Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One-way street

Have you heard of the Free2Play game that was so successful that after a year they changed to a monthly subscription business model? No? Me neither! While the reverse story, games starting out with monthly subscriptions and changing to Free2Play is becoming increasingly common, that move appears to be a one-way street.

There is a general perception that the "successful" games can get away with a monthly subscription payment plan, while those games that fail to make it into the top tier are forced to switch to Free2Play. Nobody expects World of Warcraft to go Free2Play, or SWTOR to be released as Free2Play game from the start.

But if the business model was only a question of how successful a game is, then how come that the more successful Free2Play games never change to a monthly subscription model? What does that tell us that a switch appears to be possible only in one direction, but not the other? Just two years ago, any mention of microtransactions or Free2Play evoked a big howl in the comment section of this blog, about how that would be the end of MMORPGs. Today the move towards Free2Play appears nearly inevitable. What changed?

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