monthly for. Thats the bottom line. Many simply do not. I mean anything you launch as a pay to play not only has to compete with MMOs like Rift and WoW in quality, content, and polish but also games like GW2 and TSW which offer the same but actually charge less. Then on top of that you have a slew of decent free to play games to compete with like Allods, now TERA, Planet Side 2, etc. 


Its a competitive market now days and these formula driven cash machines can not survive in it while charging a premium. With the rise of Indies things get even more complicated. Things like Kickstarter are allowing more and more into the market. 




Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/16/06
Posts: 215

2/13/13 7:33:17 AM#43
Originally posted by GrayGhost79

For an MMO in the current market to be pay to play it has to deliver an experience worth paying monthly for. Thats the bottom line. Many simply do not. I mean anything you launch as a pay to play not only has to compete with MMOs like Rift and WoW in quality, content, and polish but also games like GW2 and TSW which offer the same but actually charge less. Then on top of that you have a slew of decent free to play games to compete with like Allods, now TERA, Planet Side 2, etc.

I agree. I think that's the main reason things will continue to be F2P. It's simply hard to compete with established games, especially when they are F2P. Since F2P seems to work well to extend the life of most games, that competition will remain there.

F2P isn't really well defined, though, and most high profile western MMO's are sub games turned "freemium". I think that's a decent model, and it looks like it's working so far. DDO has survived for several years on this model, and still has content coming out. DCUO has had a lot of content released for it since it went F2P. Far as I'm concerned this model is working.

These games (well, not DDO, but EQ2, DCUO, City of Heroes) got a bit of money from me which they wouldn't have if they stayed sub only, simply because I can't justify the $15 a month for a game I'm hardly playing, but paying $10 or $30 over the course of 1 year or two for features and expansions feels fine to me.


Elite Member

Joined: 8/13/09
Posts: 6532

"It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver". - Niccolo Machiavelli

2/13/13 8:25:10 AM#44

People claiming that F2P and B2P are a passing thing and its ruining anything they are just wrong. F2P will never die, and it will keep improving with time. P2P wont die either, but as time passes we will see more and more mixed models but much more improved than what we have today (crappy cash grab freemiums, p2w garbage, and non quality and incomplete p2p crap thats unworth of any sub) providing better service for both players who support the game through subscription and players who support the game through cash shop.

Companies make more money when they give the players more options to support them without forcing the wallet open and that has been proved with failed sub mmos that become successful with decent free + sub options. While others (cough swtor cough) didnt do well with sub only and made the free option a nightmare to make players sub or gtfo their game. Well, they keep doing it wrong, they keep losing even free players that are potential cash shop supporters. 

Also, everyone is free to prefer and support a specific model, but when people get blind and cant understand the benefits of having more than one option it just not worth the time to even talk to them. Be open minded about it. MMORPGS with sub-only model will keep struggling because the group that supports sub-only models is much smaller than the group that would support free or mixed model. Also been proven by the fate most of the sub only games have gone through in the last years. If the sub-only userbase was bigger then WoW wouldnt be the only sub mmo out there thats successful (unless companies finally admint that they dont need 10 million players to be profitable)


Novice Member

Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 355

2/13/13 10:24:20 AM#45
Minds so open their brains have fallen out.

Now we're calling prostitutes "sex workers". What's next? Calling hit men "end-of-life technicians"?


Advanced Member

Joined: 12/13/08
Posts: 2047

2/13/13 11:57:13 AM#46

The question of how we got here is an interesting one, and our resident free-to-play columnist, Richard Aihoshi, does a stellar job of delving into the details of market shifts and trends in The Free Zone.  One overarching theme, however, that deserves attention is the alignment between the propagation of free-to-play payment models with marketing efforts that give primacy to consumer choice.   The MMO subgenre may be a relatively small one in the greater video games industry, but it nonetheless reflects a wider consumer market, at least in "Western" locales like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and several continental European countries, that puts individual choice at the forefront of monetization.


The problem with this statement is music, television, and movies don't have any similarity to the way cash shop games sell content.   Those industries sell complete, individual pieces, but cash shops break down a whole piece and give half of it away for free and ask a premium price to unlock the rest of it.  


Do you know anyone that would enjoy 1/2 a movie, a song, or television show?




Novice Member

Joined: 11/14/12
Posts: 81

2/13/13 5:05:25 PM#47
I completely agree with your assessment of what F2P games are doing to the MMO games and its community. I understand its a business for the devs, but like in real life like in the game, only the people who actually work for a living and pay taxes cheap the country going just like people who sub to a game keep the game fun of interesting stuff while the F2P do nothing but mouch off of the actual important people in the MMORPG.

Elite Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4576

I don't Forum PVP. If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.

2/13/13 8:01:35 PM#48

Nothing is worse than an empty game (or in SP, a game with very low sales).  F2P solves that, and in my opinion this is its largest strength.


Also, F2P is effective in holding at least a scrape of market share with the genre (and gaming in general) heavily saturated with new titles.  The lower the development and operational costs the better due to increased profit margin.


It's a pretty safe bet for publishers.  If you can't sell the game, maybe it's smarter to give it away and pick up revenue where you can.  Create a need (bags, bank, potions, etc) and then provide for that need.


Choice?  I don't see it as a factor.  It's all about revenue.


Realm Lords 2 Graphical MUD - Opens October 1st, 2015 - Very, very, very, very low budget Indie. For real, we don't even feed the employees.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/15/07
Posts: 1335


2/14/13 5:30:52 AM#49
I like free to play. All I really gotta say since nothing I say will change anyone's opinions on the matter. :)

No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin


Novice Member

Joined: 2/14/13
Posts: 1

2/14/13 8:24:42 PM#50

i don't know why you people are bullshitting about free-to-play

obviously it is the most preffered as of now


more games are turning toward F2P

but of cource im not a dumb fuck and waste my money on games that will fail and convert into Free-To-Play in the future anyway



Elite Member

Joined: 4/04/11
Posts: 4850

2/15/13 11:54:21 AM#51
There are good sub games and bad sub games, good f2p and bad. Good f2p beats all, it gives all the power to players. I can only guess those defending subs have some kind of misplaced loyalty. Good games get loyalty through the quality of the product.

rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

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