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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » The Current State of P2P in the MMO Landscape

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Novice Member

Joined: 11/24/10
Posts: 917

OP  8/25/13 3:11:22 PM#1

604 games.

Let us create a custom list. The list can be broken down into the "Retail" or "Subscription" or both.

Include all sub genres: Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Real Life, Sports, Super Hero, Sci-Fi (there should be one for FPS but that one is dumped with Sci-Fi). I don't follow MMOFPS (barely) but I do follow the other subgenres.

Let us break down the MMO list shall we (games currently operating or at one point operated for NA/EU territories)?


There are about 600 MMORPGs currently. Over 525 of them are F2P. There are 2 major P2P payment brackets. I could break it down further but to make the post a bit more concise let us go with these 2.


There are a little over 40 games that fall into the $4.95 - $9.99 range. Most of these I would consider to be third rate MMO games. There are a few good titles though. But as it currently stands close to 100% of these games are F2P. Furthermore this payment has for the most part has been abandoned. If you look at the list there has only been one... just one game that has been released post mid-2011. That game being Wakfu which changed its payment model to F2P and making it optional to pay. No other company in the past couple of years has followed this payment model.


There are 22 games (listed: not necessarily up to date) that fall into the $12.95 - $15.00 range. Note that there used to be around 60 (possibly a bit more, not operating at the same time of course, I'm talking in the lapse of 15 years) games that used to strictly follow the P2P business model. From that list of 22, 6 have closed down. Note that games like Lineage I is still going strong in South Korea, but eventually closed down for the western audience. Lineage II used to be P2P in the west and it is now listed as F2P as one example. Let us see the remaining games and see which use a strictly P2P business model:

Final Fantasy XI [2003]

Basic Service Fee of $11.95 for 30 days.

Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings [Listed as Beta]

This one is odd. The game got canceled and got resurrected. It is currently F2P to anyone that has an active Asheron's Call I account. Its current status is also labeled as being in beta.

Asheron's Call 1 [1999]

Basic Service Fee of $12.95.

Ultima Online Forever [Ultima Online 1997]

Changed to F2P; according to the website: "The entire game can be played without making a purchase."

A Tale in the Desert [Tale 1-2 released in 2003-2004]

You can download the game client for free. After you've played 24 hours, we'll ask if you'd like to subscribe for $13.95 per month.

Dark Age of Camelot [2001]

P2P with a price point range of $11.45 to $14.95 which can be found at:

EVE Online [2003]

P2P with a price point range of $10.95 to $14.95.

Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted [2003]

Changed to F2P; according to the website: "Play for free and immerse yourself into the vast, deep and lore rich world of Istaria."

The Hammers End [2013]

Basic Service Fee of $14.95 for 30 days.

Warhammer Online [2008]

Basic Service Fee of $14.99. Note that in a recent update, the 6 month subscription plan will no longer be available due to interests in it being "very low" according to the Warhammer official website.

Twilight War: After the Fall (TW)

Was going to be P2P, it is now currently listed as cancelled.

Beyond Protocol

The game went open source.

World of Warcraft [2004]

No need to list the website. We all know this is still the king of P2P games.

Lord of the Rings Online [2007]

It went F2P on June 2010. They do offer a hybrid model with a price range of $8.25 to $14.99 a month:

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes [2007]

Sony announced that the game was going F2P in March 2012. They do offer a hybrid model.

DC Universe Online [2011]

Sony announced that the game was going F2P in November 2011. They do offer a hybrid model.

DarkFall [2009]

Darkfall Unholy Wars [2013]

Basic Service Fee of $14.95 for 30 days.


Vendetta Online [2004]

Basic service fee of $9.99, but there are other options that makes the monthly fee cheaper. According to the website: "Download the client and play whenever you want, up to a total of 8 hours.


Let us look at "some" future MMO games that either fall into the AAA and/or hype category.

The Elder Scrolls Online: P2P AND a cash shop (multiple items) listed as being released in Spring 2014.

WildStar: P2P AND a cash shop (only one item has been confirmed in the cash shop so far) listed as being released in spring 2014.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn going live in two days. (It gives them a good 4-5 months bare minimum) head start compared to the two games listed above.

Blade & Soul: Being released in 2014. Most likely it release with a P2P business model. Every single game developed AND published by NCSoft has either closed down or gone F2P/P2W in the West. I wouldn't be surprised if they release the game as P2P and eventually change the model to F2P stating that they are "realigning the game to the current MMO market" or some PR B.S. within those lines before the first year is up. I would be more shocked if they release the game as B2P.

World of Darkness: It will not be released in 2013-2014. Guestimates are anywhere from 2015-2017. This game will most likely be P2P or B2P.

Bless: Most likely will be F2P. All of Neowiz games are F2P, some are considered as P2W.

EIN: Most likely will be F2P. All of Neowiz games are F2P, some are considered as P2W.

ArcheAge: The game went F2P at around the 6 month mark in South Korea. There is a pretty strong chance that the game will be F2P when it is released here in the West. I am hoping that they release the game at least using the B2P business model.

Black Desert: Most of DAUM games are F2P. It is too early to tell. It could be F2P/B2P/P2P. No one knows at this point.

EverQuest Next: F2P, but chances are they will follow the hybrid model.

Phantasy Star Online 2: At the very initial stages it was going to be P2P, but SEGA changed it to F2P after evaluating the current market in Japan.


Review of current and future games MMO(Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Real Life, Sports, Super Hero, Sci-Fi minus FPS) that strictly use the P2P business model.

Games released prior to 2005 that still use the P2P business model (no hybrid model):

Asheron's Call I 1999
Dark Age of Camelot 2001
A Tale in the Desert 2003
EVE Online 2003
FFXI 2003
World of Warcraft 2004
Vendetta Online 2004

Games released post 2006 that still use the P2P business model (no hybrid model):

Warhammer Online 2008
DarkFall 2009
The Hammers End 2013

Games being released between tomorrow and 2016 that have announced their payment model that is not F2P (hybrid ALLOWED):

The Elder Scrolls Online 2014 P2P AND Cash Shop
WildStar 2014 P2P AND Cash Shop (very limited info so far on the cash shop)
Final Fantasy XIV will use the P2P business model only.


Conclusion and Remarks. NOTE: If there are any games that I missed that strictly use the P2P business model and falls into any of the subgenres (minus FPS) let me know and I will update it. I was going to add Forge, but it was announced last week that they were going to change to the F2P model. Out of the 600 games or so, in the past 15 years plus, we only have 6 games released prior to 2005 that strictly use the P2P business model. That constitutes 1% of the entire MMO landscape. If we look at games released post 2005 that strictly use the P2P business model we see that only 3 games follow this as its sole source of revenue. That constitutes half of 1% of the entire MMO landscape.

Personally I see TESO as a cash grab, pretty much installing the cash shop from the get-go in case the game goes south. They can easily change the business model and make the same statement I wrote for Blade & Soul: "realigning the game to the current MMO market" or some PR B.S. WildStar I am not so sure. TERA used a similar system like EVE Online and it didn't work out well for them at all... simply because the game was generic in every single area minus the combat which was fun for the short term. For the long run? No of course not. In the transition from P2P to F2P it went down to 1 PVP 1 PVE and 1 PVE-RP server for NA in less than 7 months. They did increase the servers after the switch to F2P. Check the history of the population trends in South Korea, China, and especially Japan and you will see why. FFXIV probably has the best chance to survive using the P2P method as a sole source of revenue, but do not rule out F2P.


With regards to FFXIV:

I know FF diehard fans have stated that it will never go F2P and that it will be shut down before it does, but remember that Yoshida already talked about F2P as being an option.

"I do think creating a hybrid from different business models is an interesting proposition, and this may be something we investigate further down the line."

"Of course I am very interested in F2P as an alternative business plan, and I will continue to look into it. However adopting a F2P model means changing certain aspects of the game design in order to fit to the model since the prices customers have to pay for F2P are different to those they pay for subscription-based games. Therefore, if we do decide to change the business model in the future, it will also be necessary for us to adjust the game design so that it works accordingly."

Comment in regards to the Diablo Auction House System: “It’s not like we’re saying we’re never going to do it but currently it doesn’t fit with what we have."


Here is a QUESTION to all of the MMORPG forum goers out there. Do you guys see the P2P model being able to make a strong resurgence in the near future (i.e. games being released up to 2016) and withstand the test of time? When I mean being able to withstand the test of time, I mean are there P2P game(s) coming out that can last at least a year without going F2P and/or reduce their servers by 75% or more?

I'll go ahead and answer first. Yeah I see that there are 3 games that are going to be released using the P2P option. But 2 of those 3 I can easily see them going F2P within the first year, especially TESO. But if we look at the History and Trends (i.e. not a crystal ball) from 2005-present we see that only 3 games are currently using the P2P business model as their sole source of income. Warhammer Online has been in maintenance mode for the last couple of years so I am not sure if we should even count that game. Rumors report that they have not switched to the F2P model simply because it would cost quite a bit of money to do so versus the "expected" revenue that may or may not come if they make the switch considering on how old Warhammer is. That just leaves 2 games that strictly use the P2P method currently... in the past 8 years. Honestly I don't see the resurgence or the comeback. Will there always be one or two games that will use the P2P method, of course. But I think they will always constitute less than 1% (maybe even less than half of 1%) of the MMO landscape. Just my 2 Benjamins. There are about a dozen reasons I have talked about in the past as to why so many games go F2P (such as using the generic tired formula over and over again just reskinned) but I won't go over that again since this post is long as it is.

And remember folks it isn't the difficulty in obtaining those $15, but rather are those $15 worth it to you in the long run.


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/15/08
Posts: 3662

8/25/13 3:23:42 PM#2
Nicely done...That looks like alot of work and research there......604 and 525 or so are free...that makes it really hard to pay for a MMO.....Its just too easy to play (or at least try out) games for free now......It would be like trying to sell music on your website when 525 others have it for free....Unless you can offer something above and beyond, why pay?....I think alot of these newer ones are just going for a quick cash grab, like The Secret World did.......FFXIV may stick with p2p regardless because they have used it in FFXI and apparently are happy with the results....While the p2p model brings in money more quickly, it also greatly reduces your customer base.....Lets face it offering a game for free will bring in a great deal more players than making them pay before they have played.

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/18/09
Posts: 188

8/25/13 3:26:52 PM#3

The only way P2P is going to make a comeback is if someone is willing to have the balls to make a truly innovative game that takes MMOs to the next level. If they make it enjoyable enough, people will pay the subscription cost.

In the past 10 years, can anyone say that a MMO has been made that truly deserves a subscription each month? Most of the games deserve a F2P model, so when people get bored with the game after a few weeks, you don't feel as though you were taken to the cleaners. Disposable games get disposable loyalty.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/27/05
Posts: 186

8/25/13 3:34:02 PM#4
Originally posted by Havok2all
Disposable games get disposable cash.

Great quote, could not agree more.


Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 22302

8/25/13 3:52:06 PM#5
Originally posted by dgarbini
Originally posted by Havok2all
Disposable games get disposable cash.

Great quote, could not agree more.

All games are disposable to me. So yeah.


Advanced Member

Joined: 6/18/09
Posts: 188

8/25/13 4:24:00 PM#6
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by dgarbini
Originally posted by Havok2all
Disposable games get disposable cash.

Great quote, could not agree more.

All games are disposable to me. So yeah.

Which is why I changed it to Loyalty since any cash thrown at a game are in technical terms disposable cash. But well made games that engross us as players to where we WANT to commit hundreds of hours to play generally retain our loyalty for months and even years.


Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 22302

8/25/13 4:27:26 PM#7
Originally posted by Havok2all

Which is why I changed it to Loyalty since any cash thrown at a game are in technical terms disposable cash. But well made games that engross us as players to where we WANT to commit hundreds of hours to play generally retain our loyalty for months and even years.

I have no "loyalty" to games. If i play a game after few months, it is because the gameplay is still fun to me.



Novice Member

Joined: 9/18/11
Posts: 809

8/25/13 4:32:54 PM#8

imo, developers see the high reward without properly measuring the high risk of P2P.

There is a reason statements like "F2P in 6-12 months" are found to be true. There is just so damn much that people can get on the internet LEGALLY for 15 bucks a month without an MMO sub. Netflix, PS+, Hulu, gamefly, etc. It takes some huge balls to say that your game is worth a monthly fee.

I don't hope that these games fail, but it so often seems that's what they are setting themselves up for.

"As you read these words, a release is seven days or less away or has just happened within the last seven days— those are now the only two states you’ll find the world of Tyria."...Guild Wars 2


Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

8/25/13 5:21:14 PM#9

um ... you realize that website you have listed for UO is an unauthorized private server, right?


Advanced Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 5213

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

8/25/13 6:31:12 PM#10
Originally posted by maplestone

um ... you realize that website you have listed for UO is an unauthorized private server, right?

Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar is a free-to-play online RPG from BioWare Mythic and published by Electronic Arts.

According to the mmorpg list and site it's legit.

Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

8/25/13 6:51:26 PM#11

Check the OP again - that's not the URL it's pointing to.

There's brand confusion here between Ultima Online, Ultima Forever (the tablet game which is not related to UO) and a private server with a similar-sounding website which is not affiliated with the publisher at all.



Advanced Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 5213

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

8/26/13 1:32:23 AM#12
Ah.  I see.

Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5657

8/26/13 4:40:23 AM#13

Such a good bit of research I copied it so I could refer to it in future if need be.

I have been posting about my concerns for P2P and B2P MMO's since the start of the year. Still only two P2P/B2P released so far this year and we are nearly in September.

So I do not think there will be a resurgence. That said I do not think the OP takes into account the merging of the price models enough. They nearly all have a cash shop, they nearly all have a subscription. It is only if the sub is compulsory that divides them now.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/20/12
Posts: 436

8/26/13 4:50:52 AM#14

Blizzard strangled them all.

And it's not over yet.

Far from it.

Luckily they focused now on digital card games until 2016...

But I see a huge WOW come back in the coming year.


The rest is history. Medicore games created with mediocre means going for a mountain of cash grab that no longer sits there.



Advanced Member

Joined: 1/24/05
Posts: 4758

Aim Bot

8/26/13 6:19:27 AM#15
edit: never mind.. thought we were talking about f2p mmos. lol

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 22302

8/26/13 9:30:42 AM#16
Originally posted by Scot

So I do not think there will be a resurgence. That said I do not think the OP takes into account the merging of the price models enough. They nearly all have a cash shop, they nearly all have a subscription. It is only if the sub is compulsory that divides them now.

Yes. That is why i use "sub-only" as opposed to "p2p" for clarity.

And to be honest, even sub-only games have cash shops (like ESO).

If ESO sub-only model goes down, few will try that again.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 1061

8/26/13 10:30:05 AM#17

The reason why there's only very little P2P-MMOs outthere is the lack of quality or ingenuity for most of the MMOs.

WoW basically covers the themepark PvE and arena-PvP, whereas EvE covers the sandbox open world PvP.

To make a P2P-MMO work you need either a crapton of content for a PvE-themepark or you need a really good sandbox with open world FFA PvP and emphasis on economy. Copying WoW (themepark PvE) simply doesn't cut it, especially if you can't offer the amount of content WoW has nowadays.

I give Wildstar and FF upto 12 month before they turn into F2P, just like any other title during the last few years.


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/15/08
Posts: 3662

8/26/13 11:45:07 AM#18
SE seems to be pretty stubborn about demanding subs though....FFXI isn't even a very good game and they still won't go f2p with it......FFXIV will stay as a sub even if it means 1/10th the potential customer base.

Elite Member

Joined: 7/18/04
Posts: 832

Do you want to improve the world? I don't think it can be done. -Lao Tzu

8/26/13 12:06:09 PM#19

Vendetta Online is a very good MMORPG, and it was released prior to 2005, with a free download and free trial with subscriptions at $9.99/mo. unlimited.  Recently, a $1/mo. lite option was added, which has everything the unlimited option does, except characters are capped at licenses 3/3/3/3/3 and cannot hold guild council or officer positions.  There are presently no microtransactions.  In that sense, its payment model is very similar to ATITD.  I've been a player for a long time.

edit: if you want to break down the unlimited sub options per month at larger blocks of time, they go as low as $6.67 per month.

"To be what you are not, experience what you are not." -Saint John of the Cross
Authored 110 missions in Vendetta Online
Check it out on Steam


Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 22302

8/26/13 3:56:08 PM#20
Originally posted by Theocritus
SE seems to be pretty stubborn about demanding subs though....FFXI isn't even a very good game and they still won't go f2p with it......FFXIV will stay as a sub even if it means 1/10th the potential customer base.

It is a free world. SE is free to choose to sell their game any way they want to. It is their market to lose.


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