Carbine Games, the makers of the MMO WildStar, announced today that the game will be going free to play this Fall. The game has struggled to gain subscribers, and keep them, since its launch in 2014. PC Gamer cited revenues lower than £30 million (lower than $45.89 million) for the game last year, which may help explain the transition to free to play.
The entire game will be free come this Autumn, and there will be in-game reward packages for loyalty and for those who subscribe between now and the conversion will also be available. Additional currencies will be added (with the option to either devote time to grind them or spend real money), as well as a loyalty store with its own currency for those who maintain an optional monthly membership.
This membership will also have item, crafting, and bonus XP rewards. Another, separate in-game store will also have cosmetic and convenience items.
In order to make the game a better experience for players joining when the game becomes free to play, Carbine Games also plans to simplify player and item stats, and unlock all the slots in the Amp system. The difficulty of dungeons and open world content is likely to be reduced and the game’s tutorial is to be improved.
With this in mind, thoughts of other MMOs, such as World of Warcraft, going free to play. This business model is certainly rumored to be coming eventually for the subscription based game, as it already offers an in-game store and the game is free to play up to level 20 (although this offers little of actual game content). Similarly, though players are required to buy the base game, no subscription is needed for The Elder Scrolls Online, and Final Fantasy XIV currently offers free trials.
Why has WoW been so successful as a subscription based game, and not WildStar? World of Warcraft’s subscription numbers have been dwindling since the days of Wrath of the Lich King, however. Only time will tell when, and if, other companies will decide to take on a similar business model for their MMOs.