style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: right; width: 325px;"

href=""> src=""
style="border: 2px solid ; width: 400px; height: 180px;">

style="font-style: italic;">Give me a break, Blizzard.
 I can't even beat lazy peons in the newbie zone anymore
thanks to Cataclysm.

you’ve lived under a rock for the last few years in the MMO world, or
if you're a exclusively WoW player, you might not
noticed a major trend happening in the industry. 
More and more companies are
noticing that a subscription free revenue model offers a better chance to compete. 
Recently we published an article on href=""
target="_blank">why subscriptions are here to stay,
but it’s
time for another
perspective on why Free to Play is the future after all.

style="">#1 – No barrier to entry, no reason not to try F2Ps.

the most dominant reason to go to this business model is the fact that
grandma can hear about this newfangled World of Facebookcraft and spend
hours downloading it on her AOL 56k connection, and see for herself why
million players are now lifeless zombies outside of their alter egos as
half-orc fire mages.  It’s
much easier
for players to jump ship and give a game a try if they don’t have to
plunk down a credit card number in order to play more than 10 days.

game is free to play, it’s *much* easier for a player to invite their
to start playing and the domino effect continues. Word of mouth is the best kind of advertising because, well, it's free.

style="">#2 – Retail expansions for subscription
games have gone downhill.

style="">We’ve seen Tuesday mornings
turn into Tuesday nights when it comes to logging on and playing after
a silly
2 GB patch.  Why
isn’t the actual game
just patched and the option to pay for it with currency instantly
available?  Better
yet, if we’re paying
~$150 a year, why isn’t it just handed to us? 
The content is never "playable" at launch anyway—it’s bug
unoptimized, and unlocked piece by piece with patches anyway. style="">  Recent free or low cost expansions such as href=""
target="_blank">Crimecraft: BLEEDOUT, Global Agenda: Sandstorm, and EVE Online: Incursion proved that
you can deliver exceptional content for a minimal price. style="">  Hell, if you pay the
monthly subscription for games like Crimecraft, DDO, and EVE, you get the expansion for free! 
On the other hand, it’s only a matter of time before people get sick of
paying for some of
the worst communities ever.

style="">#3 – F2P Cash Shops take advantage of impulse buying

style="">Sick of grinding? style="">  Buy double exp! style="">  Sick of not having epic
flying?  Buy a mount
that scales with you!  Not
only do these features allow people with
pockets to bypass things they find annoying, but they also a developer
amazing income stream with simple obstructions. 
Name me a Free-to-Play game that gives you more than one
bag of
inventory space—you probably can’t. 
say you like a game and you want to get further into it, but don’t want
commit just yet?  Just
drop a little money, and in most F2Ps you’re set for life on that character, still with no monthly
fees!  Hell, even I
fell for this logic
and bought Turbine Points (which I regret about a day later and still
wish I
had that 50 bucks) to invest in making my Loremaster’s life easier.

# style="">4 – The people that aren’t buying, aren’t
playing for long.

style="">One of the major
considerations people use against the F2P business model is that server
and infrastructure simply cost too much to maintain without a steady
stream.  Guess what? style="">  With enough restrictions
in play, people
won’t want to play your game beyond a certain point without spending
any money,
if the game is properly designed.  If
they quit, who
cares, they’re not consuming your bandwidth and resources at that point!

style="">#5 – People love fancy things, and vote with their

style="">Got a cool design that’ll be
loved by all?  Slap
a price tag on it and
throw it to the masses.  Charge
a few
bucks and watch the frenzy begin. 
it doesn’t even have to have utility. 
95% of the buyers of the Celestial Steed probably already
had an epic
flying mount, and I bet half of those even had a 310% speed mount,
making this
a luxury car you show off, and then put in the garage and mount your
mount (if you can call a 310% frost wyrm/drake casual?). style="">   But if you slap
some stupid achievements
related to these purchases in your game, and then make it unique enough that it
out?  People will
buy it.

style="">#6 – Fresh
arrive constantly, keeping old content populated….and purchased.

style="">The worst feeling in the
world is to jump into an established MMORPG with no friends. style="">  You will be running around
zones alone, and
you might run into a few people if you’re lucky for some time. style="">  This alone is enough to
make people quit some
games before their subscription month expires. 
How many played Aion beyond the first month besides me? style=""> 1%? 
FFXIV?  *tumbleweed*…

While the current state of
F2P MMORPGs is that of  more money = more power, as the big
name MMOs slowly work towards a F2P business model, they drop the
overpowering benefits of being a subscriber.  It's
also these big games such as EverQuest 2 and Champions Online recently
doing it that help the overall tone of F2P.  Not a few years
ago, I wouldn't even consider a game that was free to play.
 Having dabbled in several F2Ps, I knew that they had
hellish grinds and little balance, and even less translation accuracy.

With little experiments like href="" target="_blank">DDO
proving fruitious well beyond expectations, and many other games
following suit, it's only a matter of time until the subscription beast
goes down.  

I just hope it doesn't come back with
the server restarts.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016