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Blizzard Free-to-Play Game Rumor Resurfaces

By - Source: Develop | B 34 comments

It's still probably related to Blizzard's secret "Titan" project, but an insider swears Blizzard is expanding its business to the free-to-play players.

An unnamed source reportedly close to Blizzard told Develop that the California studio will indeed apply the free-to-play model in an upcoming, unannounced game. Riding on eight or more years of World of Warcraft's subscription-based success, Blizzard will reportedly expand its business opportunities by continuing to provide subscriptions while also addressing gamers who would rather pay for in-game content and play when they can.

It's quite possible that Blizzard's free-to-play model with World of Warcraft Starter has served as testing grounds, to see how many new gamers the model could attract. The studio certainly hasn't ruled out the possibility of using the F2P model outside World of Warcraft, it just reportedly doesn't plan to use that model in the near future... or at least, that was the attitude some time ago.

"It certainly is possible, if we find ourselves in that circumstance, or if we come up with a game where we think that’s the right business model, the most appropriate for players to experience it," said Blizzard COO Paul Sams during BlizzCon 2011. "We don’t have any opposition to the concept, it’s just that at this point, we haven’t decided to make a game where that is the model. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t."

Even if a F2P model isn't on the horizon, Blizzard may eventually cave in. EverQuest 2, EverQuest, Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online, City of Heroes, Star Trek Online, DC Universe, Team Fortress 2 and numerous others have or will in the near future introduce a F2P model, covering both the casual and hardcore MMOG player. The pressure is on, so to speak.

For a while F2P has typically been associated with Blizzard's mystery project called "Titan." This is reportedly a casual MMOG and may very well fall in line with other hybrid MMOGs. So far we know that Blizzard has 90 of its most experienced MMOG developers working on the title, and the emphasis of the game will be playing with people you know as opposed to strangers (Spells With Friends?). The game will even co-exist with World of Warcraft, meaning Blizzard doesn't expect WoW subscribers to jump ship in favor of the newer casual title.

"I believe [it's] the most ambitious thing we've ever attempted," Sams said almost a year ago. "And I feel like we have set our company up to succeed on that. So, hopefully in 10, 15 and 20 years, that [new MMO] will still be growing strong and will have set a new mark in the industry for that type of product."

Twenty years? Sounds like Blizzard is trying to create the next Pac-Man or Sonic the Hedgehog. Will World of Warcraft even last that long? EverQuest turns 13 next month and it's still going strong...

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  • 14 Hide
    whysobluepandabear , February 24, 2012 3:20 AM
    Blizzard, even after losing millions of subs, STILL makes BILLIONS per year. I don't see them wanting to stop that anytime soon.....
  • 11 Hide
    wildkitten , February 24, 2012 3:31 AM
    I can see a free to play Blizzard title...
    "Buy Kotick Kredits! Upgrade that 3 slot bag with only 100 Kredits! Need armor? No problem, only 500 Kredits! Need more than white armor? Get your tier set for only 5000 Kredits!"

    If F2P didn't already have the reputation for being the opposite of free, I am sure Bobby Kotick will firmly cement that rep.
  • 10 Hide
    LORD_ORION , February 24, 2012 4:34 AM
    It is going to be DOTA Blizzard....

    They want to get people on Bnet to upsell them
Other Comments
  • 14 Hide
    whysobluepandabear , February 24, 2012 3:20 AM
    Blizzard, even after losing millions of subs, STILL makes BILLIONS per year. I don't see them wanting to stop that anytime soon.....
  • 11 Hide
    wildkitten , February 24, 2012 3:31 AM
    I can see a free to play Blizzard title...
    "Buy Kotick Kredits! Upgrade that 3 slot bag with only 100 Kredits! Need armor? No problem, only 500 Kredits! Need more than white armor? Get your tier set for only 5000 Kredits!"

    If F2P didn't already have the reputation for being the opposite of free, I am sure Bobby Kotick will firmly cement that rep.
  • 10 Hide
    LORD_ORION , February 24, 2012 4:34 AM
    It is going to be DOTA Blizzard....

    They want to get people on Bnet to upsell them
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , February 24, 2012 4:36 AM
    Blizzard should test this though. Make WoW free to play for 6 months and see what happens to the subscription base. If they still loose then its game fetigue and if it grows or stablilize it is market demand.
  • 2 Hide
    knowom , February 24, 2012 4:48 AM
    LORD_ORIONIt is going to be DOTA Blizzard....They want to get people on Bnet to upsell them
    Agreed was just about to say I think it's going to be DOTA Blizzard. Blizzard are copy cats that try to refine what they know works and cater it towards the largest audience of players and the fact is F2P has been proven to work well for LoL in fact HoN even switched to a F2P because it's obvious it works.
  • 5 Hide
    knowom , February 24, 2012 4:51 AM
    wildkittenI can see a free to play Blizzard title..."Buy Kotick Kredits! Upgrade that 3 slot bag with only 100 Kredits! Need armor? No problem, only 500 Kredits! Need more than white armor? Get your tier set for only 5000 Kredits!"If F2P didn't already have the reputation for being the opposite of free, I am sure Bobby Kotick will firmly cement that rep.
    I haven't payed a dime for league of legends, but if I wanted to I certainly could and I don't feel at a disadvantage.

    F2P gets a bad reputation because of how most game developers choose to set it up. It shouldn't adversely affect game play and in League of Legends plain and simple it doesn't.
  • 1 Hide
    maxwebb , February 24, 2012 5:09 AM
    i still think f2p *could* work for companies worried more about revenue than producing a well-liked game. as long as you continually build new quest-packs to sell, there will always be a profit. if worried about financing the maintenance of a game, electricity bandwidth etc, just simply introduce in-game advertising. personally if i were developing, i'd even add extras like going to an inn, talking to the innkeeper, and ordering a pizza so gamers could get their daily food intake without ever having to leave the virtual world... except to answer the door.
  • 3 Hide
    alidan , February 24, 2012 5:25 AM
    knowomI haven't payed a dime for league of legends, but if I wanted to I certainly could and I don't feel at a disadvantage. F2P gets a bad reputation because of how most game developers choose to set it up. It shouldn't adversely affect game play and in League of Legends plain and simple it doesn't.

    F2P=/=P2W
  • -4 Hide
    hpdeskjet , February 24, 2012 5:42 AM
    =O
  • 4 Hide
    Fokissed , February 24, 2012 6:49 AM
    alidanF2P=/=P2W

    Unfortunately F2P is P2W in many situations and ruins F2P's reputation.
  • -4 Hide
    kartu , February 24, 2012 7:01 AM
    whysobluepandabearBlizzard, even after losing millions of subs, STILL makes BILLIONS per year. I don't see them wanting to stop that anytime soon.....

    It can't be "billions". 10 million subscribers, ca 100 $ per year of income => 1 billion $. Plus "bonus stuff", minus roughly 300 million $ for servers and staff. (they mentioned it cost that much once, maybe figure is lower now)

    So around 1 billion, not "billions". Never been "billions". Still pretty damn good for 8 year old game.
  • 0 Hide
    kathiki , February 24, 2012 8:32 AM
    there is NO such thing as free to play..... it is free to try... that is just that. In order to have access to the whole game every single company that features the f2p model will always force you to pay some money one way or another to proceed in the game. You need some money spent to advance to higher levels, for content like end game raiding etc etc. Some companies now endorse the new idea of limited inventory space unless of course you unlock it by paying. Every online game needs money for maintenance.

    Then of course come the usual high premium items only obtainable through real money spending. Devs can be so very innovative in what they create every time to make you drool over in order to buy..
  • 2 Hide
    Onus , February 24, 2012 9:01 AM
    There is no need to pay another dime to have equal capabilities as other players in Guild Wars. You can buy more storage, or appearance and/or name changes, but the content is the same. That's F2P.
  • -1 Hide
    memadmax , February 24, 2012 10:03 AM
    Kartu, you know nothing...
    WoW is only 6 and a half years old...
    11 million(supposedly) at its peak @ $15 a month = 165,000,000 a month * 12 months = 1,980,000,000 * 6 years = 11,880,000,000.....

    and of course... blizzard never says how many subs they truely have... rumors and speculation are based off of so called WoW census data... which is inaccurate...
  • 0 Hide
    cronik93 , February 24, 2012 10:49 AM
    FokissedUnfortunately F2P is P2W in many situations and ruins F2P's reputation.



    Only Asian MMO's and EA FTP titles.
  • 0 Hide
    nisallik , February 24, 2012 12:30 PM
    memadmaxKartu, you know nothing...WoW is only 6 and a half years old... 11 million(supposedly) at its peak @ $15 a month = 165,000,000 a month * 12 months = 1,980,000,000 * 6 years = 11,880,000,000.....and of course... blizzard never says how many subs they truely have... rumors and speculation are based off of so called WoW census data... which is inaccurate...


    Not exactly, around half of those subscribers are from Asia and they pay no where close to $15 a month. ;p
  • 0 Hide
    Crush3d , February 24, 2012 12:55 PM
    cronik93Only Asian MMO's and EA FTP titles.


    Also factor in the sales for the actual game + all the expansions. You are looking at a considerable amount of cash.
  • 0 Hide
    spookyman , February 24, 2012 1:09 PM
    SOE has dont this a number of times with Everquest. Even gave previous account holders a chance to get their accounts up to date with the latest expansion. It was a nice for us older gamers.
  • 1 Hide
    spookyman , February 24, 2012 1:12 PM
    memadmaxKartu, you know nothing...WoW is only 6 and a half years old... 11 million(supposedly) at its peak @ $15 a month = 165,000,000 a month * 12 months = 1,980,000,000 * 6 years = 11,880,000,000.....and of course... blizzard never says how many subs they truely have... rumors and speculation are based off of so called WoW census data... which is inaccurate...


    Actually WoW is approaching its 8th year now.
  • 0 Hide
    RabidFace , February 24, 2012 2:04 PM
    spookymanActually WoW is approaching its 8th year now.

    You beat me to it :) 

    But I think a F2P, dumbed down WoW has been a long time coming. Will be interesting if it is true. But I could care less, I got out of WoW before the first expansion before it started eating at my soul ;) 

    But, I have a theory on their project "Titan". I think it could be a Blizzard DOTA. Why else would Blizzard file a lawsuit again Valve for use of DOTA? No Blizzard, the name doesn't belong to you. It belongs to the person(s) who created the mod that just happened to be used in conjunction with WC3 or whatever game.
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