Turbine finally updates us on the continued success of their F2P conversions

Instead of linking to that old PR release about how great LotRO and DDO are doing thanks to F2P, please use this updated link.


About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in DDO, Lord of the Rings Online, Mass Media, RMT. Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Turbine finally updates us on the continued success of their F2P conversions

  1. Rowan says:

    Yeah, because no proprietor of a Subscription only game ever laid off any employee. You’re making a fallacious correlation between a business you personally dislike and the health of a company that operates it.

    You espouse all sorts of valid reasons to dislike F2P. This, sadly, is just your schadenfreude showing through.

    • SynCaine says:

      How so? F2P fans keep linking that old Turbine PR release as evidence of how great F2P is for an MMO. I keep pointing out that the conversion is a one-time boost that ultimately trashes your game. This provides further evidence of that.

      • Anti-Stupidity League says:

        It’s true, I was very surprised to learn that both DDO and Lotro got shut down on the same day. I wish I could still log in to Lotro to play it, but now it’s no more, suffering the same fate as Darkfail 1 and Warhammer Online before.

        Oh, they weren’t actually shut down? You mean Lotro still has more players than Eve has ever had?

        Well, carry on then, nothing to see here. Just business as usual.

        • SynCaine says:

          “You mean Lotro still has more players than Eve has ever had?”


        • “Oh, they weren’t actually shut down? You mean Lotro still has more players than Eve has ever had?”

          I guess “anti-stupidity” doesn’t cover “anti-making-crap-up.” Or do you have some basis in fact for that statement? Because I can find something to support the idea that EVE has more paying players now than LOTRO has ever had at one time.

          But go ahead, cast EVE as fail while claiming “not dead yet” status for LOTRO as success. It gives your handle a wonderful ironic twist.

        • Anti-Stupidity League says:

          Based on Ryan Dancey’s stats that he posted while defending Pathfinder Online’s monthly subscription fees.

          But no worries, I’m sure you think those stats are totally bogus and so so wrong, because once again as always they show that Ryan Dancey and I am right and you, members of the monthly subscription fee cult, are wrong. But surely you think that as the current CEO of Goblinworks and former CMO of CCP, Ryan Dancey knows nothing about massively multiplayer games, right?

        • SynCaine says:

          Yea 200k subs is great than 500k subs. Just like 3m revenue is greater than 6m revenue.

          But hey, LotRO has more freeloaders, which clearly cost the company nothing and bring in loads of revenue, as you so expertly displayed.

          You’re not very good at this.

      • “I keep pointing out that the conversion is a one-time boost that ultimately trashes your game.”

        Since every MMO, subscription or otherwise, bleeds numbers over time, I’m interested to see what evidence you are presenting isolating the F2P transition as the causational factor here?

        • Matt says:

          Given that you say WoW is an outlier and a one-off fluke, and it shouldn’t be used to draw any wider conclusions, can’t we say the same about using the one-off example of EVE as evidence of the superiority of the subscription model for retaining and growing a playerbase?

        • SynCaine says:

          Depends on how you look at it.

          If you view WoW getting as big as it got because, game design aside, it just become a pop culture fad much like Gangum Style having 1b+ more views than any other Youtube video, then no, they are different.

          If you believe WoW got as big as it got purely because of its amazing design, much like EVE is sustainable and growing because of its design, then yes.

          I don’t believe WoW was every THAT much better in terms of design, so I don’t view them as the same thing.

        • Naming games and isolating causational factors are two different things. While the F2P fanboys don’t have any hard data to stand on, its also true that you don’t have any hard data either.

        • Rammstein says:

          “While the F2P fanboys don’t have any hard data to stand on, its also true that you don’t have any hard data either.”

          It’s relevant to post this new data as a rebuttal to people using that old press release, and this data is indeed hard data. As Jenks said below, your comment ignores the context.

    • Dench Unit says:

      “Yeah, because no proprietor of a Subscription only game ever laid off any employee. You’re making a fallacious correlation between a business you personally dislike and the health of a company that operates it.”

      You say this, and yet WoW has increased its dev pool whilst the EVE dev team at the very least hasn’t been laid off (WoD and DUST 514 are another matter entirely, but CCP being incompetent outside of their space game isn’t the matter at hand) and may even have grown.

      Disregarding the fact that pure f2p MMOs have been shutting down for the last year or so, the trend for post-subscription MMOs is almost universally downward:
      -Funcom have one dev team for all their games.
      -Turbine have layoffs, increasingly expensive expansions which also, handily, contain less and less content (and now without the manpower to pump one out each year).
      -SOE are closing ~half of their portfolio, selling EQNL access to whales to recoup some costs already (inb4 “this is a real alpha, I’m sure by buying into it I’m really going to affect the decision making by reposting SWG’s features because I’m a super special blog snowflake with great analytical skills”).
      -Trion’s update schedule (inb4 “cadence”) has been exceptionally lacklustre for Rift, Defiance is being as mediocre as it has been since laynch, ArcheAge is already too late and EoN is either back to the drawing board of mothballed. Oh, and there’s that CubeWorld/Minecraft clone, which shouldn’t be taking up much in the way of financial resources (but if it is: lol).
      -Aion is probably doing what Aion does: enough people to make a Western port justifiable, primarily still powered by Eastern subs.
      -SWTOR might just be breaking even.
      -Fallen Earth is…heh.
      -The two Cryptic games that were originally sub based are, I assume, still getting trickles of content here and there.

      I guess what’s really annoying about all this is that the most recent sub game to launch, FFXIV, is doing its bit to dig SE out of the shitter.

      So yeah, I’d say subs are probably even with F2Ps at this point.

      • Anti-Stupidity League says:

        Amen, brother! Hallelujah!

      • anon says:

        Except the subs make money and give a dev a reason to stay in business. Totally even. All this shit is just still fallout from wow killing the genera years back notice most these f2p games are clones of wow…….

    • Jenks says:

      You’re reading this post in a vacuum. You have to understand the context, it’s in response to a mountain of shitty PR propaganda, such as:

    • Xyloxan says:

      “You’re making a fallacious correlation between a business you personally dislike and the health of a company that operates it.”

      I’m not sure how correlation can be fallacious. Implying that correlation== causation is fallacious but simply pointing out that a company I don’t like is laying off people is just an observation and a fact. It cannot be fallacious (unless the cited report of Turbine layoffs is untrue).

      • That assumes layoffs imply a poor state of health for the company. Career corporate types will tell you that’s not always the case. I believe that is what Rowan is referring to.

        • SynCaine says:

          Unless its part of your business process (for instance hiring contractors to hit a milestone faster/better (lets ignore you don’t do layoffs for contractors)), layoffs are almost never good news and do reflect the health of a company. A successful company that might not need as many resources in one area will reallocate them (with the expectation that some won’t go for this and leave).

          The PR for layoffs is something companies avoid as best they can, and usually its a last ditch move to turn things around (or die slower).

        • Or provide a window of increased profit for a company who is looking for new investors, to make it more attractive to a potential buyer, or to secure a loan. Its also done to shed bureaucratic bloat from previous management. My father-in-law is the CIO of a Fortune 500 company, I’ve watched them do it more than once.

          Before you make the next obvious move in this conversation – no, I don’t know that this is the case with Turbine or its parent company (Time-Warner), but you don’t know that its not either. We can argue about the relative likelihood of it all, but its just guesswork as usual.

        • SynCaine says:

          We don’t know it as fact, no.

          If we were betting money on it, you taking “it’s not because DDO/LotRO aren’t doing well”?

      • Anonymous says:

        My apologies, that should be “business model.” My point is that no game succeeds or fails purely due to its business model. The success factors of both WoW (which has hemorrhaged more players than pretty much all other MMOs ever had) and EVE have little to do with their business model (btw, doesn’t PLEX make EVE hybrid?) and everything to do with game design. Turbine’s “rightsizing” is a business decision, not a game design. You need to look at the design decisions behind LOTRO and other games as well as external market pressures to understand why they succeed or fail. Syncaine insists on oversimplifying it to a question of how the companies extract money from players’ wallets.

        • SynCaine says:

          So you don’t think the need to drive players into the cash shop for LotRO to work is a business model factor that impacts game design?

          Just like CCP needing people to stay subbed drives their game design?

        • Xyloxan says:

          I think there is too much emphasis in this discussion on maximizing profits. As an MMO player I’m interested in playing enjoyable and satisfying games in an MMO environment, and I’m willing to pay for it. I don’t play as many games as you guys, but I find using cash shops in F2P games neither enjoyable nor satisfying. I also find those games shallow and purposely designed to make me use their cash shops. As SynCaine has been saying for years – a game designed to retain happy players for a long haul (—> subscription games) is, obviously, a better game for the players.

          Regarding the number of players playing the F2P games versus the subscription games. I would expect many more players playing the F2P games simply because they are free to start playing (and people love free stuff). If an F2P game has a similar number of players than a subscription-based game it means that the F2P game really sucks compared to the subscription game.

        • Rowan says:

          Weird, is my last comment anonymous to everyone?

          I’m not saying business model doesn’t influence design. But a crappy, unpopular game will be crappy and unpopular regardless of the business model. And a good game will be good regardless of how the player is asked to pay for it.

          Pretty much every game that is not WoW (including EVE) has proven that WoW is an exception to the rule that MMOs are basically a niche in western markets. Every game has its fanbois and haters, regardless of its relative success. And every fanboi thinks his favorite is the result of superior game design.

        • SynCaine says:

          And my point is that a good game will be weaker under F2P, and I’ve yet to see a great F2P MMO. I know what a great sub MMO looks like, and I’ve seen plenty of average ones as well. Until a ground-up F2P MMO is released that comes even close to EVE in terms of BOTH design and success, I’ll continue to repeat that the model is the minor leagues of the genre.

  2. Jenks says:

    2016, Tubine folds
    Syncaine: lol @ f2p
    Commenters: Dude, companies do this all the time. It helps with revenue, trust me, my uncle is an accountant and my brother works at a f2p company. Whenever they start doing really good they fold and fire all their employees, it’s just a tax trick. I’m assuming they’re making more money now that they’re closed and have no employees than ever before, but I can’t prove it and neither can you so I suppose this argument is a draw.

  3. sleepysam says:

    I’m loving this hyper active period of the blog, btw.

  4. sid6.7 says:

    There really isn’t enough data to draw such correlations. If a failing game converts to F2P and continues to fail, that’s not evidence that F2P doesn’t work — it’s simply evidence that the game continues to fail.

    The only way you would really be able to test this hypothesis is to release the same game at the same time with both models and then measure which is more successful.

    And then the question is — how are you defining success? By revenue or by the # of active players?

    As an aside, I’ve never understood why the conversation about why F2P is or isn’t profitable is an important discussion. It’s relevant to game developers but as a CONSUMER it’s not very relevant.

    What IS relevant is that under an F2P model, the developer has a much bigger incentive to exploit it’s consumers. And as consumers, the wake up message we should be sending is that we don’t like F2P because it’s not an ethical practice.

    • Xyloxan says:

      “The only way you would really be able to test this hypothesis is to release the same game at the same time with both models and then measure which is more successful.”

      It’s been argued here (and I agree) that you design games differently depending on the payment model. These cannot be the same games with the same dynamics of questing, exploring, developing your character, and achieving various goals. So this is not a good “test”. But let’s assume that someone tries this approach. As an MMO player, would you really prefer to buy this awesome sword at the cash shop of the FTP version and skipping a long chain of interesting and involving adventures and questing?

      • sid6.7 says:

        That’s the point. It’s impractical to try to draw these correlations because it’s only evidence of a specific title succeeding or failing.

        The only other scenario to test the hypothesis would be to take a successful sub model and make it F2P and then measure it’s additional success or subsequent failure. But that experiment is extremely unlikely to happen (and arguably very foolish).

        Interestingly, however, there have been successful F2P games that have made the transition to subs, which would lead you to believe that at least some game developers believe it is more profitable as a subscription. So while that lends itself a kernel of truth to Syn’s argument, it’s still just anecdotal evidence at best.

        • Rammstein says:

          Nothing about this blog is practical, why bother to make that point? If you want practical go watch a video on how to fix your dishwasher. This is a blog about video games. That’s impractical level 1. Now, in addition to this, it’s not even about how to play them better, but it’s about what people think about these games. It’s impracticality cubed. Is this news to you? If you want to say it’s illogical, then you’re just wrong; it’s not illogical to conjecture based on the best evidence available.

          That said, the actual blog post under discussion here is a rebuttal of other people making that type of arguments , using the same type of evidence they used to make the arguments in the first place. If you want to object to the practicality of this already obviously impractical endeavour, you’ve chosen the wrong blogpost.

    • anon says:

      U missed the point the failing game converts to f2p mainly to try to recoup losses. If the game.was.good or marketed good it wont go f2p cuz plenty of ppl are willing to pay for it. This isn’t rocket science

  5. Neldoria says:


    (tl;dr ; stop hurting lotro!! :D)

    i guess i must be a strange one as in I play eve AND lotro.
    not subbed in any of them, plexing eve and just buying (base)expansions in lotro.
    I dont find the cash shop too intrusive at all, surely not as bad as you have us believe in your regular little “hints”..

    they tried to be sub-based as you know very well, now you’re basicly slagging them for trying to stay in business.
    how very evil!

    maybe there’s just no market for sub-based games anymore?
    either that or every single dev was a complete muppet since 2003/04?
    isn’t that the last time sub-based games launched that are still sub-based?
    how about the one you were championing here so passionately about a year ago? what was the name again?
    ok, that was decidedly mean:D

    /i’m aware of FFXIV but let’s just wait and see as it’s pretty new yet/

    • SynCaine says:

      We can agree to disagree on LotRO spamming you with cash shop stuff. I’d say they are rated more harshly since one of the main selling points of that game (and a virtue they talked about often pre and post release) vs WoW or other themeparks is the immersive lore and staying true to the source material. That more or less has been tossed out the window under F2P.

      Also you are subbed to EVE. You just let someone else pay for your sub in exchange for you gathering 500m or whatever ISK monthly. CCP sees you no differently than someone paying the $15 themselves.

      • Neldoria says:

        regarding immersion in lotro, tons of RP events every single weekend on Landroval say otherwise, but have it your way

        any thoughts on my last paragraph?
        I was kinda hoping to see your take on that, rather than stating the obvious about plexing, but hey…

        • SynCaine says:

          If you can stay immersed in an RP event while the loading screen tells you about the latest cash shop sale, or you see someone ride by on a silly cash shop mount, that’s impressive.

          As for the lack of sub games lately, its the same reason we had 10 years of pure WoW clones; most dev teams are terrible and will try to mimic whatever was perceived to work before. First it was cloning WoW (how did that work out for most?), lately its been jumping on the F2P bandwagon (how’s that working out for Turbine employees, the last 4 SOE titles, or the weekly F2P MMO to shut down?).

  6. Neldoria says:

    your own argument:
    how does subscription model working out for all the other games then?

    • SynCaine says:

      Working pretty well for WoW, EVE, FF11, FF14, Allods (I guess?). Worked for DF1 enough to fund/create DF:UW.

      People try to twist this into sub=success. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is F2P=failure. Still waiting for a counter example to the second, rather than people asking about the first.

      • Neldoria says:

        surely you joking?

      • sid6.7 says:

        Want evidence of F2P success? The current market capitalization of Zynga, who really only does games following this model, is currently $4 billion dollars.

        I fully understand the differences here, I’m just pointing out that the “model” isn’t the part that’s not successful. It’s the games.

        • SynCaine says:

          F2P MMO, not F2P games. LoL is the biggest game out, and the F2P model is awesome for that game.

        • sid6.7 says:

          In that case, you should have wrote MMO=failure since that would have been more accurate.

        • SynCaine says:

          I thought it was a given considering every example I listed was an MMO, and I’ve stated countless times I think F2P is awesome for non-MMO titles like LoL.

        • sid6.7 says:

          You missed the joke. I said MMO=failure because almost every new MMO fails regardless of the model.

          F2P != Failure
          MMO = Failure

          So logically F2P + MMO = Failure is more likely the fault of MMO failing than the F2P model. Or as I said above, it’s the game.

        • SynCaine says:

          I guess if you ignore FF14, and Allods being successful-enough to go from F2P to sub, or the continued success of older sub MMOs, sure.

      • Neldoria says:

        Allods is f2p with one server sub-only unless i’m totally mistaken

        FFXIV has not been around long enuff to convert to f2p, hence my original omission of that title – not that I have any interest in it, but may they succeed!

        mentioning DF as anything other than fail is stretching it, and you of all people should know that firsthand
        hell, lotro has ten (or more?) times more subs being an f2p game than any DF had ever have

        I’m not trying to pick a fight, you’re one of the very few mmo-bloggers that I read AND respect, mainly I was just trying to point out that
        a; lotro is not that bad:D
        b; all the other games(mmo) aren’t doing much better with the exception of the two elephants in the room – wow/eve

        if I came across as overly argumentative, please keep in mind that english isn’t my first language


        • SynCaine says:

          Haha, no worries on the tone, and I see all stuff like this as fun debate, not arguing.

          I believe the Allods sub server is the most popular server they have. It was last I heard anyway, maybe its changed.

          And yea, hopefully we get a few more elephants in this room, I’m all for that.

Comments are closed.