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Rauno 09-18-2012 05:36 AM

Funcom: “We definitely have the tools” for free-to-play Secret World

Newly christened Funcom CEO Ole Schreiner recently spoke with regarding the fickle world of MMO development and the future of conspiracy-fest The Secret World. He said the studio “definitely has the tools” to install a free-to-play system into The Secret World if needed, but didn’t confirm any solid plans to do so.

“We tried leaving our options open during development so that we could launch with a different model should we have decided during development that’s what we wanted, but eventually we did settle on the subscription model and that’s what informed much of the game’s design,” Schreiner said. “That said, we definitely have the tools to turn The Secret World into a free-to-play game — or even hybrid — should we decide to do that somewhere down the line.”

As part of the dwindling camp of subscription-based MMOs, The Secret World still receives content updates and regular patches despite Funcom’s layoff struggles earlier this month. Schreiner also recognized the competitive challenge free-to-play presents to subscription models, saying:

“I do think that as free-to-play offerings keep raising the bar in terms of quality and longevity, it’s becoming more and more difficult for subscription games to live up to player’s expectations. If you’re demanding a monthly fee from someone, they obviously expect more value than they get from a similar free-to-play offering. There is no way getting around the fact that a growing number of gamers expect MMOs to be free-to-play, or at least buy-to-play (such as Guild Wars 2), so is building a successful subscription-based MMO becomes more challenging.”

HitOrGetHit 09-18-2012 08:47 AM

So they are basically saying they are doing a sub based business model unless the game cannot sustain it.

I do agree with what they said about how it is going to be harder to ask for monthly money (especially as a new game) when some established games are already f2p after you purchase the actual game. (Starcraft, Diablo, Guild Wars and even rumors of WoW going F2P once Blizzard releases "Titan" a few years down the road)

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osmium 09-18-2012 04:28 PM

Buy to play(coupled with a decent trial account system) with some kind of real money store seems like it is the best model for sustainability. Free to play games just simply don't have the production level of a game like TSW though and they probably would have had to cut back drastically on the initial budget if they planned on making it that way from the start.

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