Rift sees significant rise in player numbers since free-to-play switch

Wednesday, 21st August 2013 15:18 GMT By Dave Owen

A few months ago Rift joined the ranks of MMOs that switched business model from monthly subscriptions to free-to-play in hope of righting the ship. It seems like it might have done the trick.

“I’m actually very pleased with how the team has executed on it,” Trion SVP of marketing Noah Maffitt told [a]list daily. “It was a planned transition that’s taken months and months to do. They’ve thought through all the little details very well.

“We actually saw our sales go up after we announced free-to-play, because we think we have a compelling package around that transition. Our player counts have gone way up, as well. All early signs are good.”

It’s great news for Trion Worlds, and further throws into question the decisions of upcoming MMOs WildStar and The Elder Scrolls Online to stick with subscription fees. It’s a model that is increasingly old fashioned, and has blighted several high profile MMOs in recent years that eventually made the free-to-play switch.

Only time will tell.

Thanks, PCGamesN



  1. _LarZen_

    If you throw breadcrumbs around rats will come also.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. viralshag

    When does that NOT happen when you go F2P?

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Rift and it was easily one of the best MMOs I’ve played but the increase is often sharp and short lived.

    Old players come back, some new players try it out… but the problem is if there isn’t really anything new for the old players, they won’t stick around and for the new players there’s no sub so there’s nothing lost from a small investment of time/money into it.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. maxroy

    @1 Well nobody was coming when they were offering a full course meal were they?

    And it’s stories like this that boggles my mind when new MMO’s announce sub based systems. Cause it never works out. Nobody can do it anymore, not as a “oh your game is so going to be bad so it isn’t worth a sub” no it’s that nobody outside that niche core audience wants to get into that cycle. If they’re going for the people who left WoW, they were probably tired of paying for the sub in general.

    And not everything has to go f2p to be successful. The secret world regained serious momentum after changing their model so you only have to buy the box. There has to be someone behind these upcoming games who has to have seen these reoccurring scenarios plaguing the Sub based MMO before making these decisions.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. sebastien rivas

    I must disagree with you Dave,
    Sub per month are not old fashion and is a system that can work but it is all in the eyes of the beholder wether a game has value upon purchase then pay per month.
    I bought Rift when it came out and was ready to go pay per month but after 30 days I said no thanks, I was not hooked.

    TESO should be a great game, yet, while I really hope I am completely wrong, one point I really fear is that TESO may ressemble too much to the last elder scroll installment; therefore hitting boredom quickly or too much “deja vu”. I keep high hopes though and we will see.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. sebastien rivas


    I agree, it feels like that exactly whereas too many attempted to dethrone wow or grab their lleft out audience.

    But it does not mean pay per month is a bad solution.
    What is the bad solution to my eyes is that the sub itself is pricey.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. GrimRita

    I really do feel for developers with so many players demanding free content and striking a balance between the free and making money. I think any MMO charging £10 a month is going to struggle. Sure it will sell well at launch, players will grind for 30 days and then decide if they stick around and currently, none of latest (WoW isnt included) subs based MMOs have managed to increase their user base outside of Eve.

    Rift I believe was worthy of a sub but probably a fiver now. SWTOR has seen a limited increase in its user base once that went free to play and another decline in its subs base. I guess overall, if a player can see value for its £9, they will gladly pay it – if they dont, they will just leave.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. dymax


    Subscription fees are a scam in 2013.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. _LarZen_


    What is a scam is that people want everything for free and still want the great experience from mmorpg games.

    Just because so many games after World of Warcraft have failed and have had to go to F2P is not because the bussiness model is wrong. It’s becaus their games were crap compared to World of Warcraft and the expectation people have to a sub based mmorpg after playing it.

    If a game is good a subscription based model is the way to go, just look at all the mediocre games out there that are F2P. Most of them are made to cater to the casual gamer and to milk them as much as it can. Where the core and hardcore gamer will be ruined because of the payment model.

    F2P is games version of human cancer. It’s destroying games and making it worse not better. It’s ok that some games are F2P for the casual gamer out there, but for the core and the hardcore its SHIT.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. roadkill

    dymax is correct. Subscriptions were always a scam. Every developer needs less than 3 dollars from each player to keep the game up and running and to create some content for it. And yet they are asking 10 or more. Only extremely retarded or desperate people will keep paying. But what can you do!? There will always be more dumb cunts than smart people in the world.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. maxroy

    @7 I have to disagree on the comment of the majority of f2p’s being made for the casual market. Yes they may seem more accessible, but they are no way near casual friendly, especially when compared to modern day WoW. And I’m what the industry would consider a hardcore gamer but the sub model turns me off a game more than micro-transaction based smartphone games. Because it seems so unnecessary paying for 4 months is as much as buying a brand new game at retail.

    You have to look at the past to make a better future, but when it comes to the MMO market it seems they exploit their ‘hardcore’ fanbase enough so they can get a footing and make the switch a year down the line.

    WoW was made nearly 10 years ago in a time where it’s only real competition was Everquest. I’ve seen to many good games of the genre crash and burn to keep believing that your argument is still valid.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. OlderGamer

    Say what you want but my friends and family have settled in on Rift. Fantastic MMORPG, imo. No way I would pay a subscription for it or for any other game tho. I think subscriptions are dead too. Too many great game experiences out there. Something like GW2 works best for me, pay upfront, pay for expansions…play as little or as much as I want.

    Subscriptions to me mean having to play. I would rather play when I am in the mood.

    #11 1 year ago

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