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.