SOE: All of the great MMOs are F2P, like…?

Dave “Doctor Creepy” Georgeson, fresh of his “MMOs should live on forever, so we are shutting down four SOE MMOs!” declaration, is back trying to cram more foot into his mouth, this time trying to defend the minor league MMO model; F2P. It goes about as well has FreeRealms went.

“I think that free-to-play is the way that gamers should want their MMOs to be, and the reason I think that is that if we don’t do a really good job and we don’t entertain the player, we don’t make a dime.

If the above was actually true, it would be a good point. Unfortunately, like anyone who has ever played a F2P MMO knows, that model isn’t about entertaining you; it’s about reminding you to visit the cash shop, over, and over, and over again. It’s about putting up a “Go Gold!” message during combat ala EQ2. Because when I think of ‘make the game better’, the first thing I jump to is more ad spam during my MMO combat.

“We’re effectively street performers: we go out there and sing and dance and if we do a good job, people throw coins into the hat. And I think that’s the way games should be, because paying $60 up front to take a gamble on whether the game is good or not? You don’t get that money back.”

Says the man peddling $100 alpha tickets to a minecraft clone. Can’t wait for the ‘deal’ SOE gives everyone for EQN. Something tells me ‘free’ isn’t going to be the ‘best’ option.

“So if you buy a turkey, you’ve just wasted your money. With free-to-play you get to go in, take a look at it and find out. It’s entirely our responsibility to make sure you’re entertained. That’s the way things should be in my opinion with free-to-play.”

I like the suggestion here that for F2P to work, it’s about making the best possible game and not about making the best possible cash shop delivery vehicle. Like yea Dave, just make an amazing MMO (a first for SOE), make it free, and then put your hat out and see if you catch a few coins. That is not only completely viable, but also totally what you and SOE have been doing over the years. 100%.

This is yet again a great example of what F2P really is; a con. Dave here has to lie and twist to sell the model, because the model ISN’T about making the best possible game and believing that people will see value in it. If SOE had that type of product, they would use the model successful MMOs stick with, and MMOs that thought they would be successful launch with, the sub model.

But much like FreeRealms and the rest of the closed or fledging offerings the one-hit-wonder SOE has, they are all sub-par imitations or ‘me too’ titles, and for that quality level F2P is the model you go with, because under that model you still can dupe a few people out of a few coins while they aren’t looking, and hopefully get a few whale-sized suckers to make giant mistakes.

SOE – Makng bad games, but provide A+ blog fodder.

#SOE #F2P

31 Responses to SOE: All of the great MMOs are F2P, like…?

  1. Jenks says:

    I really like the street performer metaphor, especially when you consider down right the street you have to pay up front to get into Madison Square Garden to watch a much better show.

    To their credit, I think SOE has a couple of pretty good street acts.

  2. spacepilot says:

    I hate defending SOE here, but they did make SWG, which easily beats UO and absolutely destroys EVE and (lol) Darkfall for the best sandbox of all time title. Which you’d know if you hadn’t been playing WoW back then I guess.

    • SynCaine says:

      Haha, SWG being in the same conversation as UO/EVE, thanks for the laugh.

      • spacepilot says:

        You’re right it’s not in the same convo at all, lol. Like I said, pure ignorance on your part, but at least it’s entertaining!

        • Raelyf says:

          Not to argue on which is better, but they proceeded to absolutely destroy SWG. Frankly, fluking a win and then consciously destroying it loses them far more credibility in my book than their long list of bad games has.

        • This is one where you have to follow the parties involved to know what is up. Raph Koster, lead designer for UO and creative director for SWG, was at in large part responsible for the sandbox nature of the games. After SWG he went off to a more business development focused position at SOE and sandbox pretty much disappeared… at least until Smed suddenly got hot on the idea… at about the time he was playing EVE.

          So you can piss all over things if you want, but it looks to me like you are getting a fair amount on your own pants leg.

        • spacepilot says:

          “The sandbox pretty much disappeared…”

          Yeah, ok. Except that’s not even close to what actually happened. Stick to talking about EVE, dude. You might actually know something about that particular game.

        • anon says:

          That’s why swg is still bringing in money…..oh wait……where can I play swg again????

        • Yeah, because of all those sandbox games that came out of SOE after SWG… and how SWG didn’t get its sandbox nature pretty much gutted with NGE. Please, tell me how that all really went.

    • Rammstein says:

      Many serious replies, decent troll 7/10.

  3. Chris says:

    Subscriptions work well because you pay whether you consume content or not,or play that month/day/week or not. If you try to only charge people for the content they play, when they play it, you simply cannot make enough money without also spamming people to buy all sorts of junk.

    I used to run a payment company that specialized in subscriptions. The number of people who continue to pay even when not using the service is huge, as is the number of people who use it minimally.

    So if you had a game that really did just charge for the core content on an ala carte basis, it would never bring in the same revenue as a subscription model.

    You can make a case that ala carte is more fair, but you still have the hard fact that you have to come up with the revenue that you lost somehow. The real cost of a quality game cannot be paid for by pure ala cart pay as you. And I highly doubt that pay for fluff is making up the difference either.

    I don’t know whether some of these guys in the industry are just that fucking stupid or what. This is pretty much cut and dried. Pay as you go = less revenue is a known quanity, it’s been proven out in many other industries. The last transition, less revenue = lower quality games, is just common sense.

    Just goes to show that anyone, regardless of how smart they are in one area, can be dumb as a brick in another.

  4. Quin says:

    Say what you will about Landmark, but SOE have got the beginnings of an awesome engine on their hands. There’s still plenty of scope for them to f*ck it up, but the building blocks are there for something great.

    • anon says:

      soe has had their hands on all kinds of awesome stuff……it was all awesome until they owned it lol

  5. Daniel Díaz says:

    This is a great blog, but claiming Landmark is a Minecraft clone is lighyears beyond stupid. It’s as true a claiming some modern MMO is a clone of some MUD from the 80s.

    And I have enjoyed some f2p games, like Age of Wushu, for example, which is also a sandbox by the way. I stopped playing because the way they were speeding up their releases in Europe was too much for me.

    Had nothing to do with all those wrongs you normally attribute to f2p games in those overly exaggerated ways of you.

    And by the way, I would have tried Darkfall seriously if it was f2p, and would have probably enjoyed it. I bet there’s many thousands like me out there. But I guess it is better if the game just ends up dying because everyone left.

  6. As Chris said, just look at (fitness centres) to see how many people pay for a subscription and then don’t even use it. You do have to convince them to take that first step though.

    I didn’t find the cash shop promo’s in F2P games like Rift, SWO, (lotro) that annoying and perhaps if I didn’t play eve I would spent some money on them.

    Eve is subscription based so I spent about € 400,- to pay for my multiple accounts. If EVE was F2P CCP probably wouldn’t receive that much from me.

    • Anti-Stupidity League says:

      400€ because of the single character/account scam. Jesus Effing Christ. Well I sure am glad there are no whales in subscription based games.

      • Eve allows 3 characters per account.
        In the past they only allowed you to train only 1 character at a time but in most other MMO’s you can only gain xp for one character at a time as well.

        This is mostly a result of EVE promoting paranoia so instead of depending on others you need multiple accounts.

  7. Anti-Stupidity League says:

    “MMOs that thought they would be successful launch with, the sub model” — So you agree that TESO is soon f2p? 4 months to go?

    Just as a friendly bet, I’m willing to bet that EQ Next (f2p model) will have more players logging in and be more profitable than Darkfail 2 (monthly scamscription model and the bestest game ever) has ever been, let’s say – a year from the launch. Most likely it’ll have more players then than Eve (RMT cash shop model for Excel fans everywhere) has ever had, just like another profitable f2p game SW:TOR currently has.

    Agree / Disagree? Discuss.

    • Jenks says:

      “So you agree that TESO is soon f2p”
      I do, because I believe it’s a bad game. It won’t retain even half the subs of FFXIV (a less terrible game) and will go F2P long before it. If anyone disagrees, put your money where your mouth is and let’s make this interesting. :D

      • SynCaine says:

        Game won’t be F2P by the end of 2014. There is always the chance they Rift 1.2 the game, and it’s ruined later, but as of today its not F2P-quality.

        • Jenks says:

          But will you take either bet?
          -ESO will retain fewer players than FFXIV 2.0 (1.8mil after 6 months)
          -ESO will go F2P before FFXIV 2.0

        • SynCaine says:

          I’ll take ESO having more players after 6 months than FFXIV.

          TBD on F2P, as I don’t think either is dropping down to that in the foreseeable future.

    • Rammstein says:

      Same old ASL.

  8. Kuviski says:

    Have to wonder, since a lot of people love to defend the F2P model because it “let’s you try out if you like the game or not”: Have they never heard of free trials? You know, the ones where you get to play for 14 days and see if you like the game?

  9. KennyG says:

    So lets all get behind ESO it has amazing potential, the community seems great and Zenimax may have actually pulled it off but they need our support!

  10. C. T. Murphy says:

    I’m not sure why every other commenter has their panties in a wad – I mostly agree with you.

    Personally, I think that F2P can and probably does bring in more money. From the research I have done and some of the people I have asked, there is a lot of great market data that FOR GAMING the model does work …

    But that’s a strictly business-oriented point-of-view. I personally believe that F2P as we typically know it now is a piss-poor way to finance a MMO. Why? Because it’s the most obtrusive, apparent, and abusable system possible.

    The beauty of box + sub is that you set it up and then you forget it. You aren’t hounded constantly to pay more. There aren’t giant buttons everywhere trying to inspire you to take a look at their new products. You don’t ever hit a content wall where the game says, “To continue, please proceed to our store.” Maybe I am in the minority, but I enjoy playing something that should be an immersive experience without interruption.

    People, especially MMO people, need to ask themselves one question. That question is NOT which will make SOE the most money. It should always be, “Which model will produce the best MMO?”

    Frankly, I am still waiting for F2P to have a quality hit.

  11. Kuki says:

    As kuviski said, MMO’s of past had trials and starting zones (eq2) for anyone to try and see whether they like the game or not.

    I played eq2 since launch. When my server went f2p i stopped playing the game. I paid for that game for more than 5 years or more every month. And it was worth it.

    I will never play f2p games. I believe that game should be what you can play and not pay with rl money… Cash shops with ingame items? f…k it. Earn it through playing the game.

    I am playing ESO now. So far it is very good! I am really surprised how good it plays. But again, if they go f2p I am out.

    2c

  12. Isey says:

    As soon as subscription games provide the same value for time, I’m all for it. And I have always played subscription games. I can’t game 40 hours a week anymore (not even 20) so I am paying over a $1 an hour for my time – which is GREAT in terms of entertainment dollars!

    It just feels bad because some people are paying $0.05 cents for their time, so I am inadvertently subsidizing the players that incur the most costs on the game.

    I know that’s simplified and I know the counter arguments.

    So soon as a sub does an hourly rate +max, I’ll get back into it. That way if I am barely playing I don’t get hit with the full price, but when I do, I do. I’d be fine with that.

  13. John says:

    Syn, when you talk about f2p your comments are hilarious that I really enjoy and laugh a lot :) (in a good way of course).

    “Like yea Dave, just make an amazing MMO (a first for SOE), make it free, and then put your hat out and see if you catch a few coins.”

    I wish he will read that lolol.

    On a more serious note:

    “We’re effectively street performers: we go out there and sing and dance and if we do a good job, people throw coins into the hat. And I think that’s the way games should be, because paying $60 up front to take a gamble on whether the game is good or not? You don’t get that money back.”

    It is true that I would never pay a ticket for street performers, But I would gladly buy a ticket for Metallica, Scorpions, and numerous other great bands. And that’s actually the difference between f2p games and sub games: street performer/great Band…

  14. Doone says:

    My water came through my nose when I read “trying to cram more foot into his mouth”. So accurate. Great read on Georgeson. These guys are the kings of flip-flop and under-delivery.

  15. […] has a delicious critique of Dave Georgeson’s recent remarks about […]

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