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Remember how you always read about all those subscription-based MMOGs that go down the tubes because everybody on the planet is still playing WoW? Well, usually their developers decide either to can the project entirely or simply make it free-to-play. Lord of the Rings Online exec producer Kate Paiz announced during a panel at GDC Online 2010 that developer Turbine has doubled its revenue from the title Lord of the Rings Online. The game has over a million new accounts since it went free-to-play early in September.
This is the second time Turbine turned one of their MMOGs from a paid subscription to a hybrid microtransactions-based business model (Dungeons and Dragons Online went through the same phase in 2009).
Joystiq reports: "Paiz also shared that 20% of LotRO's former players have returned to the game since the switchover, and that the game has seen a 300% increase in peak concurrency, with three times the number of players online simultaneously, and a 400% increase in active players total. 53% of players have used the in-game microtransaction store (which sells everything from mounts and outfits to XP boosts and character slots), and as you can see above, extra storage slots are extremely popular in the store. And even paid subscriptions have increased. Turbine's lesson seems to be that, as Paiz said during the panel, 'when you tell people you no longer have to pay for it, they come in droves.'"
Right. Most publishers strive to create the WoW-killer and it's those publishers that usually fail miserably at such a ridiculous endeavor. So, what do they do, they make the game free-to-play. And surprise, surprise, they still make money out of it... Amazing. Nothing personal, it's just business.
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