15 April 2013
| | iTZKooPA
Never one to shy controversial topics in the video game industry, Mark Jacobs is expecting the free-to-play genre to get hit hard soon. The lead designer to every Mythic Entertainment game worth mentioning, Jacobs explained to VG247 that the popular F2P business model is just that, another option. He took the analysis further, essentially calling the model an ever-increasing bubble. A bubble, that like the housing market in 2008 and Dot Com bubble in 1999-2000 and everyone before them, is bound to burst.
Again, like those aforementioned bubbles Jacobs expects a catastrophic failure of the F2P model in three to five years due to unsustainable practices. The results? Developer closures and substantial losses for publishers.
You’re going to see a lot of developers shutting down, and you’re going to see a lot of publishers going, oh yeah maybe spending $20 million on a free-to-play game wasn’t the best idea ever. That’s part of the reason, but the other reason is equally as important, that if you go free-to-play, you really have to compete with every other free-to-play game out there.
Jacobs believe that Camelot Unchained, his spiritual successor to Dark Age of Camelot, will fare better by targeting his specific niche of gamers with a (potentially lower) subscription title developed for them. This follows numerous basic business principles of delivering the right unique product to the right target market.
That doesn’t make F2P incorrect or subscription correct. Simply different. To follow the basic business analogy, F2P games are essentially consumer packaged goods that approach a wide market with low margins covered by high volumes.
What’s your take on the potential of a F2P bubble? Could even World of Warcraft launch today and be the same success it was in 2004?
Camelot Unchained is currently over halfway to its $2 million Kickstarter goal with 16 days remaining.
12 March 2013
| | iTZKooPA
In the latest Ask Us Anything, ZeniMax Online’s own version of a Reddit AMA, the company focuses on answering questions for one core facet of The Elder Scrolls Online; combat. The Elder Scrolls universe is rife with it, but exactly how it’ll work, how fast the gameplay will be and how important it will be to general progression hasn’t been discussed in detail. Until now.
What’s even cooler is that ZMO continues to credit the community with these questions. Matt Feisthammel asked after the soft locking system, including its impact on melee and how it may interact with dodge. Soft locking prevents one character from taking a blow for another, however dodges and evasion moves will enable them to avoid the damage.
Perhaps most applicable to the upcoming fantasy MMORPG is the presence of the ‘holy trinity’ of tank, DPS and healer, and how it will impact gameplay. The community team let an internal email – which you can see undedited after the cut – do the talking. Short answer, the core holy trinity will not be needed.
5 February 2013
| | iTZKooPA
No Ragnaros, but pretty big.
Discussed yesterday, TERA is now part of the growing behemoth that is the F2P MMOG genre. The folks over at En Masse Entertainment felt that the conversion performed earlier today for the action-oriented MMORPG from its original AAA subscription model to the F2P model warranted a little more than simply new content.
Coming in at just under two minutes, the all-new trailer doesn’t dance around the title’s rebirth at the hands of the F2P conversion. It doesn’t skimp on the action either, showcasing a half dozen boss battles from every angle of the holy trinity. Barely touching upon the other details surrounding the recent patch, the trailer does get ones blood pumping and ready for action versus some big ass monsters.
Hit the jump for the all-new TERA: Rising trailer and a selection of accompanying screenshots. Continue Reading
9 November 2012
| | iTZKooPA
Months of speculation and rapidly declining subscription numbers finally led to Electronic Arts and BioWare announcing that Star Wars: The Old Republic would be converting to a free-to-play business model. Players were given tons of details on the conversion, beta access and numerous changes to the structure based on player feedback. But there was one question that was dodged with the skill of any of our finest politician, “When will the F2P launch happen?”
The wait is over. BioWare has stuck to its guns. TOR will make its re-launch before the year is out. In fact, much sooner than that. Come November 15, 2012 everyone on this planet will be able to play The Old Republic via the “free-to-play option.” The new option will launch internationally.
Don’t forget, TOR will retain a subscriber option, granting bonuses to those that routinely support development. In addition to monthly allotments, anyone with an account in good stand will receive whatever is displayed on their Cartel Coin Ledger and a one-time bonus of 250 Complimentary Cartel Coins. Former subscribers that reactivate before December 21 will earn themselves Complimentary Cartel Coins for each paid month prior to November 15.
Have additional questions? Check out the F2P FAQ.
3 October 2012
| | iTZKooPA
PlanetSide 2 is one of many games about to be made available that offers a multitude of options for players to support the developer. Everything from not paying a cent to full subscription. The shooter has been in beta for sometime, which has allowed Sony Online Entertainment to collect enormous amounts of feedback on all aspects of the game, including how players were reacting to the early membership benefits.
Apparently, the playerbase wasn’t ecstatic with the benefits, which has caused SOE to modify them. Earlier this week, SOE posted revised and final membership benefits.
For $14.99 a month, subscribers will receive:
- 25-50% increased resource gain.
- 25-50% increased XP gain.
- 25-50% increased passive cert point gain.
- Note: Each of the above start at 25% and increase by 5% per month of sustained membership up to a total bonus of 50% each at 6+ months membership.
- Priority login queue
- Early Access to new cosmetic items on the store
- 500 StationCash each month (a $5.00 value)
Notable changes include the removal of “increased resource pool caps,” removing a controversial pay-for-power benefit. The range in benefits are a result of membership lengths. To gain the full 50% increase players must purchase a six-month membership. Currently, the monthly option is the only membership package available.
16 July 2012
| | iTZKooPA
Perhaps SOE is attempting to compete with the Steam Summer Sale. Who knows, and honestly, who cares?! We’re getting our favorite games at awesome discounts all over the place! Starting July 18 at 3:00 AM EST (*yawn*) players will be able to snatch up any subscriptions for DC Universe Online (PC only), EverQuest II and EverQuest for 25% off. Yes, DCUO is F2P, but like many F2P games, it still offers a subscription option.
The promotion has the typical SOE caveat. Players must actually upgrade their current status to receive the discount. This means that free players need to become subscription players. No problem. It also means that a current month-to-month subscriber will need to purchase a multi-month option. Those already at that level need to increase their multi-month package to a longer agreement. At least you save more and more the higher you go up.
The deal ends at 2:59 PM EST on July 24, so be sure to get in before the lock.
Long story short, upgrade or you don’t get a discount of any kind. What is it with SOE and odd requirements?
15 June 2012
| | LHStaff
This is a guest article written by Sephalon.
Earlier this week, a Community Manager announced on The Secret World forums that Funcom will be having a “Founding Cabal” lottery. Just in case you didn’t know, a Cabal is just a guild called… well a cabal.
As Famine, the CM who made the announcement, said it:
Attention Guild Leaders!
You and your guild now have the chance to become one of the privileged few that have a unique opportunity to secure your guild’s prominence in The Secret World as a Founding 50 Cabal(cabals in The Secret World are equivalent to guilds in other MMORPGs). Leaders of guilds that are already in existence and who seek to have a presence in The Secret World may apply for one of alimited number of reserved spots. Continue Reading
1 February 2012
| | LHStaff
The good thing about being a public company is that they have to release their subscription and sales numbers, so while we can only guess how many subscribers games like RIFT and LOTRO have, we only have to wait for a quarterly report for Star Wars: The Old Republic.
It seems SWTOR did better than EA expected, the numbers are below then some interesting Q&As during the conference call.
- 2,000,000+ copies sold – 40% sold through Origin
- 1,700,000+ active subscribers – 1 million concurrent
Q: Are these 1.7 subscribers paying?
A: Active subscribers means anyone paying or in their trial period. Most of those 1.7m are paying at this point
Q: You’ve previously said you need about a half million subscribers to be profitable, is that still the case?
A: At 500,000 subscribers, we’d break even. At a million, we’d be making a profit but nothing worth writing home about. As it scales up from there, we’re talking about a nice profit. At this point with the successful launch, we can take the worst case scenarios off the table.
With well over a million pre-orders, I have to say these numbers are not at all surprising. What will be interesting to see is which direction these numbers go next quarter and how many players they will retain. Then I’ll have something to write about.