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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

GAMING NEWS

Star Wars: The Old Republic Doubles Revenue Through Free-To-Play

Posted on Friday, May 10 @ 10:21:21 Eastern by Jonathan_Leack


Despite a rough start, Star Wars: The Old Republic has enjoyed the spoils of a free-to-play business model since last July. Not only has it introduced a wealth of new players, but it has made the game much more profitable for EA.

EA President of Labels Frank Gibeau stated during the latest earnings call:
Since it was induced in November, we've added more than 1.7 million new players on the free model to the service, and the number of subscriptions has stabilized at just under half a million.
He added:
The really interesting thing that's happening inside the service right now is monthly average revenue for the game has more than doubled since we introduced the free-to-play option.
As mentioned yesterday, World of Warcraft is currently struggling to keep its subscribers retained, losing 1.3 million players in only three months. Meanwhile, free-to-play games are flourishing. Perfect World's Neverwinter just entered open beta last week and sold over $5 million of virtual content in two days.

Almost exactly a year ago I predicted that free-to-play would become the new standard, and it appears it has. Virtually every upcoming MMO, barring Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, is deferring to use the free-to-play model with a cash shop.

On one hand it's nice that you and your friends can play a game without having to pull out your wallets, but the way free-to-play has been implemented has done more harm than good. Several games, including Neverwinter, provide serious advantages to those who cough up money. These games aren't taking notes from Dota 2 or Path of Exile which find a way to be profitable without making purchases seemingly required, not by a long shot.
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