In mid-2009, Turbine made a potentially risky business decision when they chose to move The Lord of the Rings Online from a subscription-based system to a free-to-play model. In the months since, the decision has paid off, and paid off, and paid off.
Speaking recently to Ten Ton Hammer‘s podcast, communications director Adam Mersky announced that the game’s revenue has tripled since they made the switch.
“This year – it’s still early, it’s only been a couple of months – monthly revenue has tripled for us.”
The information was backed up by the game’s executive producer, Katie Paiz:
“We are super-pleased with how so many of our players have responded fantastically… the world feels alive and vibrant.
“This really echoes a lot of what we’ve seen throughout the entertainment industry in general. It’s really about letting players make their choices about how they play. This really echoes a lot of what we’ve seen throughout the entertainment industry in general. It’s really about letting players make their choices about how they play. People are like ‘I own my choices. You give me the power and I’ll decide if you’re cool enough for me.’”
Instead of paying to access the game each month, gamers can now download and play the game for free, then use micro-transactions to pick up optional quest packs, new items and other fun stuff.
[img_big]center,3382,2010-11-19/ScreenShot00003.jpg,Create a new character and jump in![/img_big]
Looks like this is one experiment that has paid off – and this is a trend we’re seeing in the industry. Champions Online will also incorporate a “freemium” model, and the upcoming APB: Reloaded will also be free to play. Here’s hoping they do as well as LOTRO!