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Final Fantasy 14 producer believes subscription and F2P MMO models can coexist

Saturday, 29 March 2014 20:16 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Final Fantasy 14 producer Naoki Yoshida has said the reason Square Enix decided not use a free-to-play business model is because it’s not always the best option for an MMO, despite the popularity of F2P.

final_fantasy_14_realm_reborn_leviathan

Speaking with GI International, Yoshida said Square decided instead to make the game free for 30-days, hoping that once the trial period was over, the player would be hooked enough to pay a monthly service fee.

“You could actually get through the game to its ending within that trial period,” he said. “It’s more like, if you like the game, you’ll continue to subscribe. Of course, there’s a lot of endgame content and constant patch updates. That’s the stance we take. This is a question that I get quite a lot, about free-to-play versus subscription, but it’s not about which is better. There are pros and cons to each business model.

“With a subscription model, of course, the cons are seen as how you have to keep putting money in on a regular basis to keep playing the game. But there’s also cons for a free-to-play model, in which players can easily quit the game With free-to-play, we need to think about where to earn income, because as game developers, we want to provide the best gameplay experience, but we need to have that revenue from item microtransactions. We have to not only think about game content, but we also have to think about what kind of items to provide in order to continuously gain that revenue. It brings up a question of who we’re making happy in the end.”

Yoshida said while a F2P model convinces more players to join, it’s still not necessarily the best business model, as the team has to take microtransactions into consideration for sustainability. This can cause the companies to set the ARPPU “really high” in order to gain instant revenue and make a quick buck.

“But MMOs take years to build on and maintain. When you think about it, maybe you made a lot of money this month, but what are you going to do next month? By going the subscription-based route, it provides stability,” he explained. “The players will have to pay a specific amount on a constant basis, but that’ll allow for maintenance, so we can have top-notch developers stay on staff. In the end, it turns out to be better for the fans. We can continually update and make the game better.”

In Yoshida’s opinion, some MMO publishers launch right into a F2P model without giving the subscription model a chance.

“They get swept up in the free-to-play trend and don’t think about ways to improve their subscription business,” he said. “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. With the subscription model, you have that constant flow of revenue. Of course, the initial subscriber numbers might not be as many as the free-to-play model, but we have that constant stream. We’re not thinking just about the business of the moment. We want to think about the long term and being able to have the funding to continue making updates.

“Some people might be focused on quickly gaining revenue, but you have to think about the long term. I think it’s okay for both models to coexist. It all depends on the demands of players.”

Yoshida said he will continue paying attention to “what the players want” and will consider the most optimal format for A Realm Reborn’s future.

Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn was updated this week with patch 2.2, Through the Malestorm. Full release note are through here.

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3 Comments

  1. Hcw87

    99% of all F2P MMO’s allways turn out to be shit. The only good F2P MMO is Rift, and that started out as a subscription based MMO.

    People will play F2P MMO’s and leave a week after because there are no endgame content and the game is filled with microtransactions (buy bigger bags with real life money, or suffer a piss poor inventory system for example).

    Subscription based MMO’s will ALLWAYS be better content wise compared to F2P (Rift is an exception as i said). There is no way around that.

    Guild Wars 2 also proves that a Buy to Play model works really good aswell.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. TheWulf

    99 per cent of all buy to play MMOs turn out to be shit, too. I think it’s just observation bias, as I’ve come to realise. I mean, The Secret World is hands-down the intelligent man’s MMO and one of the most engaging, interesting, and well written experiences you can have. And fun, too. It comes close to perfect in myriad wonderful ways. It was subscription-based, now it’s free to play.

    This is the conclusion I’ve come to, that the genre in general is just a big pile of manipulative shit. I’m not all that interested in it any more. I think it has promise, so I still pay attention to it, but to say that most MMOs aren’t shit regardless of their payment model is completely wrong. So it’s not down to the financial model. It’s just down to the game itself.

    It’s less likely that buy to play will fall under the category of ‘manipulative shit,’ though. The thing is is that Funcom realised they hadn’t built TSW in a way that would encourage subscriptions via habit forming and taking advantage of addictive personalities, because people aren’t self aware enough to admit their own addictions, let alone cope with them. People have even died thanks to MMO addictions, as I keep pointing out. MMOs can be worse than any drug.

    So, they realised that they hadn’t included a cancerous addiction in TSW and thus they realised that going with a free to play model was the only way to go, but then they did something odd, they went with an ethical system where it’s almost all cosmetic and they give you in-game shop money just for doing things in-game. Even Wildstar is riddled and lousy with the cancerous grind addiction that can lead to poor health and death, so yeah.

    It’s observation bias to think otherwise. 99% of MMOs are just shit. Completely. Financial models aren’t relevant. All a subscription can tell you is whether the company is being upfront about being manipulative. Many are incredibly manipulative and it’s like the freemium wild west on mobiles. 99% of mobile games are awful, too.

    Just the way the cookie crumbles.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. jmg24bad

    There are plenty of great f2p mmos. I believe a subscription to the mmo should be available in tandem with f2p. And the sub should be 7.50 instead of 15 . It would work

    #3 1 year ago

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  • World of Warcraft’s WoW Token rollout slated after launch of patch 6.1.2

    Blizzard has announced it will start rollout its WoW Token option in the weeks following the launch of patch 6.1.2 on March 24. WoW Token allows players to exchange in-game gold for game time and vice versa. Blizzard will release WoW Token first in realms serving North America, Oceania, and Latin America and will expand […]

  • The Evil Within: The Consequence dated for April, teaser video released

    Part 2 of Juli Kidman’s adventure in The Evil Within will arrive next month with the release of The Consequence. Above is a brief teaser showing some of the “madness” Kidman will encounter. The Consequence will arrive on Tuesday, April 21 on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. European PlayStation players will […]

  • Bloodborne sometimes “struggles to run at a smooth frame-rate” per performance analysis

    Bloodborne has been analyzed by Digital Foundry and according to the report, even with a 30fps cap the game sometimes “struggles to run at a smooth frame-rate.” The game’s day-one 2.69GB update 1.01 is “essential” as it contains improvements to game performance and stability and the frame-rate tests run by Digital Foundry were in single-player […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection reviews round-up

    Borderlands: The Handsome Collection reviews are out in the wild so we decided to catch a few of them for you. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is out today on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The collection packages Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel along with each game’s DLC content on one disc. Better graphics and […]

  • Evolve, Forza Horizon 2, WWE 2K15 are this week’s Deals with Gold

    Evolve, Forza 2 Horizon and WWE 2K15 are just some of the games which are part of this week’s Xbox Deals with Gold. You can also pick up the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Pro Edition for 20% off as well as the standard edition for 33% off. For the Xbox 360 crowd, there’s also […]

  • Xbox 360 2015 Spring Value bundles now available starting at $250

    Microsoft is offering a discount on three Xbox 360 bundles with prices starting at $250. The Xbox 360 2015 Spring Value bundles feature various content such as a Kinect, 500GB console bundle and one month of Xbox Live Gold. Xbox 360 500GB Spring Value Bundle: comes with Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare download and Fable […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege beta sign ups now open

    Ubisoft is letting everyone register for the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege closed beta. Rainbow Six Siege is due for a closed beta sometime this year. Ubisoft has opened registration to everyone. All you need to do is enter your preferred platform and log in using your Uplay account. You will be entered into a waiting […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Exo Zombies map Infection is creepy

    The upcoming chapter in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s Exo Zombies mode is called ‘Infection’ and Activision has been slowly revealing bits and pieces about it. A few teasers have been dropping ahead of Ascendance launch this month. The teasers are about the second episode in the Exo Zombie story, Infection. First off, the map. […]

  • This is the Bloodborne press kit in all its glory

    Bloodborne is a gorgeous game so it’s only fitting that the press kit it came in is a reflection of that. The pictures capture the many amazing bits of the Bloodborne press kit. A press kit is what’s usually sent to the reviewers alongside the review copy. They’re usually very ornate and almost all of […]

  • This Hearthstone turn is taking over 40 hours and you can watch it happen

    A very smart Hearthstone player has rigged his game to make one turn take over 40 hours, and it has been going for over 22 already. Hearthstone player Mamytwink set up a game against his friend to try and achieve the record for the longest turn in Hearthstone ever. Basically, Mamytwink set the game up […]

  • The Witcher 3: Geralt’s beard grows over time, but not Gandalf-long

    The beard of The Witcher 3 protagonist Geralt will grow over time, but you can trim it if you choose to. As part of a recently published impressions piece by German magazine Gamestar (translated by NeoGAF), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt developers revealed that Geralt’s beard will in fact grow over time. Not content with […]

  • Sony mistakenly abandons Bloodborne trademark in the US

    The administration side of Sony Computer Entertainment has not been in the best of shapes recently. Sony has abandoned four game trademarks yesterday, one of which is for Bloodborne. The trademarks were all registered with US Patent and Trademark Office. All of the games trademarks pertain to unreleased games and Sony would’ve had to either […]

  • Payday 2 will be supported until 2017

    Payday 2 developer has announced that it will continue to support the game for the next two years. Payday 2 developer Overkill has revealed today that it’s planning to support the game until 2017. What this means is that more free content as well as paid DLC are in the works for release later. Payday […]

  • These are the top Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare weapons, according to the developer

    Based on their overall kill-to-death ratio, what are the best guns in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare? Developer Sledgehammer reveals the top 5. Sledgehammer’s Michael Condrey has revealed on Twitter the top 5 weapons in Advanced Warfare based on their overall kill-to-death ratio. Here’s the list: ARX-160 – Hole Puncher Ameli – Heavy HBRa3 – […]

  • H1Z1 has sold more than 1 million copies

    H1Z1 has already sold over 1 million copies on Steam. H1Z1 may still be in Early Access on Steam, but it has already sold more than 1 million copies. Daybreak president John Smedley announced on Twitter earlier. H1Z1 launched in January and instantly became a hit. The game has consistently been on Steam’s top 10 […]

  • Battlefield Hardline guide: the best guns for each class

    Put your money where you mouth is. These are the best guns for each of the four classes in Battlefield Hardline. Battlefield Hardline guide: the best guns for each class If we have to have a disclaimer it’s that you’ll want to get the best gun for your own style of play and we recommend […]

  • Destiny weekly reset for March 24: Heroic and Nightfall strikes detailed

    Destiny servers have been reset for another week and the new strikes along with their modifiers have been revealed. This week’s strike is The Summoning Pits on the Moon. For The Nightfall, the strike has Arc Burn as well as Lightswitch. The same burn is active on the Heroic strike too. Arc Burn means that […]

  • Sarkeesian and PewDiePie make Time’s 30 Most Influential People on the Internet list

    Time Magazine has published a list ranking 30 of the most influential people on the internet, and two well-known names in gaming culture have made it. Popular YouTuber PewDiePie and games critic Anita Sarkeesian have made Time Magazine’s 30 Most Influential People on the Internet list. The list was published earlier this month and other […]

  • Bloodborne guide: conquer Yharnam with our detailed walkthrough

    Bloodborne is here. Let’s have at it with a full guide and walkthrough. Bloodborne guide and walkthrough Bloodborne follows in the footsteps of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, but for this new PS4-exclusive franchise, director Hidetaka Miyazaki has turned it up to 11. “Oh, so Dark Souls was too easy,” I imagine him chuckling into […]

  • Bloodborne reviews – all the scores in one place

    Bloodborne reviews are in. How does From Software’s latest stack up against its progenitors? Bloodborne is in an interesting position. Its lineage as a Hidetaka Miyazaki dungeon crawler means it has to live up to the expectations of fans of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. But as a brand new PS4 exclusive, it has to […]

  • Destiny: explore Traitor’s Ketch and uncover House of Wolves hints

    Destiny players have long enjoyed poking into hidden places, but Arrekz thinks we’ll be inside Traitor’s Ketch sooner rather than later. Upcoming Destiny expansion House of Wolves is expected to take us into a couple of the hidden areas Guardians have discovered. Traitor’s Ketch, on the Moon, is one highly likely candidate – maybe for […]

  • Games taking advantage of DirectX 12 to start coming out late 2015

    DirectX 12 is still fledgeling API, so it will be some time before we start seeing games built from the ground up using it. As you would probably expect, the DirectX 12 advantages will take some time before they start showing up in released games. But how long do we have to wait? Well, the […]