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The Free Zone: F2P or Not F2P?

Posted Jun 29, 2009 by Dana Massey

The Free Zone: F2P or Not F2P?

In this week's edition of The Free Zone, columnist Richard Aihoshi looks at the line between free to play and not. As games adopt more hybrid business models - microtransactions or optional subscription fees - the line has gotten blurrier. Aihoshi tries to sort things out.

Will we actually see both options offered in a single title? If forced to hazard a guess, I'd venture to say we will. At first glance, this may seem like trying to mix oil and water. However, there is certainly a trend toward more diverse revenue models. This is natural and thus to be expected as an industry expands. In fact, it's a way of promoting growth; it helps to reach new consumers by providing alternatives that better fit their preferences. In a way, it's kind of like marketing changes we see all the time in other areas, such as adding a new package size, another color or a different combination of burger toppings.

We're already part of the way there. For instance, Wizard101 has two basic payment choices. One is monthly subscription, although in a still relatively unusual form that includes discounted rates for multiple accounts in a family, and also for six- and 12-month terms. The other is area-based. I haven't played the game for at least a few months now, but during the post-launch period, free players could only enter selected zones. This is still the case, with the option of buying access to the others one at a time using virtual currency; according to KingsIsle's website, the cost in real money ranges from $1 to $3.

Read more here.


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