The Dilution of the F2P Market

So Age of Conan has tossed its hat into the ring around the Free to Play paradigm.   And yes, I would like to play it for free, thank you very much.  But…

The Age of Free To Play

I am struck all at once by a peculiar sort of conundrum.  Eighteen months ago I was bouncing subs like nobody’s business.  I had two subs running concurrently and those often changed from month to month based on what I wanted to play.  So in general, my annual MMO subscription budget is $360 a year.  That seems like a lot, but since its pretty much my only form of entertainment (and since at least $160 of that each year comes from birthday/Christmas money), I guess its not too bad.   Still, it is a lot when my wife looks at the bills, and so that was my cap, and indeed, my limiting factor.

Now though, I enjoy what we all do – the ability to play a game for less than $15 a month.  Indeed, when I boot up the compy tonight, I could play Everquest 2, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Lord of the Rings Online, or Champions Online…all for free.   And that doesn’t include other already F2P favorites of mine like World of Tank or The Reincarnation or Minecraft.  All of a sudden, my limiting factor has shifted.  Before it was money, and now, it is time.

You see, with two subs a month, and changing each month, I played only two games at a time, for at least a month in duration.   And this was okay, because MMO’s require some continuity.  Now though, I can play anything anytime.  And continuity is my problem, not theirs.

Long story short, all this lead me to a thought…

Does this mean that the more high profile MMO’s go F2P, the less successful they all will be?  Or more poignantly,  does this mean that those “lesser” games that enjoyed a new lease on life as F2P creations will now hit a back burner as other, formerly “greater” games turn F2P.  Granted, this designation may not apply to Conan – YMMV.  But the question remains.  I guess time will tell.  But my hope is that the many virtual worlds I have explored and come to love will have long lives ahead of them for years to come.  And if the pool gets to crowded, some of them may get pushed under to make room for the new guys.

Coming Soon to an F2P Market Near You!

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