Thursday, September 10, 2009

Could Eve Be Free-To-Play?

With the Dungeons and Dragons Online going to a Free-To-Play model with microtransactions and premium memberships as the method of making money, and with a lot of commentators saying that the traditional 15 dollar a month subscription is going to be obsolete in the future, I wonder how Eve could become a microtransaction based game.

I can see existing account services like character transfers and avatar changes remaining but they would be low money makers I suspect.

Perhaps some customization options like more character avatar upgrades or perhaps custom ship skins. Could the player community agree to some ships being available in a microtransation store?

Maybe allowing players to buy Loyalty Points in bulk. They can use the LPs to buy from the Loyalty Point Stores items not available to be built from blueprints and then turn around and sell them on the market for ISK to get whatever they want.

Do we allow certain ship classes to be available only through LP stores?

Perhaps once Incarna arrives (that is the new code name for Walking In Stations / Ambulation) there will be hordes more opportunities for a microtransaction store (although while typing this post I really became enamoured with selling Loyalty Points... seems like a good wedge point for the concept in the player base).

Comments? Discussion?


  1. The way you make money on these free-to-play/microtransaction games is by making people spend small amounts of money almost constantly.

    I don't think character transfers are ever going to become a serious money-making venture...

    But avatar changes could - especially after ambuwhatever comes out. Charge someone $0.50 for a new haircut... $0.50 for a change of clothes... $0.50 for a different portrait background...

    They could also offer custom paintschemes for your ships. I'm sure somebody out there is just dying for a Hello Kitty Kestrel.

    I'd hate to see any game mechanics that allow people to use real money to bypass traditional gameplay... I'd hate to see a whole lot of stuff become available only with real money...

    But there's certainly plenty of room for money to be made.

  2. They should never switch to microtransactions, I hate those games, you have to pay in order to actually be able to stand a chance to someone spending big bucks on it.

    Now you can say only do it for cosmetic changes etc but that'll eventually get changed to combat items anyways.

    I rather have a subscription per month then microtransaction bullshit.

  3. EVE is already free to play if you are willing to spend some time making ISK. I know of a couple of folks who nothing but rat, mission, industry work, etc for the 1st week of each month in order to make that 300 mil for a GTC. The rest of the month is just for fun.

  4. Not quite Derek. Although locally a player using a Plex is not paying cash, another player had to shell out for that Plex. That's not free to play in the overall sense, its more of an exchange of items for playtime.

    A true Free to play would be that no one pays for the plex with real cash.

    @Ephemeriis: The plex system already allows someone with cash to bypass traditional gameplay. I could afford a Wyvern if I was willing to buy a bunch of plexes to sell.

  5. If micro-transactions are implemented you'd need to make them so you can pay for them with plex, else you lock out those subscribing with plex from a lot of stuff.

  6. I think that the LP store would be one way to go about it. However CCP would have to make some key ships only available through the LP store. Likes Hulks or something.

    That being said I hope that CCP sticks to being the rebel MMO developers they are, and doesn't go mainstream on this one. I much prefer subscription fees to micro transactions.

  7. Because of the consistent stream of updates and content patches, I don't think free-to-play would be a possibility for EvE. Unless the player-base would be willing to sacrifice any future expansions and development in exchange for playing a static game for free.

  8. Anonymous2:39 pm

    EVE is in the currently unique position where every second you hold a subscription (and some where you don't) counts as a usage of the service. It's probably an epitome of how a subscription service should be done.

  9. Anonymous5:10 pm

    I don't think EVE will go F2P but I imagine that they might over some more paid services at some point to make extra cash.

    Personally I don't think it needs to become F2P. They already give us free expansions so it's a pretty good deal :)

  10. I was going to post a comment, but it grew and mutated into a blog post. See it here:

  11. I don't see Eve becoming F2P just because the whole skills system is like buying an experience potion that lasts for 30 days.

    That said I can see CCP putting in something like SOE's Station Cash shop once Incarna comes around. What self-respecting player isn't going to want to deck out their character in the latest fashion? In EQ2 the clothes and furniture are popular. And if you have walking avatars, will housing be far behind?

    The big question would be the player reaction if CCP started selling skill point boost potions (or temporary implants) that would give you a skill boost for a limited period of time. That actually might make sense to counteract the skill loss when you lose a T3 ship.

  12. EVE couldn't go F2P due to the skill system. They'd have to completely overhaul that in order to make the change.

  13. Anonymous5:44 am

    when a game has been online for years the new people coming in to it, Know they have no chance to catch up and compete with the established players who have been on years. This puts off a lot of folk. he attraction of FTP is that with a cash injection you can accelerate yourself and catch up. (although it actually never quiet works out like that) the idea you have a "chance" is attractive, and VERY lucrative, the FTP games are generating 5-10 times the amount subscription does and they are leeching players from sub games. its inevitable it will change to FTP. those who play will either have to like it or go elsewhere.

  14. @CrackerJock

    Ah, the "never catch up!" myth. Nice to see its still out there poisoning simple minded people's brains.