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Exclusive Columns

Columnists - The Free Zone

Richard Aihoshi has been writing about MMOGs since the mid-1990s, always with a global perspective. He has observed the emergence and growth of the free to play business model from its early days in both hemispheres. This column runs each Monday.

Nexon's IPO Signals Growth

General -  Column

In The Free Zone today, we take a look at the recent stock offering by Asian MMO powerhouse, Nexon. Leave us your thoughts in the comments when finished reading.Posted Dec 20, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

F2P and the 2011 MMOG Market

General -  Column

Recently, games research company NewZoo.com released a report that took a closer look at the free to play market and its impact on the overall MMO genre. In The Free Zone today, we give our take on the report and offer a few opinions as well. Check it out and then leave us your thoughts in the comments.Posted Dec 6, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

F2P News and Musings

General -  Column

In this latest edition of the The Free Zone, MMORPG.com's Richard Aihoshi examines some of the recent news on the free-to-play side of the MMOG genre.Posted Nov 22, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

News From the MMO-niverse

General -  Column

In his latest Free Zone column, MMORPG.com's Richard Aihoshi has gathered the best news from the F2P MMO-niverse from around the web. Included in the news is Lineage II's F2P announcements, the latest layoffs and LEGO Universe shutting down. Read on!Posted Nov 8, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Looking Ahead to G-STAR

General -  Column

In this week's Free Zone, MMORPG.com columnist Richard Aihoshi examines what we can expect from this year's G-STAR gaming event in Korea.Posted Oct 25, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Talking F2P With Mark Jacobs

General -  Column

Last week, Mark Jacobs, formerly of Mythic, announced the foundation of City State Entertainment. City State is a company that will focus on casual games, though no specific game information has been revealed. In today's Free Zone column, MMORPG.com's Richard Aihoshi talks with Jacobs about his new venture and about the F2P trend in today's games. Read on and then let us know what you think in the comments.Posted Oct 11, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Everyone is Going F2P

General -  Column

In The Free Zone today, MMORPG.com's Richard Aihoshi spends some time chatting with a pair of industry veterans about the free to play movement that is sweeping the MMO genre. Richard talks with Matthew Denomme from Game Bridger Entertainment and Fernando Blanco from Spacetime Studios about the trend. Read on and then let us know whether or not you agree with their assessment of the industry in the comments.Posted Sep 27, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Will SWTOR Be the Last Big-Budget MMOG?

Star Wars: The Old Republic -  Column

Recently, SOE's John Smedley opined that SWTOR would be one of the last big budget MMOs with a subscription model. In The Free Zone today, MMORPG.com's Richard Aihoshi takes a look at Smedley's opinion and offers a few thoughts about its viability. Keep reading and then let us know what you think in the comments.Posted Sep 13, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Will DotA 2 Be the Next BIG F2P?

DOTA2 -  Column

In The Free Zone, MMORPG.com's Richard Aihoshi wonders whether or not DotA 2 will enter the ranks of the free to play. It's an intriguing question and one that Richard discusses from all angles. Check it out and then leave us your opinion in the comments.Posted Aug 30, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Gamescom - More Than Just Games, You Know

General -  Column

While the name Gamescom seems to indicate that the focus of this week's mega event in Germany, that might not be all that the annual convention is about. In The Free Zone this week, MMORPG.com's Richard Aihoshi takes a look at other reasons that Gamescom is such a hit in Europe. Check it out. Leave a comment or two when you're finished.Posted Aug 16, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Whale Watching

General -  Column

In this week's Free Zone, Richard Aihoshi takes a look at the term "Whale" as it relates to F2P gaming and just what classifies as a "Big Spender" (whale) in the online space. Put on your best Ahab or Ishmael face and dig in.Posted Aug 2, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

More from the Crystal Ball

General -  Column

MMORPG.com's resident swami, Richard Aihoshi, has once again gazed into the crystal ball conveniently located on his desk between mouse and keyboard. In it he has divined a pair of new predictions for the online gaming world that he'd like to share. Check out The Free Zone and see what Richard's prognostications. Posted Jul 26, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

The Future of MMORPG Revenue Streams

General -  Column

In this week's Free Zone, industry stalwart Richard Aihoshi takes a look at the impending shift of revenue streams in the MMORPG marketplace. Find out what Richard thinks may happen in the coming years and be sure to add in your two cents as well.Posted Jul 19, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Excerpts from the F2P Hater Handbook

General -  Editorial

In this week's The Free Zone, Richard Aihoshi shares with us a few passages from the ultra secret (and ultra fake) F2P Hater's Handbook. Take a look inside and see if you have what it takes to be a winning F2P Hater.Posted Jul 12, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Blizzard - Inching Towards F2P?

World of Warcraft -  Column

In today's Free Zone column, Richard Aihoshi takes a look at the recent announcement that World of Warcraft was free to play through the first twenty character levels. Richard looks at the decision from a 'gimmick' perspective and from a business perspective and offers his thoughts on what the future may hold. Read on and see if you agree!Posted Jul 5, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Two More Business Model Shifts

General -  Column

In The Free Zone this week, MMORPG.com columnist Richard Aihoshi takes a look at the recent announcements that both LEGO Universe and City of Heroes were adopting new revenue models. Both will offer portions of the games for free and will offer low-cost subscriptions and possibly institute item malls. Check out Richard's thoughts and then add a few of your own in the comments.Posted Jun 28, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Free To Play Steams Forward

General -  Column

In today's Free Zone column, MMORPG.com's Richard Aihoshi takes a look at the recent announcement that Steam would be prominently featuring free to play titles in its catalog of games. Richard has a few thoughts about this announcements and its repercussions for the industry. He's also got a few other nuggets of information to share so keep reading!Posted Jun 21, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Will Cryptic Prove a Bargain?

General -  Column

In today's Free Zone column, MMORPG.com's Richard Aihoshi takes a look at the recent purchase of Cryptic Studios by Perfect World Entertainment. Surprised by the relatively 'bargain' cost for Cryptic Studios (~$35 million USD), Richard wonders how this new partnership will go. In addition, Richard has a few other tidbits he's gleaned from around the 'Net. Check out The Free Zone.Posted Jun 13, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Conan’s Hybridian Adventure, Wizardry Going MMO?

General -  Column

This week in Free Zone, MMORPG.com's own Richard Aihoshi takes a look at two announcements that have come our way recently; The shift of Age of Conan to a hybrid, F2P model, and the announcement of Wizardry Online. Check it out and let us know what you think!Posted May 30, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi

Cryptic's Future Unclear

General -  Column

In today's Free Zone column, MMORPG.com's Richard Aihoshi takes a look at the big news out of last week, namely the placement of Cryptic Studios on the auction block by publishing giant, Atari. Richard has a few thoughts to share on the future of Cryptic Studios. Check it out!Posted May 23, 2011 by Richard Aihoshi