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Lotro triples revenue following introduction of free to play.

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Attic Drama, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. Attic Drama

    Attic Drama Guest

    I was wondering what implications this might have for UO. I have been playing UO since 1999 and would love to see more people in game. Increased revenue would also mean increased development resource I guess. I know there are those here in violent opposition to and those greatly in favour of free to play. Would tripling its revenue make UO a better game?
     
  2. Basara

    Basara UO Forum Moderator
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    wasn't this LOTRO statement debunked a while back as being a short-term tripling, followed a few months later by a dramatic fall in revenue back to or below the old level? The "tripled income" story is at least a year old, and I notice the ads for F2P LOTRO have disappeared from TV - something you wouldn't expect if revenues went up and stayed there.
     
  3. Siteswap

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    Not necessarily. Remember, thats not UO revenue ... its EA revenue, so it doesnt follow that the additional revenue would be used to improve or better support UO. They could just as easily, and most probably would, put that additional revenue to some other non UO use. This is EA we're talking about remember.
     
  4. Wenchkin

    Wenchkin Babbling Loonie
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    It does depend on a few things.. firstly the customers playing UO and what they'll go for. We seem to be on a subscription + boosters + other items model. Or the *ker-ching!!* model as I call it. Yet I feel few players are concerned about the costs of UO, I guess most are more "hooked" than I am lol. Sadly there are games out there which take expensive to greater heights so players seem to accept more than I think they ought to. But if we as players are suckers enough to hand over a lot of money already, I'm not sure EA are going to drop the price ;)

    Secondly, there's free to play and there's F2P which is so restrictive it's just a trial. The latter is the most common one out there, and if I'm honest I avoid all those games on principle. I don't like people using "F2P" to describe a trial, it's just a method of suckering in players and getting them hooked. It makes great business sense of course, not all customers scrutinise the restrictions before they download a F2P. I skip all the videos and eye candy and go straight to the terms page lol. And if I see a game where they're pulling the F2P trial with a sub over $9 then I'm outta there.

    The folk who don't like F2P? I think they'll always oppose it regardless. I don't understand the mentality myself, there are good and bad players in paid or free games and I just want more players in the game having fun. You aren't a better player if you pay more money IMHO. Others just want to restrict the heck out of the F2P option, like how dare they expect to have fun when they're not paying. Then complain that there aren't many players on their shard any more *shrugs*.

    What I'd love to see is a model more like Dofus. Their monthly sub is just a few pounds, so nice and affordable if you go that route. They have a store with RL items too. The F2P model is limited, but you can now trade game gold for tokens which can pay for gametime. Players don't have to buy gold from dodgy gold sellers, they can buy these tokens from Ankama and sell them in the game to get their gold. So it helps players on limited RL budgets to really have a F2P that's free, and it gives Ankama the revenue for the gold sales.

    I think a model like Dofus uses would be a good option for UO to consider: reduce the subs a bit for everyone, but add in ways for players to trade for gold and gametime to bump up revenue alongside boosters and store items. And more RL items, clothing, models...use the artwork for as many things as you can and maximise the income from it. If you have the designs sitting there, use them. Then if players want to spend RL$ they can, but those who want to save money and have fun can still play. I find Dofus much more attractive than UO in that respect, you aren't really pushed into spending much cash.

    I guess we'll know in the next while if EAM are ever going to look at F2P type models. My gut feeling says they won't, as long as we sucker up and pay for new pixel crack we encourage that model to continue. And given how few good F2P models there are, I don't know if it's smart to expect an awesome model from EAM. They do have good non-essential items in the game store as opposed to must haves, but if they listen to the suggestions from many players...we'll just get the F2P trial restriction flavour. If we were going to get a really good subscription/F2P model I think I'd get back into buying boosters or get items in the shop. But right now I feel it's better to either save the money or look for innovative game models to support instead.

    Wenchy
     
  5. popps

    popps Always Present
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    The selling of codes might be good for occasional, extra revenues but I hardly see it as steady an income as subscriptions.

    In order to make design plans for the future of a game, it is necessary to be able to count on revenues for a steady period of time and, it is my fear, free to play does not allow for this, subscriptions do.......

    Besides, UO is already a way too much item dependent game, to my tastes, free to play would mean stressing the focus on items to be sold for revenues even more which, as I see it, is not good for the game.

    I favour subscriptions way, but way more than relying on codes only as free to play does.

    It is ok to have codes now and then as extra revenues, but the bulk should be with subscriptions, IMHO.
     
  6. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    UO is not a good free to play game. It is too old and too complicated for noobs.

    -Galen's player
     
  7. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    I shouldn't say such things; someone will just say that I have an uber account that I am afraid of seeing nerfed.

    -Galen's player
     
  8. Tinsil

    Tinsil Guest

    I'd probably quit the moment they go free to play. Not a fan of the model.
     
  9. Ender

    Ender Crazed Zealot
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    "More players? OH NO!"

    Seriously, going free to play would probably be the best move UO could make. It would certainly not hurt, at least.
     
  10. Frarc

    Frarc Stratics Legend
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    Only proofs that F2P is not free! :p
     
  11. BBWolf

    BBWolf Journeyman
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    I thought the Dev's introduce a FREE to play for players to return to UO if they have an account every September...?

    If they don't, what do you call the "Return to Britainnia promotion?"
     
  12. Tinsil

    Tinsil Guest

    Okay what are they going to do. Drop subscriptions and refund everyone's money? Keep subscriptions?

    Then what incentive do you have to keep your subscription over the free players? Would that even be worth it?

    UO has history and players who have played a considerable time. Just changing to f2p wouldn't work too well IMO.
     
  13. Ender

    Ender Crazed Zealot
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    It works well for Turbine. Just use the same system. Free, Premium and VIP.
     
  14. Viper09

    Viper09 Grand Poobah
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    you mean that promotion that let's vets return to UO for one month a year? Yeah, that's free to play, for one month out of a year for vets. That's only to let old players see how the game is doing in hopes of bring them back. But that is not what the topic here is about. F2P would mean ALL account, old and new, can play for free.

    I don't think its a great idea for UO. Not a bad one either though. It might mean paying more a month for some players because in reality F2P is not exactly free unless you don't mind having a lot of restrictions. I'd really have to see an outline on what they'd force players to buy before I would go for it. I know housing would definitely be on the list though.
     
  15. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    It works so well for Turbine that they converted all three of their games to f2p.

    Except for Asheron's Call.

    UO already has trial accounts that have many of the restrictions that f2p fans see as legitimate restrictions on free accounts. All EA needs to do is extend the trial accounts and they are much of the way there with very little coding compared to converting UO completely to f2p.
     
  16. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    If UO saw a drop in revenue you better believe it would hurt. UO gets hurt even when it's doing okay while other MMOs within EA have problems.

    And I still don't get why people call it free to play since EA would still be getting paid. It should be called micro-transactions instead. The "free to play" crowd did a good job of buying into the spin that marketing departments created around micro-transactions.
    Especially when the head of EA Games said UO is "widely profitable" - EA isn't going to screw with something that is "widely profitable".
    Changing to f2p wouldn't fix many of the problems that UO has either.
     
  17. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    They also don't talk about it increasing their "profits", just their "revenue" and those are very important terms.

    People also forget that Turbine/Warner Brothers has a huge interst in keeping LOTRO going for the next few years, to the point that they'll accept financial losses on it. There are two Hobbit movies coming out starting next year and Turbine/Warner Brothers stand to make a lot of money since they control all of the online LOTRO properties, even if Warner Brothers isn't involved with making the movies.

    It's very hard to discuss LOTRO in comparison to other MMOs because of the whole Hobbit movies thing, which are probably going to be the biggest movies of 2012 and 2013. Warner Brothers will keep LOTRO going regardless of any losses until those movies are out of theaters and out of the public conscious.
     
  18. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    These are the UO trial restrictions. They are very close to what many f2p models suggest as restrictions on the "free" accounts.

    All that is needed is to extend or remove the timer on the trial accounts.

     
  19. Nexus

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    Let me point out a few things here...

    One I don't see how it could "Drop Revenue" sure some of the subbies would go F2P, but also some of the F2P will get hooked and decide to turn Subby.... it usually balances out or Subs actually increase..

    No they aren't really F2P, but the concept allows people to choose how much and how often they are paying and how much they are willing to pay for. And trust me, from my experience in other games, those perks often temporary that Store times give are rather addictive...

    Widely Profitable has nothing to do with long term sustainability. If 50% of the player base up and decided to quit tomorrow the "Widely Profitable" comment probably would no longer apply, Long Term Sustainability means they need to find a way to ensure profitability as long as possible, considering the game has lost around 190,000 subs (or around 70% if you prefer) in the past 7 years, I think it's about time they start considering alternative strategies before it's too late, if they are serious about the long term survival of UO.

    UO is "Widely Profitable" because of it's initial development costs (you know when it wasn't making money yet) were long ago paid for, as soon as any game is making enough that it's bandwidth, personnel salary, and server hosting are paid with a good chunk of the annual average income forecast going into the Studio's pocket, it's "Widely Profitable." It's a hollow meaningless term "Widely Profitable" because it only reflects past performance and not expected performance in the future.

    How many other "Widely Profitable" games have closed shop? Hmm.. Lineage, is going to focus solely on the Asian market yet has over a million subs. Have any of you thought that the "Chinese UO" that is being worked on might be so they can shut this one down while still having a presence in UO's largest market? It's a possibility, and I'm not saying this is true, but it wouldn't be the first game a company has done this with, and it would also answer a lot of question concerning why the more difficult issues in the game haven't been focused on regardless of the demand from the subscribers that they be addressed.
     
  20. HD2300

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    Yes I agree NetDragon 3D UO and Ultima4Ever are being positioned to replace UO.
     
  21. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    If it's not done right, and people who pay $10 or $13 a month per account are all of the sudden able to cut that price down and pay less per account, there's a huge problem. UO does not have enough devs as it is, and trying to implement an f2p system with the currently limited team would not be fun to suffer through. It would take a while, everything else would have to be put on hold, and if things went wrong, well it would just be a nightmare. The guy said "widely profitable" not "wildly profitable" and this is EA after all. If revenue drops, they either go back to the old model and cause a lot of angst or they can it all together.

    The option is still there for EA to extend the trial as their way of having an f2p option. They don't have to worry about losing money from existing subscriptions since people would still pay $10 or $13 a month to have a house and venture through various lands and get anything other than iron or wood, and they don't have to code a brand new system into the game or do anything with UOGameCodes.com.

    As it stands, realistically speaking, with the state the game is in, people are just not going to flock to UO if the payment model changes. It's got too many problems and the graphics are way outdated when compared to the other options.

    As I said in the other thread - UO peaked post-AOS, and then declined and people weren't leaving because it cost $10 or $13 a month, they were leaving because all of the sudden a lot of options opened up and/or they were upset over changes, plus real life, etc.. A lot of options opened up, and not just WoW.

    If you don't address the serious problems, the payment method doesn't matter in the long term. In 2004 and 2005 when UO started declining, people weren't flocking to f2p games, they were going to WoW and a few others.
     
  22. HD2300

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    I doubt UO will go F2P. First of all they would have to bring in more devs to code the F2P, and if you havent noticed the number of UO devs is decreasing and those that we have work on Ultima4Ever and SWTOR.

    Like I posted previously, it is basically just above maintenance mode until Ultima4Ever and NetDragon 3d UO take over.
     
  23. Tinsil

    Tinsil Guest

    I love this game.

    I don't think that adding a f2p model would really help our game and increase it's longevity. I think keeping the same model provides still a fair amount of longevity and keeps to the principles of UO.

    As said, we're limited on developers. Something like this would probably take them some time to work through. I'd much rather see this effort put into things current, paying players want. Spring Cleanings, new dungeons, revamped old dungeons, etc.
     
  24. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Can you tell us more about Ultima4Ever?
     
  25. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Also, for all of those who think UO should go f2p (even if it's not really free :lol:) or will go f2p, please provide an f2p model. This happens a lot - people toss the magic letters "f2p" around as if it will fix UO, but they are not willing to actually say how they think f2p can work with the sandbox aspect of UO, without ruining UO. That requires thought.

    This is a repost of mine from one of the other numerous f2p threads that pop up several times a month:

    Full monthly subscription ($10 - $13 depending on payment option) required for the following:
    - Ownership or co-ownership of a house
    - Own vendors
    - Own boats
    - Participate in guilds or factions
    - Have over 85 in a skill and have more than 500 points in skills
    - Use any scrolls or soulstones/fragments
    - Mining anything above iron or lumberjacking anything above regular wood *
    - Fishing up anything better than basic fish*
    - Obtaining BODS
    - Having more than 2 characters on a shard (in keeping with other f2p games)
    - Have more than 75,000 in gold (similar to other f2p games)
    - Have more than 60 items in a bank box (similar to other f2p games)
    - Use checks and commodity deeds
    * = There should be a major limit on the amount of iron/wood/fish that can be obtained from one spot on a free account.

    Everything listed for the full monthly subscription above is both to keep existing customers from feeling ripped off, and is to keep the scripters from being able to do some of their scripting on free accounts. The above is also to provide a very clear point for people to decide if it's worth a monthly subscription or not. Finally, it's to ensure that subscriptions/revenue don't drop - the goal is supposed to be additional players, not a dropping of revenue from existing players. A drop in revenue would see UO canceled.

    Each f2p package below is independent of one another. Obviously, anything that is listed in the packages below would be barred on a completely free account.

    Package #1 (Montly payment of $4)
    - Allows f2p account to be friended to a house
    - Allows f2p accounts to buy from vendors
    - Allows f2p accounts to visit Felucca, T2A, Malas, Ilshenar
    - Allows f2p accounts to do quests
    - Allows f2p accounts to board ships
    - Allows f2p elvish characters to be created
    - Allows f2p characters to have up to 75,000 in gold (free limit - 35,000 in gold, probably have to handle within bankbox)

    Package #2 (Monthly payment of $4)
    - Allows f2p accounts to have up to 60 items in a bank box (free limit - 30 items)
    - Allows f2p accounts to have up to 60 items in their backpack (free limit - 30 items)
    - Allows f2p accounts to have higher than 70 in a skill (capped at 85)
    - Allows f2p accounts to have amount of skills up to 500 points
    - Allows f2p accounts to obtain anything more than basic loot
    - Allows f2p accounts to use bags of sending, pet summoning balls, etc.

    It is based in part on a thread from last year detailing trial account restrictions.

    The reason why I based my packages on the trial restrictions is partly because the mechanisms are already in place and that simplifies things and reduces the amount of coding and Q&A needed, and also I'm trying to keep the f2p accounts from losing some of the sandbox aspects of UO, while at the same time preserving the value of the subscriptions and keeping revenue high enough that UO doesn't get in trouble with EA.

    A lot of people forget that f2p options could really screw with the whole sandbox aspect of UO and the sandbox aspect of UO has already been ruined enough as it is.