Another success story for MMOs utilizing the free-to-play model can be found with Lord of the Rings Online. With the landscape of MMOs being dominated by World of Warcraft, it is increasingly harder for other MMOs to gain the attention of the gaming community. Players are more likely to spend time on a game without a monthly subscription fee, and Lord of the Rings Online is enjoying triple the revenue since the switch to free-to-play.
Turbine, the studio behind Lord of the Rings Online, has revealed that millions of new accounts have been created since the change to a free-to-play model. Approximately 20 percent of their former player base has returned. The game’s active user based has grown four time over, with a 300 percent increase in concurrent players. Lord of the Rings Online and Turbine had already experienced positive growth a mere month after the decision. This news not only shows that the decision continues to have positive results, but is also proof that this model can work over the usual monthly subscription model.
Especially for those MMOs struggling to keep an audience, moving to a free-to-play model can prove lucrative. More MMOs are using the free-to-play model to lure new players as well as recover their lapsed former player base. Games such as Champions Online are adjusting their business model in an attempt to achieve similar success. Many gamers would love for free-to-play to be the future of online gaming. Even with the free-to-play model, gamers will purchase expansion packs, additional character slots, customization options, and other perks. However, without the necessity to sign-up for a monthly subscription fee, usually $14.99 in most cases, games have a much higher chance of getting played.
With Lord of the Rings Online finding success with this model, it also shows how the model has evolved from being seen just in more casual MMOs to being used by more hardcore franchises. It opens the door for more studios to consider this as an option before releasing their latest effort or abandoning their current one. Turbine is readying gamers for the next expansion for Lord of the Rings Online, The Rise of Isengard, to be released this year. The studio is hoping to prove that their current player base will enjoy the new expansion, therefore proving their dedication to the game.
Ranters, are you playing any free-to-play MMOs? Do you think this is the model most MMOs will have to use in the future?