Rumor: WildStar box recall and promo might herald free-to-play

    
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Any Kill Bill references you want to make here may or may not be apropos. It's a fine line.

The last time the retailer yanked boxes of a game from the shelves and returned them to the distributors, it was The Elder Scrolls Online, shortly before that title announced its buy-to-play conversion. Now the same thing is happening, only this time it’s boxes of WildStar. As go Australian EB Games outlets, so goes the rest of the world. You laugh, you mock, but can you be sure it isn’t true?

In all seriousness, there’s no smoking gun proving that this does herald a business model shift, and there are plenty of potential causes for pulling the boxes from shelves. But after what happened the last time, the rumor does have a bit of extra weight.

Afternoon update: Carbine has now announced a Mystery Box Promotion for WildStar. According to the developer post, all standard-edition boxed copies of the game will come with codes for a random mount, hoverboard, or costume. The promotion does not apply to digital copies or collectors edition copies of the game, and the special items are not account-wide. Gametime from the boxes stacks, according to the studio. Guest passes are no longer offered.
[Source: Games.on.net; thanks to Kieran, Dante, and Clay for the tip!]
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maximsarlet
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maximsarlet

ClassicCrime DasBenty The thing about sub fee is that to me it gives some kind of pressure to play cause I’ve payed for the sub, unlike a b2p game I play whenever I want (I’m a casual gamer who loves MMO).

maximsarlet
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maximsarlet

DoctorOverlord Zarkov LoLLL they went f2p with aion no? :p

Lockeman
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Lockeman

DugFromTheEarth EatCandy I know I’m 2 days late but I just read this debate just now and wanted to say that I can’t believe you, DugFromTheEarth, had the patience to go rounds with EatCandy as long as you did. lol
BTW you’re spot on DugFromTheEarth!

DoctorOverlord
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DoctorOverlord

Tearofsoul  I miss those Wildstar animations.   They were so BRILLIANT.   A pity the game itself couldn’t match the animations.

DoctorOverlord
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DoctorOverlord

Zarkov Yeah, NCSoft is like a bi-polar asylum inmate.  There’s no telling what they heck they’re going to do.

DoctorOverlord
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DoctorOverlord

syberghost Evade2015 Cambruin WildarX RooWoods Yeah it’s always good to ask for (and provide) data sources.  
It may seem like WoW is the gorilla of the market, and just because one’s friends are all pay subs doesn’t mean that’s the case in the actual market.   There is no denying that subs numbers in general are falling, FF and Wildstars numbers do not account for WoWs losses.   Then there were the plethora of WoW-clone failures we just lived through indicating that designing a sub-mode basedl game is not a good bet.  
Frankly, WoW is looking more and more like a one-time-only occurrence in the MMO genre.  Even Blizzard doesn’t appear to think they can duplicate it given the cancellation of Titan.

syberghost
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syberghost

carson63000 syberghost Evade2015 Werewolf Finds Dragon the worst such failure was Realtime Worlds, which spent something like $130 million on their first game, APB, and then sold it to GamersFirst for $1.3 million when they went out of business less than 80 days after releasing with a sub.

It’s supposedly doing quite well now as F2P, but I haven’t examined GF financials. They really got a bargain in that deal.

Launching CO and STO with subs, which BTW Cryptic did *NOT* want to do but had thrust upon them by Atari, nearly killed them and Atari both; PWE saved Cryptic and dumping Cryptic saved Atari, although jury’s still out on the latter.

Mythic’s choice to launch Warhammer Online with a sub is one of the largest reasons they failed to maintain the necessary post-launch income to sufficient promised features to keep that game open, although the actual destruction of the company was masked by corporate shell games that officially kept it open until recently. Another case of the benefits of having a big company to hide your little company in.

Initially launching Pirates of the Burning Sea with a sub eventually led to the semi-demise of Flying Labs when SOE cut the game loose (to their credit, selling it to a startup by some of the devs, Portalus Games), although once again Perfect World to the rescue there, picking them up shortly before they would have had to fire everybody. They survived the recent PWE employee purge, too, in their current incarnation as Cryptic North.

syberghost
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syberghost

Evade2015 syberghost Cambruin WildarX RooWoods OK; show me your data source for the assertion that “more people play sub based MMOs than F2P or B2P”, and I’ll review it.

Evade2015
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Evade2015

syberghost Evade2015 Cambruin WildarX RooWoods 
My guess is they are including games that are not MMOs like LoL.

syberghost
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syberghost

Evade2015 Cambruin WildarX RooWoods I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but Superdata says F2P revenues outstrip sub revenues 2:1 in North America. There aren’t many sub only MMOs left in the market, and the big three are all declining in sub numbers.

As for Cambruin attributing it to underemployment; I make six figures. I don’t rent access to my characters. This oft-repeated chestnut was relevant in 2009, it’s not now.