Like it or not, Perfect World Entertainment is looking to carve out a major chunk of the free-to-play marketplace.

Last week’s news regarding PWE’s intended purchase of Warframe developer Digital Extremes raised quite a few eyebrows, but it may just be the first of a number of high-impact moves being planned by the Chinese company.

As I noted in an interview with PWE back in December, a press release “announced the creation of a ‘console division targeting current and next-gen consoles,’ with both ‘prior and upcoming’ titles ripe for adaptation.” At the end of the interview, General Manager of Publishing Andrew Brown told me that there would be an “official announcement about particular projects” in January or February.

We’re obviously well past that Jan/Feb window, but it’s not hard to imagine that talks to acquire Digital Extremes – whose game is very popular on PlayStation 4 as well as PC – were already occurring late last year and, as things of this magnitude tend to go, dragged on for some time before an official announcement was made.


So maybe you’re not a fan of Perfect World’s games or policies. Maybe you don’t play Warframe or at least think you can dodge another game or two that they might get their hands on. Turns out, it might not be that easy.

A few weeks ago, Perfect World made known their intention to use their Arc distribution platform to draw players not only to its games but to multiple third-party free-to-play titles. According to Senior Product Manager Mark Hill in an interview with Gamasutra:

“Once Neverwinter players start looking for something new, we need to push them into something even newer. Even if a game has been out for a while, like Path of Exile, it’s still something we want on Arc.

“A lot of these guys are just developers. They don’t have all these marketing tools, they may not want to build their own billing platform, so we’re like…we’ve already built all that, let’s open it up to them and we can expose their games to the specific players they’re looking to find.”

He also goes on to quote some very specific numbers regarding the lack of cross-over for players of one PWE game versus another and how that’s received a huge boost – from 2% to 25-30% – after the implementation of Arc. In theory, putting games on Arc and having access to them tied to one account should increase all games’ player bases across the board.


Maybe that will be the benefit of Warframe, or any other games, coming under the Perfect World banner. Maybe getting the game on Arc will be good for the game, increasing its exposure and potential player base. Sure, it’s on Steam now, but so are a few thousand other games. At least on Arc, it would be more likely to get noticed. Admittedly, far more people use Steam than use Arc, but better the big fish in a small pond, right?

Unless, of course, Perfect World winds up being the “Steam of F2P games,” which sounds somewhat attractive but may be less so once hundreds of low-quality games clog up the system and make it hard to find anything (except PWE’s native titles, of course). As one of the early innovators in F2P gaming in the West, Perfect World probably senses the opportunity to create a platform that caters exclusively to free-to-play gaming and could probably attract plenty of gamers with a simple catchphrase like “Free-to-Play Starts Here.”

What do you think of PWE’s push to acquire more F2P games, either directly, like Warframe, or through Arc? Would you be interested in an Arc-like platform that catered exclusively to F2P games?

By Jason Winter

Michael Dunaway has been part of the MMOBomb team for years and has covered practically every major Free-to-Play title since 2009. In addition to contributing First Look videos and news articles, Michael also serves as the Community Manager for the upcoming MMORPG, Skyforge.


  1. ” Sure, it’s on Steam now, but so are a few thousand other games. At least on Arc, it would be more likely to get noticed.”

    Warframe has consistently been in the ~20 top played games on Steam for a long while… I think it’s been noticed

  2. How can PWE ruin Warframe and make it P2W? At the risk of giving them ideas that they haven’t already lined up to attempt…
    1. Bump price points making the cash shop more costly, particularly for account upgrades such as “inventory” slots.
    2. Remove Formas from all loot tables and set as cash shop exclusive.
    3. Solar Rails would be a prime target for p2w features that basically result in the alliance with the biggest wallet is the one that controls them all.
    4. Over Powered Weapons, almost certainly weapons. Additionally the armor cosmetic items might not be cosmetic for long…
    5. Charge a premium for what Warframe players currently consider basic aspects of the game such as creating clans, increasing clan size limitations…

    Now for those who say that P2W is only for PvP, remember that for PvE players the “winning” comes in the form of basically having the game on easy mode vs being given next to nothing for a disproportionate amount of effort.. If 2 people are doing the same activity, one reaps massive rewards with minimal effort and the other is getting almost nothing in exchange for requiring significantly more more time, effort and skill to just barely get by… somebody is definitely “winning”.

  3. Sad, time to look for other game i think, if pw going to change alot in warframe, consoles are for brainless, and most console games sux, there is no future, i can play all that crap on pc and mobile phone.

  4. PWE executive meeting:

    Board member A: “Hey guys, we are having a bit of a problem with customers labelling our games as pay 2 win. All experts are saying that this will have an impact on our projects futures. How shall we tackle this problem.”

    Board member B: “How about not making pay 2 win games?”

    Board member A: “Hey buddy, f*@! you. Our games aren’t good enough to make a profit unless we sell victory.”

    Board member C: “How about buying every single F2P game on the market that doesn’t survive by selling pay 2 win items, then proceeding to put those games on Arc and totally revamp their cash shops to sell the most pay 2 win crap that you can imagine?”

    Board member A: “Now we’re talking. Let’s buy some console games too.”

    Board member D: “I don’t even know what you guys are talking about. All I do is slaughter chickens all day.”

  5. Would you be interested in an Arc-like platform that catered exclusively to F2P games?
    Definitely. I would love to see something like that. Preferably something other then ARC, but a ARC-like platform for F2P would be cool.

    What do you think of PWE’s push to acquire more F2P games, either directly, like Warframe, or through Arc?
    Through Arc without interfering to much with the devs would be ok.. i think.
    But like the rest i do not like PWE purchasing games. DE did such a great job with this game. I am afraid PWE is gonna ruin it. I probably have somewhere between 200 and 300 hours in this game and even though i do not play a lot, Warframe has always been a game i enjoyed. If they are gonna ruin it i will hate them.
    No joke!! i will be the guy posting hate comments at anything even remotely connected to PWE.

  6. Warframe is such a great game , you dont even have to spend more than 5 bucks a month to be happy, With the 20-75% off on reward just to log in , I really hope PWE knows wt they are doing, Warframe has a big, huge potential on being a great game even on next gen gaming.
    Hope PWE dont F…. up

  7. I readed everything here ,and well i played PWE games for many time and yeah they can make it p2w after a long time like 3-4 years in my opinion ..and when i saw Arc might become F2P Steam that sounded a good idea ,next thing,after i saw the comments ,i was like ,uh many haters,in the end when i saw JoeCole’s reply i was like : Holy… and i laught a looot ,i mean hes true how you can make P2W a PvE game:))) ,some pepole don’t know what means pay to win ,maybe in 2 years or something when Warframe will have arenas,(if they will have),maybe then will become p2w ,but those chances are like 0,000234%.

    Before to talk bad about someone get some information.(i mean about warframe)

  8. QUOTE: “A lot of these guys are just developers. They don’t have all these marketing tools … so we’re like…we’ve already built all that.” – Mark Hill, Senior Product Manager

    This is OFFENSIVE on sooo many levels …
    1. “Just developers” Oh really? As in “just” meaning “can’t do anything else”?
    Can an ad executive write a fable, then paint it, convert it to dynamic rendering with real-world physics, compose the accompanying music, perform the voice acting and then finally direct all this into an enjoyably workable experience?
    It would be challenging at the least and certainly not just “just” …
    2. “We built all that” Oh really? As in meaning “we are superior because we distribute”?
    Has hubris of international corporate society risen to the level that advertisement supercedes the significance and uniqueness of the product it’s selling?
    Marketing may drive financial engines but ART drives the human spirit …

    Shame on ANYONE who adheres to such a loathsome idea as Mr. Hill

    • There’s a whole lot of irony as well when you look at who the president of Digital Extremes is and what his history is.

      The game made a pinball game in the 90s literally by himself. It was also all coded in assembly language.

      He then proceeded to make Digital Extremes a highly successful company that has won numerous awards for being a good employer.

      I think Mark Hill is just jelly.

  9. All I know is: When a tumorous growth occurs, you cut the tumor out from the patient to keep them alive, and not the other way around.

  10. Path of Exile is the most successful F2P game right now, there’s not a chance in hell they’ll be ruined by PWE.

    I think any MMO dev with even half a brain between the team wont subject themselves to the cancer that is PWE. That’s just an actual death wish. PWE will bleed an MMO dry and leave its corpse on display until it stops being entertained by the sight of it, and moves on to the next victims.

    • PoE is peaking at 5k players on steam. Dota 2 peaks at 700k+. Even warframe has more players. LOL peaked at 7.5 million concurrent players in january.

      TL;DR PoE is far from the most successful f2p game right now.

      • A very small portion of players use Steam. I actually forgot it was on Steam because i’ve been playing since closed beta, and most other players have been since open beta.

        It’s not surprising the numbers are low on Steam. Also if you have to compare it to MOBAs you’ve pretty much lost the argument already. Warframe is no where near as popular when you consider only straight PC population.

        As much as I enjoyed the fluidity of Warframe’s combat, it was still just a lame PvE game with no real proper content. It definitely should’ve focused on PVP.

        • 7 million concurrent steam users is not a very small portion of players.

          However, I think a very small portion of F2p gamers use steam and those f2p gamers that do use it are using it solely to play Dota.

          The numbers for LoL are entirely based on the statements from Riot’s PR staff and I wouldn’t believe everything they say.

          • I Believe he was referring to the number of warframe player anon and Aggh I believe Malice means or what he/she meant to say is that PoE the most successful F2P MMORPG.

          • Say that as you like, but LoL arguably does have the biggest playerbase, as shown by even Twitch, if you don’t want to trust what they have on their site. I can guarantee you that most people have bought at-least one $10 skin, let alone the people who spend tons, and have skins for every champ they have. That’s not even counting the money generated from things like LoL Skinshop, with $100+ skins, there. Whether anyone likes it or not, LoL is easily the most successful F2P game.

  11. I know its off topic but I don’t know where to write this: why there is no new/article/first look about Archlord 2? It went open beta… yesterday!. I know its not an OMFG! game but its a free MMORPG launched globally. Other free mmo news websites already wrote about it.

  12. PWE can’t hold their player bases interested in any game.Look back on RaiderZ the game looked promising,fun,open world with BAMs(Big Ass Monsters),and what did it turn out….it turned in to a ghost town nobody play it anymore (I played it since it went into open beta that is from November 2 years ago i belive.)They barely updated it like 3 times and on US and Wild the damn X-mas event is still going strong (Yeah even tho it should have ended in January and now its July.They obviously don’t know the meaning of time).While the Korean version is patched,has events with GMs all new gears and classes.The point is they don’t care about their games that much only care how to make a profit out of anything.I wont start how expensive they are if you don’t belive go look it up on RaiderZ(example)and look at the Zen prices there.The game is fun with friends and from time to time feels like monster hunter but its dead and PWE is way too focused on P2W other then the enjoyment factor and playerbase.Thanks for reading everyone :).

  13. the hell whit PWE AND ALL RELATED TO THEM!!!!….. if warframe will be touched by this crapish company i will just quit it….

  14. Why would warframe become p2w? Its more pve oriented than pvp so if PWE make shop with real money it will not effect gameplay contrary i would like to see people with diffrent wepons and same it would be great.PWE did their job great years back and they are improving it and im glad about that so game like warframe deserve bigger playerbase and that will be achived through ARC.

  15. Arc is crap, origin is crap. warframe is epic, but sounds like warframe is going to end up dying once PWE take over lol

  16. well i never played warframe but i have played PWE games and to let you guys no they all suck if there having warframe ima just warn you now they will make it p2w

  17. Arc will need a lot more games on it to actually be viable as a platform. Look at origin and how reviled it is. The only reason it’s still around is because it has a major player like EA behind it and people need to use origin to play a lot of desirable games. Arc doesn’t really fit that bill for most people.

  18. All i can do is watch and see how everything turns out. I’m not a fan of being required to use other software like steam or arc just to play a game, but mhm i will see how it plays out.

  19. I honestly don’t really give a crap about there ARC. I could careless if they have the ARC to “MAXIMIZE” or have a player “BOOST”. PWE is going to mess up Warframe big time if that happens might as well not play the game. PWE is going to make Warframe P2W with lock boxes that you have to buy cash keys to unlock. Warframe is good they way they are now. Leave them alone PWE.

    • I have to agree with you there. Warframe is about to become a cash cow being milked daily. At least it’s not OGPlanet, though.

      • Having dealt with both companies over extended periods of time, I’d rather have OGP. Just barely, buts still. The enraging things they do tend to be more due to incompetence than malice, at least compared to PWE who destroy games because they want fast cash. Both of them utterly suck, though.


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