Well, this is a little surprising. Funcom just issued its financial report for Q4 2016, which included a look forward to 2017. While much of the focus is understandably on the recently early access-ed (don’t call it a launch!) Conan Exiles, there’s also an interesting bit of news regarding The Secret World — and plans for it to incorporate a free-to-play option.
On page 2 of the financial report, there’s the following declaration:
The Secret World will be relaunched during the first half of 2017, with several major changes to increase user acquisition and retention. The business model will also be changed with the story content to be made free.
While on page 7, the first item under “The Way Ahead” header is:
The Secret World will be relaunched during the first half of 2017. The goal of the relaunch is to broaden the appeal of the game through:
Redesigned new player experience. Major improvements to gameplay including combat. Introduction of new retention systems such as daily rewards. Adjustments to the business model, including allowing access to the story content for free.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing else in the financial report or its accompanying shiny presentation, which simply repeats the information on page 7. Does “story content” means just the main quest, since every quest in TSW has story elements to it? Or is it a little broader and include all questing, but not things like dungeons and PvP?
Hopefully, Funcom will be more forthcoming about just what “free story content” will be included in the near future. The relaunch is going to start in late March; by the wording in the reports, we’d guess it’ll be in phases, rather than all at once. There’s also info on Funcom’s other upcoming projects, including yet another Conan-based game and a new project “in the early concepting stage.” Take a look at the Investors Relations page for all the details.
UPDATE, 2/28: We contacted Funcom to see if we could learn anything more about TSW’s F2P option, but the company’s representative said that there was no more they could tell us at this time.