In a recent interview with Edge Online, Dark Souls II Producer Takeshi Miyazoe made light of free-to-play games and their, shall we say, inconsistent quality:

Again, the notion [of going F2P] draws laughter from Miyazoe. “Yeah, right!” he snorts. “Not yet, and not for a while I think. It’s one of our bigger IPs right now, but it’s a new IP, so I think it’s too young to go free-to-play.”

What does that mean, exactly: “too young to go free-to-play?” Does Miyazoe infer that only old, washed-up, at-the-end-of-their-rope game franchises are suitable for free-to-play?

The article quotes Soul Calibur, Tekken, and Ridge Racer as three examples of three venerable IPs that have gone the F2P route, with significant – and, for the most part, understandable – pushback from players. Need For Speed World, Warhammer: Wrath of Heroes, and Evil Genius Online are more examples of F2P incarnations of popular franchises that have seen their share of dissatisfied players. Heck, EA’s F2P Command & Conquer was so far off the mark for fans of the franchise; the reboot got the axe well before it even released!

No matter how good a F2P game is, it’s going to be met with some resistance from players who are used to something else. This is the case whenever an MMO goes from a subscription to F2P, and is also true when a “paid” franchise releases a F2P version of its game. Players who are used to paying one fee to access the entire game are as put off by the new payment model as they are by a new control scheme or art direction.

This isn’t to say that these F2P models are just fine and that it’s the players’ faults that they’re perceived as exploitative. Sometimes, they actually are exploitative or just plain bad. To me, that’s similar to movie sequels for a franchise that has stayed well past its prime and is just trying to capitalize on a name, rather than produce something of actual quality (Rocky, anyone?).

This is, I think, more than anything, where free-to-play gets a good share of its bad reputation – from games that wouldn’t be very good regardless of their payment model. Again, using movies as an example, a bad sequel is a bad sequel, whether you pay $12 to see it, $5, or nothing. The same goes for a bad movie based on a well-know IP. I saw the Doom movie for free in a theater and feel like it wasn’t worth what I paid for it. F2P model + beloved franchise + subpar gameplay = “F2P sux lol.”

So is Miyazoe right? Is Dark Souls “too new” to go the free-to-play route? Yes, if only because it’s still plenty popular and ripe with good ideas that it doesn’t need to. People will still gladly pay full price up front for Dark Souls II, just as they do for new MMOs with subscriptions that wind up going free-to-play a few months or years down the line. And he does bring up good points as to why it would be a major headache to go free-to-play with the franchise. “Pay per death? That would be terrible.”

But, five to 10 years down the line, when Miyazoe has moved on to his next project and nobody from the original Dark Souls team is left to serve as caretakers of their beloved “child,” and the latest installment gets a bad Metacritic score, will some executive or producer figure that the only way to revive the franchise is to lure players in with promises of “free” and an exploitative cash shop? I wouldn’t bet against it.

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.


  1. So far reading trough all comments(yes i’m bored so i did check them all) i understand that you people are blind too the real problem well not all i seen some eye opening comments, but only few. Anyway problem is not the payment method its the way we see ourself as customers for example you turn on f2p game and you think well its free so quality can be bad story can be in text and graphics can be average, but when you turn on p2p you expect everything too be amazing new innovative because you spent cash and that makes sense up too a certain point. I seen many people mention f2p makes a lot of money, but how (their free). Well their not free and since developers expect you too spend money, they see you as potential customer so why are we treaded like trash when p2p or b2p players like customers(harsh word i know but its true) reason is simple cause we do not see ourself as customers more like passerby’s (well its free so I will try it), but then you like it and spend cash on it but your mind set is still the same just for now and if problem occurs you just leave (it was free anyway) even though you spent like 10$ on cash shop items, o yes nearly forgot you will first go too forum and complain about how devs and company are trash and their game ain’t worth time instead of making a well constructed post about the problem that makes other community members see that problem and request a fix like its done in p2p and b2p models making company see that these people spent money their customers we should listen or its the end of our game, instead they think o well the one crying will leave 5 more will take his place not a problem he spent cash anyway lets buy ourself’s new cars. But imagine if f2p comes out and every one loves it the company makes big mistake in cash shop or game mechanics and everyone in community go EY!!! thats not good we spent cash were customers you have no right too treat us that way and stop playing game all together instead of bickering whos right and wrong i think you can see improvement done in pretty much days or even hours. Same thing with new games stop spending cash on a game that looks like another game instead make a post anywhere or everywhere about it being totally bland i mean once or twice they will ignore it but if enough people says it enough times we get games with combat like Tera story like Secret world or SWOTR graphics like division and game play like Witcher the wild hunt.

    P.S sorry for long post and my English grammar i’m just plain bad at it 🙂

  2. It’s simple why these games die content and progression always reaches the point of no return unlike a stand alone game you can release new content for (expansions) the original game play is still there for People to play. all these MMOs and so on you leave them for 2 – 4 months and there is a drastic change, but that’s not the bad part its when a level 60+ shows up in front of you or another player same level as you knows what he/she is doing so the beginner experience is blow out of the water. Something like Dark Souls/Demon souls would be great as a f2P title as it is a very limited Co-OP/MMO.

    If it aint broke then dun fix it,

    “Im saying that for such examples like GunZ the Duel this was a game that yes was well pass its time but people would always return to it When Ijji had it was awsome with the sligh tweeks but over night MAITE or w.e said the game wasn’t how they wanted it as it was a mistake O,O the madness.

    In 1928, Scottish Scientist Sir Alexander Fleming was studying Staphylococcus – the bacteria that causes food poisoning. He turned up at work one day and discovered a blue-green mould that seemed to be inhibiting growth of the bacteria. He grew a pure culture of the mould and discovered that it was a Penicillium mould. After further experiments, Fleming was convinced that penicillin could not last long enough in the human body to kill pathogenic bacteria, and stopped studying it after 1931, but restarted some clinical trials in 1934 and continued to try to get someone to purify it until 1940. The development of penicillin for use as a medicine is attributed to the Australian Nobel Laureate Howard Walter Florey – he shared the Nobel Prize with Fleming and Ernst Boris Chain.”


    It is not everything that feels wrong is wrong.

    Also the F2P market is inflated just like the P2P market used to be like but this is not due to games being bad or dev teams not planning games properly this is due to to much of the same crap getting a change in there covers.

    I’m sorry For the rant

    Its Just All Of these people not only in the gaming sector but bushiness and movie everyone is scared to take a risk. the only people that take risk is Indi developers and Normal developers that have there pockets lined with money SEO (EverQuest Next) and this shit needs to change 🙂

    It’s also one of the things i like about F2P well when it first started It was a major risk but if you have 100 different same versions of one thing its not unique anymore and lets face it people its not fucking hard to come up with a new concept or way to play a game O,O.

    Mainstream developers will not listen to the public when it comes to them making money, but we are the ones buying the games and paying for the micro trans. Yes a lot of use talk shit and i will say i want a game where i have knifes as my feet but to totally not try and understand what i am saying is such failure to me the one out of millions that will spend money on the product you have made.

    Look at project Cyber yes 70% of the time doing what they want but you can go on the chat and suggest things that you will see in the game sooner or later and i mean in the aspect of 1 – 10 days. I made a joke in the room about the game being some super football space thing and they were like we could have that as the name. lol [I was like nooooooo]

    Anyway at the end of the day Doing something new is not always a bad thing Risk is not always a bad thing Falling down is not so bad as it is in human nature to get back the fuck up (Yes ik people lose there Jobs) but thats Management a whole different story !.

    Fuck it i studied game Dev in uni (Halfway lool) its not easy and i cant make the games i wanna because i have to work nor do i have the time to try and fund my self cuz nothing fair lol but as im saying this i am young and i will struggle but i will get there one day be that my games suck or not i will reach that point.

    Once again sorry for the Rant people >.< if you read all of this i feel sorry for u hahaha

    1) Innovation
    2) Risk
    4)Not Money hungry
    5)And a good management team Loooool

    These are the things we need. I say we cuz we all need a good fking game to play not a sad excuse we put up with. think old school and you will understand this whole Rant.

    (music is always innovative its an art is gaming ? )

  3. First WoW is not dying, it has 12 milion people, then tell me a free to play game that handles cross-realm and so many people on the server with a good and great ping, cool graphics, and an world where u have so much thing to do.

    So why would i play a game(i love pvp) that is f2p, but if its f2p it has cash shop, ofc and theres always an asian,or a rich boy/girl that spends 5000$ bucks to be better then me in all stuff! No matter how i farm,grind and all and lose my time losing my head

    That why i play WoW and it is still the big King, i pay monthly (15$) to play with my dedication, to be better than the others with my own effort? can you do thar with pay to win?sorry most f2p are pay to win, so f2p to me equals =p2w

    That Like Aeria Games, Trion(this one gives f2p guys the chance but it stil sucks), PerfectWorldEntertainment,NCSoft,Nexon and etc….

    So your argument is invalid! If anyone says

    A theres WildStar Coming, Blade and Soul… Thats p2p=subscription based

    So Biatch Please!

  4. Am i missing something about Dark Souls II. Last i checked it was a single player game that has an option to do coop for pvp. I wouldnt really put this game up with games like WOW or SWTOR because it isnt anything like them. Unless of course there is something i dont know about Dark Souls II in which case please tell me.

    • nope, i still got a wow sub. becouse i play it since vanilla beta and i got so many friends there so i cant leave it forever.

      For me b2p is the future. I see so many devs trying a p2p model and after 1 year they get rid of it and start a f2p with a strange item shop.

      Arena Net proves that an AAA+ Titel does not need a sub to stay. If ur game is good and ppl buy it u get enough money from the box sales to keep the servers running forever…..

  5. I can’t wait for dark souls 2. I still play the prepare to die edition and i can say without any doubt this is one of the best games of all time. It is good that this game got such strange and awesome devs behind it. And yes f2p destroys the most games. Because u get restrictions all the time. And if u want to play a f2p Titel without any restrictions u will end up pay way much than a normal subscription. And this is the main point why f2p models suxs. Look at guild wars 2 it got a nice buy to play without any game balance breaking restrictions. U can get all without spending any cash after u buy the game. This is the way to go for the future.

    All should agree that restrictions are a no go for mmorpgs.

  6. anyone who says x game is bad or good because of the payment model is bias. the payment model doesn’t make a game good or bad. either it is good, or it is bad.

    I prefer p2p because being nickel and dimed anytime I want a look or access to content pisses me off. I end up paying more to have the whole game than if I was to pay a sub. If the game gets old or I get busy I just don’t pay that month. the idea that you have to pay every month to play is a myth and preconceived notion of those who need a reason to oppose it.

    f2p games can be good. to date ive yet to play one more than a couple months though. the pay 5 dollars here, 10 dollars there bs inevitably irritates me and I move along. not to mention the bottom feeders that inhabit f2p games, which is probably the worst part about them. the whole entitlement crowd crying about what things cost in the item store non stop while playing a game for free get annoying and block lists are only so big. many f2p games just aren’t that good either. they were made as cheap as possible to be put out for free. this mixed with the welfare gamers don’t add up to success no matter how much you want it too.

    just my opinion. but apparently im not the only who feels this way since p2p seems to be making a comeback in new larger more anticipated mmos.

  7. The F2P model is something that, idk if I’m the only one, but for people who are “poor” or don’t feel like using money on games to play them for month “P2P”, I mean, TOP or Tales of Pirates, its still alive its old has everything and still has a huge community, and its F2P has item mall of course yet the game goes on, now the main problem with F2P at the current moment it’s just that every company trows out a shit game they probably wouldn’t even want to play to the market, advertise it like everything, and hope that they can suck some money from that poorly invested money on the development, check Maple Story, F2P still goes on, lost a bit of community thought 2011 to 2013 but still goes pumping, depending on the quality of the game, it survives has a F2P model or not.

  8. Its not true. The most f2p games are bad because they are either poorly made games or some old p2p. The poorly made games are jsutsome crap games no one would ever want to play. The other old p2p games which are now f2p are just some old games. No one wants to play some old ass game. They publisher already ruined it as p2p game and the players recognize this game as a bad game already when it becomes f2p. When it becomes f2p they add item shop and the pay2win starts. Nice it rather pay money every month than playing a f2p game which is pay2win.

    The reason why the most f2p games are going to fail is because they already failed as p2p. They are bad games and they fail really fast. The publisher tries to farm some cash with item shops before the games dies and jsut turns it into a f2p game. When they farmed enough cash they shut it down and start talking bullshit “Blah blah its not our fault.. blah blah it failed because its f2p blah blah”. There is a reason why no one wants to play your poor game. Pay2play or free2play it failed on both ways!

  9. i believe that f2p is better, because games like alliance of valiant arms, league of legends and path of exile prove me right

    the three of them are games of skill

    ive played leauge of legends just a little, because moba isnt the type of game i like
    ive played path of exile a bit more, because i love diablo 2, but there are small issues with path of exile that turned me off, but i will still say its a great game and i would recommend it to anyone

    as for alliance of valiant arms – ive been playing that thing since 2009 and i cant get enough of it, i remember when it was published by ijji, and then there was some outage and aeria games got it – ava is a game of skill and even if you buy the best weapons, it doesnt matter, ive never owned a made-up weapon with funny colors and stupid name and added stats and im still one of the best in the game room, i usually take 1st or 2nd place in public channels

  10. The problem with free to play games is that sometimes developers seam to think “It’s free so even if we make a sh***y game people will still play it and some might even like it enough to throw some bucks in our direction”. On the other end of the spectrum there are alot of P2P and B2P game developers and publishers who apparently convert their games to F2P model according to the notion that F2P players are all inherently dumb. Both concepts lead to quick failure and brutal untimely death of another game.

    But it has nothing to do with free to play model itself. To say that “Free-to-Play is where good game franchises go to die” is ridiculous. The whole article is provocative to the point of being insulting.

  11. The F2P format has always seemed to be in experimental stage to me, different games tried different approaches to it, some clearly had no idea WTF they were doing, some just tried to shamelessly squeeze as much money as possible before shutting down, which kinda sucks because in the long run is gonna end up hurting good games that actually tried to do things right.

    Can’t really blame anyone but the consumer, yes you can point the finger at the publishers and developers, but as long as You’re willing to give your money away, there will always be someone willing to take it,

    They can shit on they’re hand and call it a cupcake, we all know it’s a turd they’re holding on their hand, but there’s always gonna be that dumb ass percentage of people who are gonna eat it and say “that’s the best cupcake i ever had”. As long as people keep believing the same hype over and over, handing them money, buying founder packs before the game even starts Alpha testing, they’re gonna keep making shitty games.

    i kinda forgot what the point i trying to make was, so yea.

  12. Are we really going to talk about this again & again? This is what I have to say. I think all online games should be buy to play! That is the best option for a company & gamers alike. The game company makes money & players are happy. GW2 & The Secret World are good examples. I would pay 100 bucks for an awesome game if all content was free for ever & never drop another dime to play all of it’s content! & yes F2P games should have a cash shop for players that want to enjoy a game a bit better & a subscription as well for the hard core gamers. But the cash shop should not put over powerful items & gear in the shop. Every player should be able to gain that stuff one way or another in game. DDO is a good example of this I love the game but I never feel I would enjoy the full effect of the game as a F2P player. As far as STO totally awesome game as a F2P player & a P2P player! One of the best games out to date as far as I am concerned. DCU you really need a script to get the full effects of the game but the F2P aspect can be fun up to a point. Same for DDO.

  13. What does that Miyazoe know.. bah!

    “To me, that’s similar to movie sequels for a franchise that has stayed well past its prime and is just trying to capitalize on a name, rather than produce something of actual quality (Rocky, anyone?).”

    Exactly, Neverwinter mmo, Starwars mmo, two nice examples of that.

  14. Well even with eve half the people are playing that completely free. You just have a few that acually pay for it just so they can get more money in the game. Alot of times a f2p game just never got the advertisement out or rep when it release p2p. Look at Tera I never knew it released until I heard it was f2p. Again with DCUO only I know about that cause I played on the ps3 alot. But if you look at some of the greatest titles in the MMO world apart from the EQ clone (WoW). You never saw their advertisement when it could have been a huge sucess.

  15. free to play is fine as long as its not pay to win. theres nothing wrong with it until devs get greedy and sell gear, weapons and buffs.

    most mmos are garbage nowadays and shouldn’t even have a monthly fee. i get they have to keep servers up but they offer nothing a dozen other mmos on the market don’t have.

  16. This is in response to the post’s title: “Is Free-to-Play Where Good Game Franchises Go To Die?”

    There are countless examples of very successful free-to-play games. The most successful would be RuneScape – from 1999 and still going strong. It mostly depends on what the developers and publishers do to make it still achieve profit, yet having players that don’t pay… still have just as much fun.

    TL;DR: No.

    • This is true there are some remarkably successful and well deserving free to play games but what they are referring to is when a game converts to free to play and the track record for success in this area leaves a grim outlook. Another topic that was brought up on mmobomb was in regards to different types off mmos being better suited for different models. I think a big part of the problem with converting an mmo over is that when a game has been designed completely around a subscription model like that it is very hard for a developer to convert the game to a free model that will have any large amount of success. There are a couple exceptions(Aion is an example, it had a rather successful conversion, though it isn’t as big a deal now as it was when it first converted to most.)
      Seems that companies looking at the success of certain free titles assume they won’t have to put forth an effort. Taste differs but most of the free games that have been successful target a specific audience and innovate in some way to stand out. Maple Story is one that has also seen a lot of success, while it’s not my favorite game and I have no interest in it anymore it was the first side scrolling mmorpg that i can remember, and it took an art direction that appeals to a lot of gamers so it drew people in.
      The same can’t be said for a pay to play title that is already falling apart, How many of you are still eager to play a game that nobody was willing to pay a sub for just because it becomes free after seeing what comes from it?

      • I agree with you jellopy and think maybe it could have been titled better . I also agree on what you’re saying about conversion from p2p to f2p. I think when a game is designed around p2p and converted there’s going to be people mad on both sides. F2p players will be happy that there’s a new game for them to play and doesn’t cost anything, however, there will most likely be limits for people who have subscribed. Subscribers will feel ripped off that the games going f2p and they invested so much money into it, however will usually have added benefits for being a subscriber. F2p models are not at all bad and that’s not what they are saying they are just asking about games that started as p2p and convert only convert because they are a failing title. In most but not all cases I would say yes to an extent but also that I think certain companies have been a little arrogant and refused to see the advantages from a free to play market until it was too late. Then when they tried to convert they just get that initial spurt of new players followed by a massive drop because the conversion just made things worse.

        Like I said though not all conversions fail there have been some turn out good such as SWTOR , Tera, LOTRO, and not a fan but I’ve heard good things about Aion, or even TF2 that was B2P and went completely free!

        As for models designed around f2p when done right you get games like LoL, Runescape, Dota 2, Path of Exile, and Maplestory.

        • visit TF2 will surprise u 😛

          just to be clear, F2P model is as good as any other payment model, and going into or starting as, isnt as important as it should be, the things that make a good game arent related to that, usually whats related with a company moving its products business model into F2P, has more to do with marketing (wheather it is to save money or to get a good image on the community’s perception), than the game quality itself.

          ps. i keep hoping for DoD:S to come F2P, but unfortunetly, just like, they both fall short comparing to strategy variable.

  17. Well I’ve never seen a p2p that is doing well go f2p.Most p2p titles that go f2p are converted to f2p solely because the devs or publisher see f2p players tend to spend more then 15 bucks a month on cash shop makers see this and think “ooo we could make more money if we go f2p.”Take SW:TOR it had enough subscribers before it went f2p to cover cost and become profitable.

    But EA saw how much certain successful f2p were making and in traditional EA fashion they decided to go f2p.Are there some decent f2p games?Yes,but there are tons of crap ones.Plus most f2p players are just casuals that will barely play often so f2p is good for them.But those that will spend 120+ hrs on a mmo a month get a better value with p2p.

  18. Well I’ve never heard of a popular and successful b2p p2p game that alot of people play.

    only one i’ve ever heard of was WoW and even thats dying

      • More money is made with free to play just look at Nexon. They have enough money to buy out EA. Its just corporate greed. beside honestly. Most game that people pay $60 for, are garbage. There’s only about 2 maybe 3 or 4 if your lucky that are good B2P games. These major companies don’t go free to play because people will realize their games suck.

    • That has a lot to do with people’s perception of “value”. Many F2P players balk at the idea of $15 monthly fee, yet those same people will blow $15 or more at a restaurant for a single meal. Those same people will drop $15 or more going to see a movie at a theater that lasts 2 hours or less on average.

      It’s all about perception–and perception can be skewed by the people themselves. People will rationalize $15 going to another source such as a movie, meanwhile they will complain that $15 is too much for what amounts to (up to) 720 potential hours of game time a month, though for many it will likely be closer to 120-ish. Even then, $15 for 120 hours of game time is still a bargain. Many titles on consoles nowadays don’t even last 20 hours and rely solely on a weak multiplayer component.

      People will see what they want to see; F2P or otherwise.

      • You forgot to mention the $50-60 dollar initial fee most P2P titles have attached to them, I’ve never had a problem with B2P games, I bought GW1 + all expansions without ever regretting it, some regrets involved with buying GW2, however I’m free to go back and play those games whenever I want, as what I paid for is going to be there for me to use whenever I feel like it (not including some sort of shutdown in the future).

        P2P titles just don’t work that way, you spend 60 dollars for a box or a download – then another 15 dollars every month, then another 40-60 dollars everytime there’s an inevitable expansion. It works for some people, however I don’t like the idea of for all intents and purposes – paying money to rent entertainment.

        • I hear EVE Online is doing really well. Other than that, P2P MMO business models are going obsolete, and for good reason. Subscription P2P can be every bit as dirty as P2W because the games are designed to keep you on the hook and consume all of your free time. Unlike F2P, it’s harder to just walk away or play something else. It’s already claimed the social life of one of my cousins.

          • I must be the exception to the rule then. I play DCUO with a monthly fee and I’ve never felt pressured to spend all my free time on it. I get what I get out of it and it usually sums up to a still greater value than any title I’d have to go out and buy. Renting in many ways I prefer to F2P; yes, F2P may be easier to walk away from for most, but in my example I have everything included for my monthly fee. Nothing missing. The $15, if anything, is for peace of mind.

            I know I never fall behind, have access to everything and don’t need to drop any money outside of that for any cash shop crap. I realize my example is a needle in a haystack but just pointing it out. Truth be told $15 a month is still cheap, at least where I live. Hell in Ontario minimum wage is $10.25 an hour. An hour and a half’s work pays for my entertainment every month.

            Pay to play really isn’t all that bad.

      • Yeah, but when a person goes to a restaurant or movie theater they know what they are getting, and they know that the time that they are spending their money on is going to get used.

        I, and a lot of other people, don’t want to spend $15 a month for access to a game that I am not even sure on how much I will play that month. Some months I play my favorite MMO 100+ hours, and other months I won’t even log on. If I do that with a F2P game, there isn’t any loss, but if I do that with a P2P game, I am throwing $15 away some months.

    • wow only reason for dying is that its rlly expensive for new players to start up, since just to be able to access the full content theyd hav to buy the game plus every expansion that came out with it, especially those who start after a new expansion has already come out. they’ll be spending like 140-160-210 (ruff estimate if bought with battle chest and new expansion coming out 2014) the monthly fee is nthn compared to that, and u hav to buy the expansions just to be able to upgrade to the next u cnt just buy one be able to play up to that content

      so that can discourage new players from joining unless they wait for the christmas sales

      • Not true at all. Wow has had many deals to cut down the price. In fact if I am correct on this i was able to get the battle chest for $5 cataclysm for $15 and Mists for $30 when it was practically brand new.That came with the first month free and i had a level 90 in an easy 2 weeks playing after work (i work 50-55 hour weeks average). so $50 for a game that has 1000s of hours of content not bad at all.

        PS: I just looked at battlenet and you can get wow and all current expansions including mists for $15 and that includes first months game time.

      • Actually yes, it is. I remember only a couple months ago it was around 10 million. Although 7 million is quite a lot of players, it is still dying in terms of wow itself.


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