Free-to-Play LOTRO Doubles Revenues

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Free-to-Play LOTRO Doubles Revenues


Lord of the Rings Online [http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Rings-Mines-Moria-Collectors-Pc/dp/B001FS8XAK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1286549967&sr=8-1] has become the second Turbine MMO to prove that sometimes, the best way to make money is to give it all away.

It's the paradox of MMOs: Sometimes you can make a whole lot more money by charging a whole lot less. It's a concept that's been slow to catch on with Western MMOs, which have traditionally focused on subscriber-based payment models, but making it free-to-play [http://www.turbine.com/] and now it appears to have done the same thing for Lord of the Rings Online.

Turbine announced in June that LOTRO would drop mandatory monthly service fees [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/101110-Lord-of-the-Rings-Online-Going-Free-to-Play] in favor of a microtransaction-based model with "a la carte" account upgrades and a VIP subscription option for fans who want it all, and so far it seems to be working out pretty well. Executive Producer Kate Paiz said at GDC that revenues have doubled and more than a million new accounts have been created since the change, while peak concurrency (the number of players online at the same time) is up by 300 percent and the number of total active players has jumped by 400 percent.

Perhaps most important of all, 53 percent of players have purchased something from the in-game store, and even the number of paid subscriptions are up. "When you tell people you no longer have to pay for it, they come in droves," Paiz said.

Imposing such a dramatic change can sometimes have the appearance of desperation but Paiz claimed that LOTRO wasn't struggling under the subscription model; Turbine simply felt that dropping the subscription fee would prove to be a more profitable approach. "We knew there was more out there for us," she said. It's hard to argue with success, and getting easier to see a future in which "free" MMOs are the rule, not the exception.

Source: Joystiq [http://www.joystiq.com/2010/10/07/lord-of-the-rings-online-doubles-revenue-since-going-free-to-pla/]


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Syntax Error

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Ah yes... We've had this model for quite some time now here in Asia. Seems to be working quite well.
 

Dogstile

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Jan 17, 2009
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But, but...

Free to play inevitably will make those with more money be better. Its just how it works. It always starts out small. A 1% bonus here, a 2% bonus there, then it gets insane!

ITS A CONSPIRACY I TELL YOU
 

Onyx Oblivion

Borderlands Addict. Again.
Sep 9, 2008
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dogstile said:
But, but...

Free to play inevitably will make those with more money be better. Its just how it works. It always starts out small. A 1% bonus here, a 2% bonus there, then it gets insane!

ITS A CONSPIRACY I TELL YOU
Then don't do anything PvP related.

OT:

I'm always happy to see a risk pay off.
 

Buizel91

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Aug 25, 2008
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Here's hoping TOR will do the same...*Continues to live in Dream Land*

Good for them, it's good to see at least 1 other popular MMO out their other than WoW
 

Gildan Bladeborn

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As happy as I am to see Turbine providing examples of the sustainability of the micro-transaction focused free-to-play MMO business model, a future where that's the rule and not the exception is actually kind of scary. Why? Right now my total aversion to subscription fees is just about the only thing keeping me from diving headfirst into a slew of MMO titles, from which I might never return - what will happen to my free time if all these games let me play them for free?!

With that said, I still totally hope the 40K MMO goes free-to-play.
 

Keava

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Well it's actually a pretty cunning system. You get to play game initially for free, so over the course of 20 levels you get into the world, you get familiar with all the little concepts and gampeplay elements, and suddenly you are left with just grind.
So you either quit the game, grind trying to gather enough free points for new quests, doing same 20 lvls 20 times on all the servers or just buy subscription/points and get it right away.

Oh Turbine, you're such a tease...
 

Twad

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Is the future of games lies in microtransactions? Sure looks like it.
 

Jared

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And whos says been free dosnt pay! way to go Turbine!
 

Piflik

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I think the success of these free-to-play games is for a big part a sociological one...people want to show they are better than the others and micro-transactions are affordable status symbols...as long as having a VIP Account is highly visible , they will prosper...
 

brunothepig

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This is such great news. First, it proves that MMO's can do just as well, or better, with a free to play subscription. Second, it reminded me that LOTRO is free now. Dammit, how did I forget that? I was gonna get it straight away, but I'd maxxed the bandwidth...
And you doomsayers, it's not so bad, I played DDO for a while, but I had to delete it when I wiped my HDD and haven't bothered reinstalling... Anyway, you can find the currency used in microtransactions (presumably this is the same thing, since they're both Turbine games) and the best stuff is always in game. But they gotta make money somehow, so if people want a boost, or some help finding the uber items, then they can go nuts as far as I'm concerned.
 

Mordwyl

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The winning trick is simple: Spread it as much as you can then let players get some bang for their buck. Runescape started early in this race and look at it now.
 

Keava

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brunothepig said:
This is such great news. First, it proves that MMO's can do just as well, or better, with a free to play subscription. Second, it reminded me that LOTRO is free now. Dammit, how did I forget that? I was gonna get it straight away, but I'd maxxed the bandwidth...
And you doomsayers, it's not so bad, I played DDO for a while, but I had to delete it when I wiped my HDD and haven't bothered reinstalling... Anyway, you can find the currency used in microtransactions (presumably this is the same thing, since they're both Turbine games) and the best stuff is always in game. But they gotta make money somehow, so if people want a boost, or some help finding the uber items, then they can go nuts as far as I'm concerned.
LOTRO is actually a lot less F2P friendly than DDO. You are pretty much left without quests past 20 lvl (i think vanilla cap was 50 or 60), you earn TurbinePoints much much slower while the prices are same if not higher than in DDO, and unless you really want to grind you butt off on Deeds you will want to at least buy Mines of Moria expansion on ebay or some retail shop that may still have it and use those 30 free VIP days to get past the grind stage.
 

mazeut

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I play DDO off and on and their micro relatively fair in terms of game balance, at least compared to some of the other F2P games I took a look at. The big thing for me was the premium hirelings and they are primarily for solo. Also their adventure packs are mostly well made.

Lotro, unfortunately, has neither of those so I'm not sure what they can sell without throwing off the cash vs free player balance. They do have instances (of course) that can be turned into adventure packs but Lotro has never had as good a level design as DDO.

Hopefully Turbine spends all that new income they are making on polishing up Lotro and not tarting it up. Would love to wander around Moria again.
 

VulakAerr

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This makes me happy. I love that the servers are more populated now. The newbie zones aren't so quiet and it feels like the good old days. Yay! :)
 

Danzaivar

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dogstile said:
But, but...

Free to play inevitably will make those with more money be better. Its just how it works. It always starts out small. A 1% bonus here, a 2% bonus there, then it gets insane!

ITS A CONSPIRACY I TELL YOU
Erm, so? There are two types of people who play these games.

People who pay for the microtransaction stuff (or are prepared to pay), and people who don't.

If you need to pay for some stuff to be competitive, then anyone who is prepared to pay for stuff will pay it, and anyone who isn't ever at all prepared to pay simply won't.

So that's getting people who will pay to pay, and getting rid of the cheapskates, while still advertising as a 'free to play' game. Sounds like a good business model to me!
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
I think I finally figured out the only way blizz could get me to play wow again

although Im really hoping warhammer online goes this approach since I wouldnt mind getting back into that, the pvp was fantastically fun