I came across this article the other day about the power of free stuff – a free product / item / service is much more widely accepted by people than the same product / item / service that has only a minimal cost attached to it. As the article points out, the difference between free shipping and shipping that cost about 20c was immense for Amazon’s sales.
Tying this to MMOs, it helps explain the power of the F2P MMO industry despite its former poor reputation – I say “former” because 2009 saw a huge shift in the quality of F2P titles released in Western markets as large publishers put out / converted titles to F2P. If it’s free, it costs nothing to try, whereas even a minimal box cost / download fee acts as a barrier to getting started. It helps explain the disparity of user interest between selling 1m copies of Aion to players – a major title release with box cost and sub fees – against attracting 5m accounts to F2P Free Realms – a title that is supposedly for children.
When it comes to games, you want players to at least try it to see if they like it. The more free samples available, hopefully the more players you convince to come on board and start paying money.
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