Make Pay To play MMORPGs Free
Anyone here remember Tabula Rasa? It was the aspiring sci-fi MMORPG by Richard Gariott that was released in October 2007 with high hopes, but unfortunately the game is now scheduled to close all North American operations on February 28th, 2009. In just under two years, an MMORPG that took nearly 6 years to develop will soon become history. Anyone remember Hellgate: London? How about Fury? These are all relatively well known and hyped pay to play MMORPGs that have disappeared, if you dig through the MMO graveyard, there are literally dozens more pay to play games that have flopped. It’s ridiculous that all of these multi-million dollar MMORPGs have to go to waste. The point I’m trying to make is that it doesn’t have to be this way. These MMORPGs CAN make money, they just need to adopt a free-to-play business model.
There are plenty of ‘pay-to-play’ MMORPGs that have thrived after becoming ‘free-to-play’. Games like Archlord, RF Online, Rose Online, Mu Online, Priston Tale and Ragnarok Online are just a few examples of once ‘pay-to-play’ games now ‘free-to-play’. Heck if you dig deep enough you can find boatloads of games that were once pay to play and are now pay to play. These games were clearly not profitable for the publishers when they were pay-to-play so they decided to make them ‘free to play’. If they weren’t profitable under this system, they surely would have been shut down, but the fact is they haven’t been shut down, they’re still around. Games like Archlord and RF Online, which were just about empty, are now surging in popularity. I urge game publishers to at least try a ‘free to play ‘model before shutting down their games.
There are a lot of ‘pay-to-play’ MMORPGs out there today that are losing subscribers by the day that need to do something quick or they’ll soon join their friends in the MMO graveyard. Game’s like ‘Dark Age of Camelot’ and ‘Star Wars Galaxies’ simply cannot compete with the likes of World of Warcraft. Why are these games still trying to charge a monthly fee when their games simply cannot compete on a ‘pay to play’ level with World of Warcraft? It just doesn’t make sense. Even EA’s new MMO juggernaut ‘Warhammer Online’ is starting to falter. Within a few months of release the game reached ~ 800,000 subscribers, but those numbers have now plummeted to around 300,000 active subscriptions. How about games like Vanguard or Age of Conan? How long do you think those games will last? Sure, they had quite a bit of hype before release, but if you look at the numbers, both of those games are shedding subscribers, and fast. Heck Age of Conan already closed down a few servers and odds are they’ll close down even more if more people cancel their subscriptions. I’m not saying that World of Warcraft or Warhammer Online should be free to play, but I do urge failing pay to play MMORPGs to at least try re-launching their games as ‘free-to-play’ games before shutting them down.
By, Omer Altay