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Going Free Boosts Turbine's  DDO  Revenues 500 Percent
Going Free Boosts Turbine's DDO Revenues 500 Percent
February 26, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

February 26, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

Going free-to-play is paying off for Turbine, which says its Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited has gained over one million new players since its September 2009 launch -- as the game's paid subscriber base has more than doubled.

Turbine took formerly subscription-based DDO to a primarily free-to-play model last year with the Eberron upgrade, unveiling a microtransactions-driven store for in-game content.

The company says that its players transact in the new store at three times the industry average, and that the franchise's revenue has grown 500 percent since the change-over. Turbine did not attach a dollar value to its revenue claims.

Users can still pay a monthly subscription for unlimited access to DDO's content. On the free model, they buy adventure packs, items and account-related services on an individual basis.

"The response from players to DDO Unlimited has been nothing short of phenomenal," said Jim Crowley, president and CEO of Turbine, Inc.

"We’ve known all along how great this game is and by implementing an innovative new model that put the players in charge of how they pay and play DDO Unlimited, we’ve successfully expanded our reach and injected new energy into the game," he continues. "Without a doubt, DDO Unlimited is a hit!"

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John Gordon
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It would be nice to know how much revenue they are actually making. Even still it looks like the free-to-play model is more effective than the traditional subscription based model for MMO's. If there is an MMO that ends up surpassing WoW in revenue one day, I bet it will be free-to-play.

Alan Rimkeit
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I still say that DDO would have been much more successful if it had been set in one of the more popular game world setting such as Dragonlance or The Forgotten Realms. DDO in Dragonlance would have been utterly epic. Even Grey Hawk would have been a better setting than Eberron.

I still hope that rumor of a Neverwinter Nights MMO is true. That would kick ass.

Adam Danielski
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Hey John,

I think the second and third highest revenue generating MMO's are F2P. While they are not even close to touching WOW's market share in revenue, they are still pretty high on the list. I think Maple story is clocked in aroudn 10 million a year in revenue. I would have to go back and look at the numbers, but I think that is correct for at least 2008 if I remember correctly.

Adam Danielski
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Sorry I meant 100 million. Forgot the extra 0.

Dave Endresak
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Well, revenue doesn't necessarily mean anything as far as game success on a global scale. WoW is artificially inflated due to the subscription fees, and many people simply will not or cannot play a subscription based game. That is why you have far more subscribers in free to play games like Maple Story. Sub models like WoW will never touch the same numbers, comparatively speaking. That is, even if a sub game reaches, say, 20 million, free to play games will still have far more subscribers due to their nature. Of course, the old 80/20 rule applies, too (20 percent of the players support the other 80 percent who play for free without ever paying anything). However, with respect to the number of people who experience the product, free to play has far more reach. It's sort of analogous to comparing opera or other expensive performances to works that are much more affordable for the mass market such as movies or TV.