TOR is about to go F2P for levels 1 to 15 next month. For some this is surprising but not for me. Its all about maximizing revenue and past their initial launch it was evident that the only barrier that prevented BioWare from taking the right business decision was pride!
Pride held back SOE as well. For years they have lost traction, followers and an opportunity to bring more revenue. Eventually over time they have found their humility and see how well they are doing ever since. With good cash flow they can now make PS2 and EQ-Next as best they can. BioWare will get there too. I suspect that its just a matter of time till TOR is completely F2P. I understand that they need time to get there. F2P needs careful consideration with just the right in-game store (see my previous post). Personally I would be still playing TOR if it was F2P. Its a good game, but not good enough for me to play on a regular basis and with regular spending. With F2P companies get the chance to maintain their customer base, which may prove to be a critical component in long run success.
Now the main point that I will make with you today is that F2P also reveals one of the most intuitive facets of our real life reality. We can’t expect people to pay the same for their games. Surely when you have a monthly subscription people are said to have an equal opportunity. But F2P is breaking this mold by intelligently (at least where implemented properly) providing equal or close to equal opportunity while allowing different level of investments in the cash store. It works for teenagers and students well, and it works for the filthy rich too. We are born equal, but this world is broken and we do not earn the same or have the same real life opportunities. F2P is about maximizing revenue and thus this strategy inherently may bring much more income for the studios. I just wonder how much more revenue this could have brought Blizzard with over 15 (?) million subscribers at their peak.
What do you think?