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The Free Trial

Posted Mar 02, 2010 by Jon Wood

The Free Trial

MMORPG.com's Garrett Fuller writes this short editorial on "the free trial," its importance and whether or not there may be avenues as yet unexplored by game companies.

Garrett Fuller

At a certain point in every MMO life there is the addition of a free trial for players. Whether it comes three months after launch or one year later, eventually every MMO out there lets players in for free, hoping to convert them to subscribers. In an industry that has its true revenue stream in paying subscribers it is amazing recently that we have not heard any numbers from any companies. No one comes out and says, we have "this" amount of players (with very few exceptions). Instead, we have seen a shift to Free 2 Play and alternate subscription plans in order to get players to spend money on a game. The hook to all of this is the Free Trail, and our question here today is, does it work?

Many MMOs offer a ten day free trial. Someone in marketing or management thought this was an adequate time frame to hook players into an MMO. Here is the flaw in the ten day free trial: Most MMOs start small, like Dungeons & Dragons at level one. You fight kobolds, or maybe if you are lucky a hobgoblin chief. The opening zones to most MMOs are not very dynamic and sometimes frustrating. Lord of the Rings Online is an example in how to hook the player in early zones through story. You start out meeting main characters from the books and completing tasks for them. Some scenes in the books are even played out for you as you look on. This example is rare as most MMOs start small with you doing kill quests or collection quests to get your first few levels.

Read The Free Trial.

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