Top News of 2011: Free-to-play model

Our top stories of 2011 continues today with a look at the rise of the free-to-play business model on PC, which has found a way to infiltrate games like Team Fortress 2 and SOE's MMO releases.

5

Star Wars: The Old Republic is setting the world on fire, and uses a traditional subscription model. BioWare has seemed open to switching to the popular free-to-play model, if the market moves that way. They certainly wouldn't be the first to make the switch.

We saw a string of high-profile MMOs switching to the model this year, including Star Trek Online, EverQuest 2, and DC Universe Online. Smaller MMOs like Lineage 2 and Aion swapped as well. Even World of Warcraft offered a F2P model up to level 20.

The trend wasn't relegated to the MMO space, though. Team Fortress 2 switched this year, along with a version of Pixeljunk Monsters. Upcoming titles like the MechWarrior reboot and Scrolls have already announced F2P plans. Mobile games, including iPhone's Game of the Year, Tiny Tower, also adopt this popular money-making model. All this made 2011 quite the year for cheapskates.

[Image: The now free-to-play title DC Universe Online]


2011 was chock full of game releases and announcements, along with the highs and lows you'd expect from any 365-day period. Since we follow the news closely here -- it's right in the name -- now seemed like a good time to reminisce about some of the biggest happenings of the past year. These are the events that thrilled, frustrated, shook up, and baffled players in 2011.

Editor-In-Chief

From The Chatty

  • reply
    January 6, 2012 4:45 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Top News of 2011: Free-to-play model.

    Our top stories of 2011 continues today with a look at the rise of the free-to-play business model on PC, which has found a way to infiltrate games like Team Fortress 2 and SOE's MMO releases.

    • reply
      January 7, 2012 1:13 AM

      Free-to-play can be a great model for the consumer, but it isn't always. The idea of item leasing really turns me off of some of these games, but at the same time it seems to be a simple method of maintaining some balance between those who pay more and those who pay less/none.

      • reply
        January 7, 2012 2:41 AM

        I hate that equality shit in games. I'm an elitist and I like being one, but thanks for letting the guys with more money pretend like they can party with us.

        • reply
          January 7, 2012 3:08 AM

          You can get anything in League of Legends free eventually. Sure you can spoend money but if you dont play you cant get runes and compete on high levels. You may ascend faster but that false knowledge doesnt give you advantage. On the contrary there are people I play with who are level 30 with less games because they paid for a XP boost but that still doesnt give them any unfair advantage.

          You can spend as much as you like or nothing at all and still enjoy every facet of the game, eventually.

          Buying stuff like shikns and champs is fun but it can be done by playing for free and getting wins...

          • reply
            January 7, 2012 4:14 AM

            That's exactly my point as well. I spend my time, not money, and I don't like my time being equal to your cash. It's a different investment for me. Sure, I see the benefits from your side, and I actually worried I would be swayed with Tribes Ascend, but I do not like playing against people who make that trade off. Perhaps the industry will go with this as the new model and that's OK, I just don't like playing those type of games.

    • reply
      January 7, 2012 10:33 AM

      "[Image: The now free-to-play title DC Universe Online]"

      I love this addition, thanks!!
      (Sometimes the pics are obvious, but for the times they are not, this sort of thing is great)