Scott Hartsman Talks RIFT Success and Free-to-Play

Trion Worlds boss Scott Hartsman discusses RIFT launch, thoughts on free-to-play and the MMORPG’s profitability.
RIFT arguably had the most polished launch in MMORPG history and has enjoyed a fair bit of success since its March release. Trion Worlds boss Scott Hartsman recently took some time to discuss the topic of free-to-play and the game’s current state with Eurogamer. While Hartsman didn’t reveal RIFT’s subscription numbers when asked (few publishers ever do), we do know that according to Trion Worlds SVP David Reid that RIFT was approaching one million sold units in June, but that certainly doesn’t mean more or less of those players stuck around.

Hartsman maintains that RIFT is “absolutely profitable” and that the game has been growing since launch. When asked about the possibility of RIFT going free-to-play, Hartsman responded, "Right now, absolutely no plans whatsoever.” Hartsman went on to explain that often free-to-play games rely on a small number of players to subsidize gameplay for everyone else and that free players tend to bounce out more quickly than subscribers, making one of the big challenges for creating a free-to-play model figuring out a way to make free players stick around and make money, something that Hartsman admits can work well if you develop with that mindset, but for now that model wouldn’t make sense for RIFT.

"One of the assumptions people make is you can just take a game and throw a switch and change the model. For starters, you'd have to decide that that would be a good thing, and I do not think it would be - that would be a fairly large net negative for Rift and Rift community.

RIFT is expected to launch its sixth major content update and largest to date later this week with 1.6. Be sure to check out our preview of the latest update with RIFT's Hal Hanlin to find out what's new.

You can sign up for a RIFT free trial via the official website.

Source: Eurogamer - Trion's Scott Hartsman on Rift subscribers, free-to-play and money

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