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Lord of the Rings Online Doubles Income Having Gone Free-to-Play

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.

5 post(s)
Reader Comments
Barzenak42 Oct 08 2010, 11:59 am EDT
I checked it out but like DDO I was not impressed. Characters seemed to float around and it just But free is good nonetheless.
RenegadeCZ Oct 08 2010, 12:39 pm EDT
SWtOR is going to compete with WoW...Go Bioware!!!
  jokester: Maybe at first, but WoW will still come out on top...
jimmy: Go Fuck A Goat!!
MajFauxPas Oct 08 2010, 03:16 pm EDT
I was CBT for this one, ages ago, and it's great if you LOVE quest grinding. It's just like WoW but in Middle Earth with Hobbits. Not my thing, but growing and smoking weed in the game was interesting.
GrgoljBlaster Oct 08 2010, 03:22 pm EDT
Although not a real MMO, Battlefield Heroes has a similar scheme. It's advertised as a free to play shooter, but after first couple of hours you will realize that you need to pay tons of cash just to stay competetive against players of your level. Very bad thing about that game was that items didn't stay with you but instead you rented them on weekly or monthly periods. Turbine obviously made better choices than Dice and EA and made both players and themselves happy.

PS I still won't play LoTRO
Skroin Oct 08 2010, 07:08 pm EDT
I'm happy they've increased their income.....but that's because I've played this game since closed beta and have a life-time membership account.

I paid $199 for a life-time subscription, but I've been playing free for a couple of years now. I've more than made my money back.

I, personally, enjoy this game WAY more than WoW. I gave WoW a try and came right back to LoTRO after a few months. The community in LoTRO is much more mature than the WoW kiddies.

WoW can keep all their subs for all I care. I'll stick with the mature folks.


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