Back in the day when one wanted to play an MMORPG, they’d be faced with a subscription fee. This fee meant that gamers had to fork out money every month if they wish to continue playing the game. However in the recent years, more developers have turned towards the free-to-play model.
This means that the game will be free to play without a monthly subscription, but will make money by selling in-game items, like costumes, weapons, and so on. Is it inevitable that this is where MMORPGs will be headed into the future? According to Final Fantasy’s producer, maybe not.
Speaking to Games Industry International, FF14’s producer, Naoki Yoshida was quoted as saying, “A lot of games look at the first two months of subscription numbers, think that’s not going to be a feasible business, and switch over to free-to-play. I don’t think it’s necessarily because free-to-play is a better form, though. It’s more about people making a rash decision to switch over and chase a quick buck.”
Yoshida’s reasoning is that by providing a stable source of revenue via a subscription model, it allows the studio to pay for its staff and ensure that they can keep good developers around to help improve the game and make it better. He also states that by going free-to-play, designers have to come up with ways to monetize the game which might not necessarily benefit the game overall.
According to Yoshida, “It brings up a question of who we’re making happy in the end.” What do you guys think? Does he have a point, or is the free-to-play model something you think will work best for MMORPGs?