PlanetSide Universe - View Single Post - Making this work
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Click here to go to the next VIP post in this thread.   Old 2011-08-08, 12:09 PM   [Ignore Me] #13
PlanetSide 2
Game Designer
Re: Making this work

DDO is a great example of Free-to-play working.

That said, if PS2 is going to be on any consoles or on shelves then the game itself will sell for $60 bucks like any other mainstream console / PC game. This is good though...
a) It brings immediate revenue to SOE for the purchase
b) It deters hackers/griefers from permeating the game (which they would if it were 100% free, but when they need to pay $ for the account it raises the bar).
c) It is consistent with every other major shooter game released - pay once, play forever.

So on top of that build in the DDO lessons, which I believe is one of those most successful F2P models there is. DDO went from a dying game to having more paying subs than it had before it went F2P. It has more revenue now than when it was pure sub-based, so from a business perspective they're a very good model to take a look at. They can take conceptual model from DDO though the implementation will have to be drastically different since PS2 isn't a RPG with PvE content and all that typical stuff. Some things won't transition well (like content access), and others will manifest differently (like bank space).

- DDO does not sell power in their store. This is incredibly important, and Smed has also gone out of his way to confirm the same.

You have the "Premium account" - if you ever buy anything from the store at all, no matter what it is, you are forever a "premium" account. This is a good recognition, because once you buy one thing from a store, chances are very high you'll buy something else later. So they recognize that as a paying customer.

Premium accounts could get some small 'teaser' versions of some of the VIP perks, such as a small bonus to cert training speed, small bonus to xp gain, and small increase in maximum resource capacity (non-stacking with VIP of course).

Then you have a "VIP" - this is a subscription account and you get more perks and bigger bonuses on perks over the premium accounts. The VIP account has some notable perks, including more bank space, more content availability, etc. At the end of every month you get some credits toward the in-game store for purchasing vanity items and what not.

For PS2, VIP access could do a number of things that won't affect power of the game.
- Faster cert training speed...the obvious choice
- Faster xp gaining speed
- If there's a server queue they could go to the front of it
- Increased maximum resource pool (this is the rough equivalent to more bank space - it means nothing if your rate of resource gain and consumption is the same, but allows you to stockpile more if you wish).
- credits awarded at the end of the month to buy vanity items or what not.

PS2 could easily blend the typical FPS model with DDO's free-to-play model. Have the game in stores like any other game charging the usual amount, and then it goes into Free-to-play mode.

And if you are content with that great. If you dont' mind paying more money for the game and want some additional convenience perks you can do so.

DDO also had the ability to buy some of the VIP perks up to a certain extent a la carte. They seemed to make a small mistake here because those who did the math realized that after about a year if you had spent the same amount of money but had bought the bonuses a la carte over going VIP you would have evened out without paying the VIP sub price past 1 year. They addressed this by making some of the VIP bonus stack over purchased amount. Meaning even a VIP could purchase more bank slots over what a VIP normally got. It could work the same here to allow people to buy-in to some of the bonuses they really want but still have the VIP have the best possible.

I think that model could work well. My only concern with 100% free-to-play is the hacking/griefing potential of someone going out and fetching a new account and then going wild. To a lesser extent you could have empire hoppers/spies more easily if there's no cost per-account. Paying money per-account is a strong deterrent to those things as many players won't do it, though some still will and you can't stop that. Of course the cost on the account will cost some customers. One solution would be to not make the game 100% free but make it significantly cheaper than other games (like $19-29 or something in that range instead of the usual $59).
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