Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Lord of the Rings Online

Smedley: Free-to-play is the future

7:00 PM on 09.19.2011 // Fraser Brown
  @FraserIBrown

There's no denying that the free-to-play games has become increasingly more popular in the West. Not only do we have new f2p IPs popping up all over the place, established subscription games are going over to that model as well. While it's been predominant for a long time in parts of Asia, it's been a lot more controversial in the West. Fears of lack of balance or glorified demos have put some gamers off entirely.

Hot on the heels of SOE's announcement of DC Universe Online's imminent transformation to a f2p MMO, SOE President John Smedley has written an editorial predicting the death of the subscription model and the future of f2p.

Smedley believes that BioWare's upcoming MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, will be the last major subscription based MMO, he also thinks that it will have a legitimate shot at getting 2 million subscribers. He cites cost as one of the core reasons that subscriptions are on the way out as it is a big hurdle for some players. This isn't really anything new, gamers have criticized continually paying for a game since MMO's took off, but the dominant game in the MMO genre is still subscription based. However, as the market has expanded there are plenty of options for those who don't want to pay to play.

Another issue with the increased market is console gamers. Outside of the Xbox LIVE subscription, console gamers don't really have to worry about extra costs unless they are purchasing new content. But the few MMOs which have made their way to consoles treat them the same way as they treat their PC counterparts. It's not just console gamers who have a problem with subscriptions. According to Smedley 40% of people who gave a reason for leaving Everquest II blamed subscriptions. Since changing to f2p the game saw an increase in players and has apparently been a success. Lord of the Rings Online is another example of this, Turbine got three times the revenue from the game when it went free and saw a significant increase in players.

By taking up front and subscription costs out of the equation there is no real barrier stopping curious consumers from giving the title a shot. By appealing to a global market including China and Korea where the model is already a success and by cutting out the retail middlemen which restrict indie studios, Smedley thinks that that market will increase even more in terms of consumers and developers.

I'm a big proponent of f2p games. I don't actually play for free that often since I like to experience as much of a game as possible and so often end up paying for a premium membership. Regardless, I think that having that free option makes good business sense. It opens the game up to more people than a demo or a review can, it provides a big boost in sever populations, which when low can really cripple an MMO and it gives the consumer a lot more time to decide if they want to become a paying customer. Even in the cases where the free players are restricted rather severely, they are still getting more freedom than if they were playing a demo.

I don't think that it's as clear cut as Smedley makes it out to be, though. In games where community is so important I think it's risky to create a system where you get two different classes of player based on how much money they are willing to drop. It creates a divide in the community that isn't based on skill or any sort of in game mechanics. Even though hurdles such as cost have been removed, new ones have been put in their place.

What do you fine folks think the future holds for f2p titles? Will it become the dominant model for online games? Should it, even?

The Free Future [gamesindustry.biz]



Fraser Brown, Former Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure FraserIBrown Tips
Fraser Brown is that bearded, bespectacled Scotsman that covers PC gaming who is not Alasdair Duncan. Got a splinter stuck in his hand nineteen years ago and just left it in there. True story. ... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Lord of the Rings Online


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Review: Pony Island - Maneiac Crop!

The meaning of The Witness (Part 1 of 3)

Do you even Bebop?

Cblogs of 02/04/16 + Bayonetta and some other one I suppose

Waifu Wars: Your Cruel Device, Your Blood Like Ice..

Best Kickstarter implosion EVER as dev money is spent on booze and strippers

Video Gaming Bits -- Dungeons& Dragons: Tower of Doom

Is Planet Earth more than Blue, such as An?

Cblogs of 2-3-16 + Umbra Smash Climax-isms!

Three Of My Favourite Videogame Locations (Part 2)

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

PappaBear avatarPappaBear
Impromptu Quiplash Stream Pre-FNF Come join https://gaming.youtube.com/watch?v=793yaFcpJyI
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
After a long struggle, I seem to have landed in a dream job. It's very exciting and nerve wracking, but I'm happy with where I ended up.
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
Got myself a job for the summer! Now celebrating with some freshly bought Gravity Rush.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
REMEMBER: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is on PS+ for PS3! For PS3/PS4 owners like me who have barely used their PS3's since the PS4, remember that Sony still supports it!
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
*Giggles with glee* img I am loving XCOM 2, even what little of the story I've seen is great! Lost one solider in the first mission. After if course completely failing it XD
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
So uh... I didn't know Nordic was handing out free upgrades of Darksiders 2 Dethinitive Edition for us owners of the original game + all DLC on PC. I wonder if it's even worth installing compared to the original release.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Change the text to Destructoid. Make the alien Mr. Destructoid. And make the skulls either just Jonathan Holmes, or all staff. [img]http://www.destructoid.com/ul/339243-/xcom2box-noscale.jpg[/img] We can make it into an unofficial shirt if it rocks?
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Can any California based Dtoiders confirm/deny how accurate American Truck Simulator is, scenery wise? Apart from the total lack of pedestrians, that is.As a Brit I remember playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 and not recognising a damn thing about Manchester.
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
Wario getting a look at dat ass the only way he knows how.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Okay, what the hell is Youth Health Mag and why is it always sited as a news source?
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
I changed my avatar. You want to sue me? My lawyers are ready to trademark suing me so you have to pay me first.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
The multiple flavors of the soundtrack found in the options of Crypt of the Necrodancer is one of the coolest things I've ever seen a rhythm game do. Been happily replaying the earlier levels just to see a different artist's take on Danny B's original.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, the steam lunar new year sale got me. By making me get BROFORCE!!!! I feel more patriotic already.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
DICKS! Now that I have your attention why don't you join our [url=https://discord.gg/0koh7AdmqhjF1egd]super unofficial Discord chat room[/url]? No installs required and it is always up. So far no spam, no drama, all fun and chit chat / dank memes.
ShadeOfLight avatarShadeOfLight
I...I think I may have caused the new Steam sale. I didn't buy enough during Christmas time. Now Steam is coming for me. I can feel its breath behind me already. I don't have much time left. Whoever reads this, whatever you do, DON'T LOOK INTO ITS -
SayWord avatarSayWord
This cat from a cat-cafe clearly gives no fucks about being burned alive.
Shinta avatarShinta
Just discovered this today. 2012 album, solo artist writes it all herself. I'm blown away ... this is like my album of the year so far, easily. Listen to this song until the end, it just keeps getting better. Wow.
RenaudB90 avatarRenaudB90
Steam, no, please! Not another sale! I need the money for Fire Emblem!
CatastrophiCreations avatarCatastrophiCreations
We just launched our Super Mario cat wall!
CatastrophiCreations avatarCatastrophiCreations
The PacMan Complex is a massive cat haven which doubles as nerdy wall art. It comes with removable wall vinyls.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -