More FreeRealms price wondering

Just to follow up on the FreeRealms post below, how many of you are going to PAY for FR? I see a ton of people say they will try it, but I’m not hearing a whole lot of talk about all the features people are looking forward to buying (card game is the only one mentioned AFAIK). How much money are you going to invest is what many are calling a secondary MMO?

While FR can’t really be compared to a standard subscription MMO, I also don’t think you can make a comparison to traditional F2P games either. F2P games are generally budget titles with low development costs aimed more at tossing out ten titles and hoping one is a hit. FR is not one game out of ten SOE hopes will find an audience; it’s FR or bust for SOE here.

FR drops the upfront profit of box sales, meaning they forfeit the gains made from the tourist population. Everyone knows AoC and WAR both got a large chunk of change from initial sales before settling into their market size, and FR won’t be able to benefit from this post-WoW effect. This also increases the pressure on getting more people to not only pay, but pay for a long time. Everyone who quit AoC/WAR in the first month essentially paid a subscription price of $65 for that month, equal to a bit more than four months of ‘normal’ subscription pay, or a full year of the FR sub price. So even if every single tourist actually pays for 12 months of FreeRealms, SOE has only managed to collect what Mythic or Funcom collected in the first month.

This all leads me to believe the RMT factor in FR will be higher than I’ve read, or SOE really believes they can get millions to pay the $5 monthly fee. The issue I see with RMT, and I’ve said this before, is that while someone with a credit card might be willing to pay a few bucks on impulse, a child playing FR has to ask mom/dad to buy them that pink bunny. How many parents are going to allow their child to rack up $15+ of RMT transaction a month? Remember that the business model behind RMT is to accept many, and profit off the few that go overboard. With a third party (the parent) controlling the cash flow, that will significantly curb the ‘addiction’ of RMT that we see in traditional F2P games (not to mention that the basis for that RMT is usually to gain power compared to others, usually in an end-game PvP setting, which is clearly not going to be the case in FR)

Side note: This discussion of FR puts the actual gameplay aside. If FR is amazingly fun and gets 11 million paying customers, that minimizes the impacts of a bad business model, just like if FR is terrible and has 10k paying customers, no amount of cleaver payment plans will save it. I’m simply trying to further understand and analyze how SOE seeks to capitalize on FR with their current pricing model, as it’s clearly different from the standard $15 a month we normally see.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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9 Responses to More FreeRealms price wondering

  1. pitrelli says:

    Hmm i have never really had my finger on the pulse of Free Realms as I’d always assumed it to be a kids game. I may dip my toe in on a free sub and see what its like however I wont be expecting to spend much time on it if im honest.

  2. Bhagpuss says:

    It surprises me to see the degree of discussion on whether people will pay $5 a month, either for themselves or for their child to play a game. Surely it’s a trivial sum for almost anyone who is able to maintain a computer that could play the game in the first place?

    Even looking at $5 plus the estimate of $15 for cash shop items, that’s $20. $20 a month is not a significant financial outlay for most working adults, nor for their children. Most single adults or parents with tweenage kids will routinely spend sums like $5 to $10 dollars on inconsequential, unecessary, trivial, impulse purchases day in, day out.

    This isn’t to say that Free Realms will be successful, just that the cost-to-enter barrier is trivial for the target market. What counts is whether the game snags the zeitgeist. I doubt it will, it looks too calculated to me, but we shall soon find out.

  3. Bleri says:

    Although those that only played AoC/WAR for a month may have paid the equivalent of $65 for that months subscription, Funcom & Mythic sadly, for them, wouldnt have seen the four months equivalent money. A high proportion of the box sales would have gone to distributors/retailers.

    That said, I expect both companies achieved an income from the box sales that neither could/would ignore. Also a high initial outlay may well encourage people to retry at a future date to recoup some of that initial expense.

  4. Pingback: The Common Sense Gamer ? FreeRealms: Some Playtime

  5. Morane says:

    “How many parents are going to allow their child to rack up $15+ of RMT transaction a month?”

    More than you think. Better than half of the kids on my daughter’s soccer team have a cell-phone. They have American Girl dolls that cost over $50, $100 sneakers, $200+ electric motorcycles. There are kids who have all three major gaming platforms. Parents easily drop $5 almost every time the ice-cream truck comes around – which is every day – add that up.

    $15 is nothing.

  6. Bonedead says:

    I’d pay $5 a month if I got bored of the free Jobs and free things to do. I probably wouldn’t pay it more than one month though. If I like the racing thing a lot maybe I’ll spend 5 bucks on some faster gocart thing. But yeah, I’m definitely not going to pay them a bunch of money (at least, I think I’m not).

    On the whole, kids and their parent’s credit cards thing. I think you will be surprised. Nowadays there are so many parents who just throw money at their kids to get them to shut up, it’s sad, but it’s true.

  7. Anjin says:

    I’m 35 and I would be ready to hand over my credit card to SOE were it not for technical problems I’m having with the game. The first time I saw a member gated quest objective, I knew they had me. The microtransactions will be another thing entirely. Outside of Rock Band, I have a real psychological barrier when it comes to buying “points.”

  8. WG says:

    Small point, but of the $50 price of a boxed game, the publisher/developer sees about half if the game is sold through a retailer.

  9. Bonedead says:

    Yeah I’m going to pay. If I don’t then I’ll never be #1 on the leaderboards! I can’t have that, now can I?

    I think this game is going to rake in the money just fine for SOE. I plan on spending 10-20 on it today, and I doubt I’m the only one. This game reminds me of playing in an arcade, which I did a lot as a little kid, and it is also a lot like the Wii (to me).

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