"fairly large net negative".
Going free-to-play changes a studio's mindset and goals, he continued, as you need to have a "paying player subsidising" tons of others. It's known as 'going whaling' to F2P devs.
Already Trion run some free weekends for RIFT now and then to entice would be subscribers to sample the MMO world. They won't be taking the plunge permanently.
"One of the assumptions people make is you can just take a game and throw a switch and change the model. For starters, you'd have to decide that that would be a good thing, and I do not think it would be - that would be a fairly large net negative for RIFT and the RIFT community," said Trion boss Scott Hartsman.
"Take a free-to-play game or a social game, where the business is all about - the social games' word for it is, 'going whaling'." You get some players to pay which covers the cost of those enjoying it for free, basically.
"The idea is you have a paying player subsidising the play of, potentially, dozens or hundreds of other users. And so you have to be willing to create a game that has the ability to make huge sums of money from relatively small numbers of people. Once you decide that you are going to enter the whaling business, it's a different mindset and a different set of goals you're designing for entirely," explained Hartsman.
Have you been 'whaled' in a free-to-play modelled MMO, video gamer? Recently Sony Online Entertainment reported ain revenue for DC Universe Online after it switched from subs to F2P.