Oh Look, By Making LoTR Free Online, Revenue Shot Up

from the gee,-who-coulda-predicted-that? dept

About a year ago, we highlighted how the online MMO based on Dungeons and Dragons had gone free after trying to charge for a while, and showed how going free didn't mean you lost money, but it could work well as a part of a business model. And, indeed, reports from earlier this year showed that revenue had increased 500% for the "free" game -- once again highlighting how "free" does not mean "no money." In fact, the success of this free effort was so well received that Turbine's owners agreed to let them open up the Lord of the Rings MMO as well.

And, as a whole bunch of you have been submitting, once again, it looks like, by going free, they've been able to make a lot more money. In just a few months, they've doubled their revenue by embracing free. The game is now free to play, and so a lot more people are playing -- and many of them are choosing to then pay for certain additional offerings within the game. Once again, the point is the same, if you recognize where and how free fits into your business model, you can make a lot more money. No one is saying that everything is free or that anyone should stop making money. It's all about understanding the economics of how to use free to create a more efficient market to make more money.
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Filed Under: business models, free, lotr, mmo
Companies: turbine


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  1. identicon
    Jon B., 11 Oct 2010 @ 1:40pm

    I'm not an MMO'er but my MMO-playing friends refer to going free-to-play as a death knell for an MMO. Making the game free to play will change the type of people willing to play the game and therefore alter the dynamics of the community in a way that may scare off the more mature players that have money. Also, giving an an in-game bonus to people who pay extra just means that those who can afford it have a competitive advantage. I've never been a fan of giving a competitive advantage to people just because they have more real-world $.

    The immediate jump in revenue is expected, but I doubt it lasts.

    What's funny here is that the things that aren't scare (copies of the game, in game items) are the things that cost money while the the things that ARE scarce (bandwidth, connections, in-game player space) are the things they're giving away. That sounds lop-sided to me.

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