Blizzard: WoW Won't Be Going Free-To-Play

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Blizzard: WoW Won't Be Going Free-To-Play

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Despite an evolving MMO marketplace, World of Warcraft is sticking to its subscription blunderbusses.

If there's been any major change to the MMO genre in the past few years it's been the adoption of the free-to-play business model. Not only are countless new MMOs using the micro-transaction pay scheme from the get-go, but some of the big boy contenders that started with subscriptions have even converted after launch; Games like DC Universe Online, Age of Conan, and Star Trek Online have all stopped asking their players to mail in a check every month. According to Blizzard president Mike Morhaime, World of Warcraft won't be quite as quick to jump on the bandwagon.

"I think that there's an underlying, a fundamental, assumption right now that the less you charge, the more money you make ... which isn't true. And it doesn't necessarily make for a better game," Morhaime 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."

WoW has seen a slow but steady decline in its subscription numbers for the past year, but Morhaime refuses to give into external game analyst predictions that WoW may be forced to adopt the free model at some point soon. According to him, quality is king, and WoW is synonymous with quality.

"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 said. "I don't think you can get that amount of entertainment value anywhere. I'd put the $15 up against anything.

"Definitely, if you're not charging anybody, [players] are going to be a lot more forgiving about the experience they have. They haven't paid anything. So in terms of developers entering the market, I can understand why a lot of games might choose to go free-to-play."

Zing! It almost sounds like Morhaime is implying that free-to-play games only use the model to get away with offering lower quality content. Still, many games (such as the upcoming MMO, FireFall) are pushing the limits what we've come to expect from free-to-play titles. If they can match WoW's quality pixel for pixel, Morhaime might have to reconsider his argument.

In lieu of changing its price, WoW has been trying some other ideas to keep the game on top, such as a new expansion featuring the long-clamored-for Pandaren race, and offering promotions aimed at rewarding loyal players with major bonuses like free copies of upcoming Diablo 3. Regardless of the game's recent "decline," love it or hate it, WoW is still on top by a long shot, and they didn't get there by not understanding the marketplace.

Source: Eurogamer.net

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Honestly, I'd rather them not go free to play anytime soon. The second Blizzard takes a step back from anything they've done is the second the game stops getting frequent touch-ups and becomes stagnant. Not that WoW lacks stagnancy, but it's at least in a reliable state of "Something new at least several times a year".
Besides, WoW can hold its own until well into Titan, I'd imagine.

I'll give them a year.

You know, while their subscriptions continue to plummet to the might of games like Guild Wars 2.

Why would they go F2P while this money fountain still squirts out somuch delicious cashy goodness.

Well thanks for stating the obvious. WoW is making to much money right now to go free to play. Even though they have been loosing subscribers they still have what ten million left? I do however expect to hear about them putting more and more items up for sale on their store. They really just need to hold on untill Blizzards next mmo comes out. Then they can either drop the price or switch it to free to play.

EverythingIncredible:
I'll give them a year.

You know, while their subscriptions continue to plummet to the might of games like Guild Wars 2.

As long as it is a year so I can get my free diablo 3 then bail out when it starts being flooded with freeplayers, I don't care if that does happen.

Still, I highly doubt if they are going to worry until the player base drops below about 7million.

Thank goodness I won't be playing every month for Guild Wars 2.
Suck it, Blizzard.

In general, I prefer non F2P MMO's, simply because having a monthly fee acts as an incredible powerful asshole filter. Not that WoW doesn't have it's fair share of jerks, but it's nothing compared to the amounts that I've experienced in my adventures in the F2P world.

That said, I'll still be giving Guild Wars 2 a go, because it's so very pretty.

AmrasCalmacil:
Thank goodness I won't be playing every month for Guild Wars 2.
Suck it, Blizzard.

Was just gonna point out that GW2 seems to be of excellent quality :)

Mike Kayatta:

WoW has seen a slow but steady decline in its subscription numbers for the past year, but Morhaime refuses to give into external game analyst predictions that WoW may be forced to adopt the free model at some point soon. According to him, quality is king, and WoW is synonymous with quality.

HAHAHAHA Wow...synonymous with quality....Its good to see those blizzard folks have a sense of humor atleast...

Then what's with all those annoying adverts declaring WoW is Free to Play already? Yes I know it's really advertising the extended trial but still, why advertise your game as free to play and then say you're never going free to play?

AHEM: http://www.firefallthegame.com/community/threads/not-an-mmo.444/

Irresponsible reporting!

(j/k)

Also still laughing at people saying GW2 will kill WoW and all the like.

The only thing that will kill WoW is WoW. It is exactly the standard for the entire genre, no other game can or will boast that title ever again. Despite how badly they want to ram it into the ground, it's going to keep on going till Blizzard puts it to bed.

Good for them I say, the F2P market basically consists of nothing but rip-offs where you have to pay real money to be able to kill monsters or other such crap anyway (and I don't see that changing in the future)

EDIT:

Zulnam:
Make vanilla-only servers, damn you! Bring back the good times!

Also this, one of reasons I haven't gone back to WoW (even though I want to) is because it's literally no longer the world I know.

RedBeta22:
Then what's with all those annoying adverts declaring WoW is Free to Play already? Yes I know it's really advertising the extended trial but still, why advertise your game as free to play and then say you're never going free to play?

I thought all of those just specifically stated "Free to play......Until level 20"

World of Warcraft- The only casual MMO you need to pay monthly for.

Now that that amusing line is dropped i will back it up by saying that DDO is a more hardcore MMO than WoW and it has an item shop. Further more the Blizzard staff are in super denial. With WoW on the decline(due to its own dev incompetence) they still make fuck tons past the breaking even mark but they won't keep that number up for long with all the other MMOs coming over the horizon. Better MMOs that will compete for time with WoW without taking the money(GW2 will not take the money but TOR will). WoW will really hurt by then but for now i leave you with this.

"quality is king, and WoW is synonymous with quality."- A man with his head up his ass

Aeshi:
Good for them I say, the F2P market basically consists of nothing but rip-offs where you have to pay real money to be able to kill monsters or other such crap anyway (and I don't see that changing in the future)

Used to; with more FTP MMOs coming out the Asiatic FTP is being pushed out. So that "pay 50 bucks to kill monster" method is going out with little of a fight. More MMOs take on the Turbine method; cosmetics, alterations, and non-required gear(basic stuff for lazy fucks) but won't punish you for not buying.

TL;DR: the "F2P is all pay to win" status has been a minority of the demographic for almost 2 years; if not more. Not to mention most of the P2P market is still dominated by rip offs so your point was what exactly?

WoW is just singing the same tired old tune and that was the reason why I, who did WoW in the vanilla times, am detached completely. Instead, I am now a major supporter of Firefall and I am glad to see it cited specifically as an example.

I always assumed the number of free MMOs was due to WoW in the first place. Other MMOs can't get players to subscribe when WoW has such a hold on the pay monthly market. With this hold I can see no need for WoW to go f2p.

Make vanilla-only servers, damn you! Bring back the good times!

Zulnam:
Make vanilla-only servers, damn you! Bring back the good times!

Not until they hit bottom. When they hit bottom and realize they are in the shitter they will come out with classic servers.

Zulnam:
Make vanilla-only servers, damn you! Bring back the good times!

I second this! If they would bring back classic wow style, and of course I had a job, I'd come back.

No wonder Blizzard's been bugging me to come back.

Yup. It seems that running a game for 20 million people isn't something you can do for free. Who would have thought ?

Then again, a lot of MMO are of good quality and are free.

FelixG:
HAHAHAHA Wow...synonymous with quality....Its good to see those blizzard folks have a sense of humor atleast...

In Blizzards defense they never really did say what kind of quality so they aren't lying. Although I did have a good laugh at that statement.

Declining Subscriptionbase, What do?

1: Change to an F2P model.
2: Lower prices.
3: Increase size of shoulderpads.

When did this 'decline' start happening? Because I feel I've missed something, I realise that they've lost 700,000 subscribers out of the 11 million they had, but to me that doesn't scream 'deline'.

I've heard the occasional person make a passing claim that Cata wasn't to their taste, but that isn't 'decline'.

Blizzard is not in the position to go into F2P territory and likely won't be for several years.
Their game practically estalished the standardfor it's market and is still a major player.

With their subscription based model they're in a position to create more content at increasing quality, sure some of their decisions have missed the mark slightly but there's never beenanything as damning as what some people claim.

Wait, Star Trek Online is free now? I bought that on release and got side tracked before I ever played it, then couldn't be bothered paying to play once I came back to it.

Time to start that thing up :P

RT-Medic-with-shotgun:

Zulnam:
Make vanilla-only servers, damn you! Bring back the good times!

Not until they hit bottom. When they hit bottom and realize they are in the shitter they will come out with classic servers.

Or they'll release a different MMO

Seriously, Blizzard is a company. They won't stick to WoW just for the sake of WoW

EverythingIncredible:
I'll give them a year.

You know, while their subscriptions continue to plummet to the might of games like Guild Wars 2.

Exactly, also WoW is showing its age, its going to be gone soon from everything else.

And I can't wait till Guild Wars 2, early next year I hope.

Archemetis:
When did this 'decline' start happening? Because I feel I've missed something, I realise that they've lost 700,000 subscribers out of the 11 million they had, but to me that doesn't scream 'deline'.

I've heard the occasional person make a passing claim that Cata wasn't to their taste, but that isn't 'decline'.

Blizzard is not in the position to go into F2P territory and likely won't be for several years.
Their game practically estalished the standardfor it's market and is still a major player.

With their subscription based model they're in a position to create more content at increasing quality, sure some of their decisions have missed the mark slightly but there's never beenanything as damning as what some people claim.

You'd be surprised, most vets of WoW are basically done with the game, just waiting for something SIMILAIR enough to come along while wanting something with quality.
Not all vets, but most.

Archemetis:
When did this 'decline' start happening? Because I feel I've missed something, I realise that they've lost 700,000 subscribers out of the 11 million they had, but to me that doesn't scream 'deline'.

Not saying this to sound like an arse but go back and recheck your numbers.

At the start of Cataclysm they released sub numbers as 12.5 million.

Now the numbers are at 10 - 11 million.

Thats a loss of 1.5 - 2.5 million.

They lost a hell of a lot of subs this past year and they say the numbers are still going down albeit more slowly now.

Nikolaz72:
Declining Subscriptionbase, What do?

1: Change to an F2P model.
2: Lower prices.
3: Increase size of shoulderpads.

4: Introduce Pandas.

They went with number 4.

Huh... well I don't see them giving in, WoW isn't ever going to die and its not like its going to be there only source of cash considering the real world money options in Dibalo 3 and the fact that they freaking have project Titan sitting in the wings.

RT-Medic-with-shotgun:

With WoW on the decline(due to its own dev incompetence) they still make fuck tons past the breaking even mark but they won't keep that number up for long with all the other MMOs coming over the horizon.

Yes, they're so incompetent to still have complete dominance over the market and many millions of subscribers with a game so old. :)

Seriously, WoW is old. It's a good game, but its continued success after all these years exceeds everyone's expectations, even their own. I don't play anymore because the game got old to me, so I prefer to play something entirely new than a revamped one I already played to death. It's no fault of the game, though.

As for changing the game, if Blizzard had changed nothing people would be crying that they didn't change, and if they try new things people complain they're changing a good game. It's no use trying to appease everyone.

Mike Kayatta:

According to him, quality is king, and WoW is synonymous with quality.

isn't this an oxymoron?

Zing! It almost sounds like Morhaime is implying that free-to-play games only use the model to get away with offering lower quality content. Still, many games (such as the upcoming MMO, FireFall) are pushing the limits what we've come to expect from free-to-play titles. If they can match WoW's quality pixel for pixel, Morhaime might have to reconsider his argument.

just one? how about three

City of Heroes
DDO
Vindictus, if you really wanna drive the dagger in

all 3 are 'pixel to pixel' better, in the literal sense, all are also F2P, and two have content i hold about anything WoW has done, ever.

the third just has great combat :) i like bosses to be a challenge of skill, not a fucking MATH problem.

but really this doesn't surprise me, and by the time they do pull their heads out of their asses it'll be to late. GW2 isn't the only MMO coming out with more emphasis on action, there's TERA, Blade and Soul, Warhammer 40K: Dark Millennium, donno how many will be good, but we're moving away from hotkeys and subscriptions. and while they have the sale NOW to justify keeping subs, its coming up fast on the time to ether adapt to whats coming or get left behind, like the relic they are

Mike Kayatta:

"I think that there's an underlying, a fundamental, assumption right now that the less you charge, the more money you make ... which isn't true."

Gabe Newell Disagrees.

And I think he knows a little more about charging prices for digital items pal, because he invented it! And then he perfected it so no living man could best him in the ring of digital distribution!

F2P inspires countless people to try a game and be hooked, increasing its profit. With WoW EVERYONE has already tried it, and taken a whack at being hooked. It's not about quality, it's about maximizing profit. WoW made the logical decision here, but it doesn't reflect on quality.

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