So people have seen that the free-to-play model works



  • Despite Chart-Track's vigilant work, NPD, Chart-Track, and RS gold other sales analysts working on games remain in the past and are unable to monitor anything other than physical packaged goods. It is this scenario that makes digital distribution, and free-to-play games a little secret success.

    It is a every week in the UK and every month in America. Runescape is a long-standing, free-to-play MMORPG that has over 8.5 millions active subscribers. One of those subscribers has played the free version of the game for more than 13500 hours.

    The company that developed Runescape, a Cambridge-based Jagex, recently launched its own Java-based casual games portal FunOrb. FunOrb is now home to its millionth player, less than one year since it first launched. With such positive growth, Develop meets with Mark Gerhard, FunOrb's CEO to discuss the company's expansion plans as well as the possibility of the free-to play model.

    Jagex is the first to introduce free-toplay games. But has it reached the level of popularity many expected? I think that it has. At the beginning, the whole industry was concentrated on traditional distribution of retail. It didn't understand the model of free-play or online.

    We are seeing exactly the opposite. Some of the most prominent gaming companies are looking to follow in our footsteps. A lot of companies aren't following our lead. We can see that many companies have attempted to replicate our model, such as Sony and Free Realms. They are just releasing a demo of the membership and monetizing elements of the game.

    We believe that our Jagex model (and Runescape) is more exciting than this. We released a comprehensive game that is free to our users. To give you an idea of the size of the game, it's got more than 13500 hours of gaming. That's the amount of time that our most dedicated player who is free to play has spent playing the game, yet she has not reached her full potential.

    So people have seen that the free-to-play model works, but typically companies implement it in the wrong way, and only offer a few hours of free play. As a result of that, our competitors have not seen the success that we have I'm sure they will not.

    It's something I believe we have been very faithful to throughout the years that we offer two distinct games. One is a no-cost one and one for members. Membership is the buy RuneScape gold best option for most players. But, for those who don't pay, we want to make sure they have access to a selfsustaining game and not a demo.