The9, one of China’s top online games operators, has decided not to charge players for access to its latest title, Soul of The Ultimate Nation, instead adopting the free-to-play business model pioneered locally by fellow Nasdaq-listed rival Shanda Interactive Entertainment.
‘Free to play’ is a bit misleading.
Technically it is free but if you want to acquire the goodies that make the game exciting you have to buy them. Free, yes, but do not enjoy yourself.
We are talking here, of course, of ‘massively multiplayer online role-playing games’ or, if I may take the liberty, MMORPGs.
The trend in China, by a very long way the biggest MMORPG market in the world, is get them in free and charge them afterwards. Other schemes simply do not seem to work that well.
In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Shanda chairman Chen Tianqiao said the ‘free-to-play’ model was generating record revenues for his company and that it had already surpassed Netease to reclaim its status as China’s number one MMORPG operator.
Netease has so far stuck with the more traditional approach of charging players for the time they spend playing MMORPGs and this is probably going to turn out to be a major tactical error.
The9 was also a charge to play until it saw the light and switched to seemingly ‘free to play’. World of Warcraft, with which my son is obssessed, is a title it licensed from Vivendi Universal Games unit Blizzard Entertainment — and for that Chinese players happily paid. But, as I understand it, that is a very superior game.
The9 spokesman James Zhao said it had decided free-to-play was better for its new title, Soul of The Ultimate Nation which we will call SUN.
James Zhao said, “We found through four or five months of surveys that most players support free operation.” So you get the SUN without charge and in the first week of open testing 400,000 players signed on. That is one serious amount of players
Source: Financial Times
You must log in to post a comment.