Blizzard: F2P (Still) Not the Best Model for WoW

During an interview with Eurogamer, Blizzard's Mike Morhaime admitted that the free-to-play model infiltrating competitor MMORPGs like Age of Conan and Star Trek Online still isn't a right fit for Blizzard's own subscription-based revenue monster, World of Warcraft.

To some degree, the studio has already caved in by offering an unlimited "demo" with a level cap of 20 and other limitations. Yet there's no sign that Blizzard will succumb to pressure from other games in the genre switching teams by offering a F2P option alonside its current subscription service.

"For us, and even for EA with the Star Wars game, I think that the value that you get for the $15 a month is just unmatched," he told Eurogamer. "I don't think you can get that amount of entertainment value anywhere. I'd put the $15 up against anything."

He added that there's currently an underlying, fundamental assumption in the industry that publishers and developers make more money by charging less... an assumption he claims isn't true. "It doesn't necessarily make for a better game," he said. "I mean, everybody likes free... I think that definitely, players have seen a lot of really great quality free-to-play experiences, but I'm not sure it's the best model for us right now."

Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley said that he understands why some developers might choose the F2P model from the start, as gamers are more forgiving about the experience because they've paid absolutely nothing. Still, he believes that Star Wars: The Old Republic may be the last large-scale subscription-funded MMOG to enter the market.

"I think it is a very difficult market to compete in, I think it's very expensive to make these games, especially if you're expecting people to pay a monthly fee just to play the game," he told Eurogamer.

"And so there are very few companies that can compete at that high level with those types of budgets. If you're not charging anybody, they're going to be a lot more forgiving about the experience they have."

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  • FulmeR
    Quote:
    I'd put the $15 up against anything."
    Id put $30 up that says you lose half your fan base with your next "Panda" expansion

    Farewell Blizzard, you held my attention for many many hours, alas those days are gone. They didnt come soon enough!
    21
  • Anonymous
    The price of a product is what the consumers are willing to pay. If people don't mind paying 14$ a month then blizzard sure don't mind taking them.
    16
  • phishy714
    In other words:

    "Why the heck would we go F2P when the mindless idiots are still willing to pay us $15 a month to play a grindfest of a game?"
    12
  • Other Comments
  • FulmeR
    Quote:
    I'd put the $15 up against anything."
    Id put $30 up that says you lose half your fan base with your next "Panda" expansion

    Farewell Blizzard, you held my attention for many many hours, alas those days are gone. They didnt come soon enough!
    21
  • Thunderfox
    F2P exists for games that are too crappy to convince people to pay outright for, so they try to trick them into spending that much or more with nickle and dime content. With millions of WOW players still willing to pay the money outright, they have no need to change anything yet. WOW will go F2P if its popularity drops significantly, just like everything else.
    -2
  • joe nate
    FulmeRId put $30 up that says you lose half your fan base with your next "Panda" expansion


    I don't know what's with all the pandaren hate. Pandarens have been in Warcraft since Warcraft 3. And WoW has never had a "serious" tone to it to begin with, with all the references to things outside the game.
    9