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Free-to-play  Tribes Ascend  adding single purchase option
Free-to-play Tribes Ascend adding single purchase option
February 12, 2013 | By Mike Rose

February 12, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

At a time when the free-to-play model is being adopted in spades by video game studios, some developers are clearly still interested in the benefits of securing a one-time payment for the whole package.

Take Tribes Ascend, for example. The first-person shooter launched last year as a free-to-play title, with players able to play and unlock the majority of the game's content without paying a cent.

However, Hi-Rez Studios COO Todd Harris said this week that a single purchase edition of the game is due to release on February 15, which will unlock all classes, weapons and perks from the get-go.

"We'll price it in the ballpark of other PC multiplayer shooters," he noted, adding, "If you enjoy the game as free-to-play, nothing changes."

Punch Quest studio Rocketcat Games went a step further than this late last year, making its free-to-play game a paid download after suffering poor sales.

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Kaitlyn Kincaid
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This seems an odd time for such a pricing model change. One-time models are mainly to attract players who know they are going to play and play a LOT, going buy-to-play (b2p) lets them save in the long run.

However T:A has been released for many months (and in open beta for nearly a year), anyone who would be interested in a b2p model has either already played enough to unlock the content they want, or have already burned out on the previously atrocious progression or the very problematic class balance issues.

Going b2p now may attract a few new players, but it honestly feels too little, too late to prop up the low concurrent player numbers. Had this been the model from the get-go I feel that they would have enjoyed far greater success.

Alex Boccia
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I would be so incredible grateful for this, as I was a huge fan of Tribes Ascend but was eventually put-off by the free-to-play model. It might be strange timing but it might work for others like me who would have preferred to have just bought the game with all the weapon features, or for those who are late to the game and want to jump in.

On second thought: maayyybe you're right, they've already done irreparable damage to the game's balance through the F2P model and I've gone months without playing a round. The five months of beta I played was the best ever, I wish they could go back to that but HiRez has pushed what would have otherwise been a fiercely dedicated fanbase away.

Lewis Wakeford
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I have to agree with you there. I would consider buying the game if I hadn't already put a good £30 or so in. There's too much frustration with the game in me to go back though, it felt like they where just ripping me off after a while.

Kaitlyn Kincaid
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I'm in the same boat, I put in about $50 back at "launch" and have most of the good stuff already unlocked. A b2p option is really unapealling to me since it would nearly double the price I've already paid and would mostly be for items I have little to no interest in.

Also, the fine print says that the b2p only unlocks "currently available content", so if they come out with new weapons they will need to be bought over and above the b2p price tag.

The players that would have been interested in b2p are now the ones it's going to appeal to the least.

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Kaitlyn Kincaid
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@Dave Smith

It doesn't hurt them now, however a large portion of the potential income from a B2P option may have been mostly lost. Tribes, specifically has/had a very dedicated fanbase, Tribes 2 still has active players, T:A had a very large amount of hype at launch that could have translated well into a large number of sales. Players were begging for such a feature at launch, however those calls have pretty much died down to nothing now as the demand for such an option has fallen to near zero. The players who are still playing have little desire for such an option, and a "similar price to other multiplayer shooters" is unlikely to attract much new blood to a year old game.

While it will not cost them much to add this now, the opportunities lost by not having this in at launch may have cost them millions.