The Weekly Raid: F2P, B2P, Or P2P: What Is Your Preferred MMO Business Model?
Around 10 years ago, a slew of Asian MMOs & MMORPGs started making their way to the West. These Asian MMOs brought with them a business model that was previously unknown on these shores. Since then, the free to play model has been widely adopted by many studios and is used across a range of genres. While pioneers of the model like Nexon have struggled to actually make any money in the West, free to play has given us some of the best games of the past decade. Think League of Legends, Path of Exile, Warframe, Dota 2, Tera, and so on.
Traditional subscription MMORPGs didn't go away, but few new MMORPG releases opted for the subscription-only model following the F2P tsunami. World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV are the two remaining subscription MMORPG heavy hitters. A third model has also gained popularity, spearheaded by the original Guild Wars. Buy to Play (B2P) MMORPGs offer a full MMORPG experience, but rather than a mandatory subscription, they require a one time purchase. Often they are supported by optional subs and a cash shop as well. Some of the biggest MMORPGs today have opted for this model including Guild Wars 2 and The Elder Scrolls Online.
Now that we've had many years to experience all three of these business models, which do you feel works best for MMOs and MMORPGs? Which do you personally prefer, and which do you think will still be around in the future? Will we see a variety of F2P, B2P, and subscription games coming out in the years ahead, or has the tide turned against one or more of these business models?