Hi-Rez Boasts Of F2P Successes

By Jim Rossignol on July 5th, 2011 at 8:44 am.


Speaking to PC Gamer, Hi-Rez COO Todd Harris said of the decision to take Global Agenda free-to-play: “We have many many more people creating accounts every day, many more people playing concurrently, our revenues are higher than they ever have been before which means we can develop content and put it into the game faster than ever before,” and also: “We now have five times as many interested players every day going through that same experience knowing that it’s free to play and it’s not a demo.”

I suspect this is going to be a story that we hear regularly in the next two years. What will be interesting will be to see who survives, and who fails. As with retail, there’s only going to be so much money available for these games, and it’s hard to judge their long-term appeal, or ultimate lifespan. As f2p competition intensifies, I suspect we might see some parties forced out of the race entirely. Whether Hi-Rez are one of the major contenders is going to be a combination of extending Global Agenda’s life and making Tribes Ascent into a big hit. The competition is going to be fierce, and predict Firefall will be the big player in the shooty-jetpacks arena.

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35 Comments »

  1. Tom De Roeck says:

    I dont get Free 2 Play. It just a system like the others, I assume, but I dont get it.

    Or maybe I do get it, I just dont like it.

    • Calneon says:

      It means there’s no initial purchase or subscription fee. Instead, money is made through micro-transactions such as ‘XP multiplier scrolls’ or cosmetic items, etc.

    • Tom De Roeck says:

      Then I did get it, I just didnt like it, thank you.

    • Arathain says:

      It’s not so bad. The important thing is to understand that if you want to play you’re going to spend some money. Instead of paying whatever the publisher wants, upfront, or in a subscription, you get to pay based on how much you play and enjoy the game. That’s how I look at it.

      There’s also nice ways to do it and annoying ways. I like League of Legends’ model. You can play without paying anything, but you’ll acquire runes and new characters rather more slowly. If you’re playing regularly, why wouldn’t you want to send the devs a bit of cash for your time and enjoyment, and buy yourself something nice?

  2. lunarplasma says:

    I’m glad the model is working for them. I like the Free 2 Play model, simply because I don’t get much time to play games in the evening anymore, therefore I resent paying a monthly sub on any game (even if I really really like it).

    • Zakkeh says:

      I feel similar, which is why the Guild Wars games always lured me, especially in the beginning. A full mmo game with a one time purchase, and originally had no micro transactions store. It was brilliant…

    • Rummy says:

      Guild Wars is a great game and is definitely massive and online, but it’s far from a ‘full MMO’, which for me would imply a persistent world rather than a series of instances connected by social hubs. I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all, it just makes it very different to something like WoW, which I would consider a full MMO.

    • LionsPhil says:

      One of the best things about F2P is that the lack of a subscription means no compulsion to play just to get your money’s worth. Maybe this is the beginning of the end of MMOs disproportionately eating people’s lives.

  3. Lobotomist says:

    Glad its working for them

    I bought the game for 6$ just before it went F2P .. hehe

    Its actually very excellent game. But in my opinion lacking PVE part. They build large open area with quests. Which is very good. But it only takes you 1/5 of leveling curve. After that you need to play FPS matches. Which are good. But are in practice TF2 clone.

    So why just not play TF2? (actually the question most games break on)

  4. Anthile says:

    I guess just being on Steam is something like a license to print money for F2P games.

  5. mkultra says:

    I’ve spoken to Todd Harris one-on-one, and I can assure you he is but a suit filled with dogshit.

    Game was good until 1.3

    I’m so mad.

  6. cliffski says:

    Interesting what is not said:

    “We have many many more people creating accounts every day, many more people playing concurrently, our revenues are higher than they ever have been before”

    whoop-de-do.

    Business’s need PROFIT to be a viable concern. “Revenue is for ego, profit is king”. I think that was Theo paphitas that said that.

    Companies that make a profit, always mention the profit. Companies that don’t, mention revenue. I could be totally wrong here, but I always find it suspicious to mention the figrue that really doesn’t matter, rather than the one that does.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      It is always funny on Dragon’s Den when they brag about their turnover only to have the Dragons ask about profit.

      “mumble mumble”

      “Sorry, I didn’t hear that”

      “10k loss”

      “I’m out”

    • lunarplasma says:

      Would their infrastructure have had to expand to support the Free-to-play model though? If it didn’t, then an increased revenue would mean increased profit too.

    • tikey says:

      Now, thanks to Cliffski and RPS I know the difference between revenue and profit!
      This site is awesome.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Profit is for investors/shareholders & fuck all else that’s why Dragons Den is always so interested in it.
      If you have a £1 million/year turnover & you employ 50-100 people that’s shit is it? Yeah screw those employees who get to pay their mortgages, send their kids to school, take their spouses on nice holidays etc. & also screw all the people who benefit from the products & services all those employees pay for with their salaries every day/week/month/year.

      Short sighted bullshit. You’re not worth what Theo Paphitis is & you’ll be lucky to even be worth 1% what he is.

    • Nalano says:

      Malibu Stacey, while somewhat acerbic, is right.

      This sort of backbiting and internet haterade is silly in the face of the fact that these companies hire real live people who have real live families.

      Now, we don’t want to see the company produce a consistent loss because that means it won’t be employing all that staff, but even if the company made record profits, it’s not like you get a cut.

  7. Squishpoke says:

    It showing up on Steam had a lot to with it, methinks.

    • Richie Shoemaker says:

      Steam, yes. It was also playing up to Tribes fans, Planetside fans and those eager to play a good “MMO” FPS. When it failed to meet any of those expectations, it was cleverly manoeuvred for “free to play” in subtle stages so as not to alienate its nascent community.

    • Tom De Roeck says:

      I guess NeoCron failed in that aspect.

  8. tenseiga says:

    Isn’t F2P a zero sum game? there must be only so many advertisers who are willing to support so many mmo’s.

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      The big bucks for “free to play” seem to be coming from micro-transactions rather than advertising.

    • Brutal Deluxe says:

      The thing I don’t get is that the majority of the F2P’s that are reporting success were originally subscription-based at one point. So it seems entirely feasible that development of said games was subsidized by a big initial payoff. This in turn enabled a higher quality game to be produced, which seemed to offer greater value when it then went free. So how many games that are free-to-play from day one are successful?

    • Thants says:

      League of Legends for one.

  9. Text_Fish says:

    Good lord, is that a horribly derivative multiplayer shooty-shooty-bang-bang game? And it’s FREE!? I wonder why.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Good lord, is that a horribly derivative basic common uninformed comment?

      GA has nice mechanics in its gameplay, you should give it a try. It became F2P only a few months ago, it was a full game the year before.

  10. DerShcraa says:

    Not one word for Tribes: Ascend?
    The trailer looks like jolly fun.

  11. Robin_G says:

    I’ve been trying to register since It was put on steam, but it never works. I keep getting; “Registration record could not be created at this time. Please try again or contact Global Agenda Support. ”
    Unfortunately you can’t even view their forums without an account. Anyone else sign up for it recently or have any issues?

  12. sinister agent says:

    I can’t say I’m surprised that it’s been a success (so far, anyway). All my whingeing about how MMOs are tedious grindfests aside, I’d actually have a lot more time for them if it weren’t for subscription fees. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Microtransactions aren’t really something I adore, either, but they seem like the lesser evil, and a much better deal for the player.

    Will be interesting to see what happens when it gets more competitive though, yeah.

  13. remover says:

    Really frustrating for the folks that pre-ordered this BS game. Free boosters for them folks would be nice.

  14. Terics says:

    I actually really like this when it went F2P. Sort of a poor mans TF2 with coop. The only thing that bugged me was the low experience rate for F2P people.

  15. remover says:

    Being someone that paid approx. $50 in north america for it before it came out, it’s kind of a slap in the face to see a screen come up now that says “if you gave us even MORE money, you could get the following extra XP and loot from this mission!”

    They also introduced that stupid shop you can only get to if you pay to have a jetpack inside the dome city.

    It’s an insult to those of us that supported the company at the beginning.