There is a great deal to admire when it comes to Free 2 Play MMOs. It’s being called the new standard. While big releases seem to move towards the model of Free to Play after launch, the latest release of Guild Wars 2, said to the community, building games to be Free to Play should now and should have always been the standard.
While the benefits are overwhelmingly obvious. The basic lack of losing $15 a month seems all too enticing. The overall effect doesn’t seem to be any different for me. Whether GW2 released as a subscription model or it released as a F2P does not change its position to me any differently. In the end, no matter which model they went with, they only ever would have been receiving $60 of my money. The box comes with a fee month in a subscription plan. And this game doesn’t have the content of a month in it. It doesn’t really have a week.
There in lies the advantage of always being a F2P model. We don’t get to call it a failure. When GW2 sold 2 Million copies it was a success and the story stopped there. Less than a week later GW2 sales fall to unexpected lows, as ArenaNet worked to sabotage their own sales. Their sales went down 84% in week two. But no one cares. Apparently that is not worth noting when deciding whether an MMO is a success. SWTOR sells 2.1M overnight and holds 1.7M extra in sales over the next 3 months. But we call it a flying failure for not holding our subscriptions for more than 3 months. GW2 sells 2M a couldn’t move another box to save their life, and on purpose as well, and it’s a flying success?
An 84% drop in revenue the very next week and it’s still a success? I don’t get the community. They are either truly mathematically illiterate or simple easy to please people. I don’t believe the latter to be true. EA’s expansion for Sims 3: Super Natural kicked GW2 sales in the face. That’s right. A bullshit expansion to a 5-year-old game kicked GW2 balls in numbers. You think EA is afraid of GW2? Not in the least.
So while the community, for some god forsaken reason, wants all other producers to see GW2 and hope that we never see subscriptions again, I very much doubt it. I would much rather companies see the value in actual game upkeep to the community.
I think the wrong lesson is being taught in the MMO world. There is this Subscription Versus F2P Model battle. And they are both wrong. The F2P model fails to deliver us sustained playability and customer support. It lacks the very intent of MMO, which is an ever evolving world. The Subscription model in essence works, it just hasn’t seen the fruition it intended. It wanted the subscription to uphold Customer Service, to pay for continued Monthly additions, to provide wide arrays of free content. And each game released with this intention. Only to find the running the game and producing were far in different scopes. It’s sad to see the companies that wanted to provide this, felled face first. The unforeseeable failure has left us with F2P as our only option?
It’s hard to tell what is on the horizon at the moment. But I hope for better things from the future. GW2 was not the answer, in many regards.