I’ve long been a fan of the “freemium” business model, especially when it comes to online games. I’ve enjoyed playing Dungeons & Dragons Online partially for this reason, and was excited to hear that switching to their freemium approach increased their revenue by 500%. Following that success, Turbine eventually made the same move with their Lord of the Rings Online game.
The results are in: Lord of the Rings Online is making three times as much money as it was before it went free back in September.
This is a big win/win scenario for game developers. They have the opportunity to gain more users, as the barrier for entry is lower, and potentially make more money than their usual monthly fee from their most hardcore users. (Imagine $12.99 a month becoming $20 a month in additional quest packs and emergency mana potions…) I’m still hoping Blizzard will experiment with this for World of WarCraft.
Now, if only Turbine would work on OS X clients for their growing MMORPGs…