Age of Conan doubles revenue since going F2P

Funcom's fantasy MMORPG sees registrations surge by 300,000 since it relaunched as Unchained in May.

In May, Funcom announced that it would be relaunching 2008's well-received fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures under a new name--Age of Conan: Unchained--and a new business model: free-to-play.

Unchained has been bloody successful for Funcom.

The move has paid quick dividends, as Funcom today announced that since shifting from a subscription-only model to free-to-play, Age of Conan: Unchained has attracted 300,000 new players and has seen its total revenue surge to double the level it stood at before. Unchained has free and premium gamers playing alongside one another, with free users able to purchase items in the new in-game store.

Additionally, Unchained will expand later this year with the launch of new content tied to the upcoming Conan the Barbarian movie, which hits theaters on August 18. The new add-on is called Savage Coast of Turan and introduces new world areas, as well as monsters, characters, and player equipment.

Age of Conan isn't the first MMORPG to make a successful switch to free-to-play. In January, Turbine announced that Lord of the Rings Online had tripled its revenue since adopting the new business model.

For more on the title, check out GameSpot's review of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, as well as GameSpot's review of the Rise of the Godslayer add-on.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

43 comments
XanderZane
XanderZane

@ah20s @XanderZane but the problem I see with the f2p model is you end up paying more than the monthly fee for items, weapons, etc. but if scaled down to where you don't that would be different but for the most part people pay out the watooski for these things and it ends up being even more than what a monthly fee would be plus they are given the upper hand to those that can't afford. I agree though it should be based on purchases for the expansions maybe or to unlock more areas. I'm sure that could be worked out being affordable in that concept but as far as I know they aren't and that's why they are making so much more profit/revenue and that being the whole things turns me away from it cause it seems unfair in advantage to those that can afford to spend a bunch of money to get farther ********************************************************** The thing I like about the F2P model is you don't have to buy all that content if you don't want to. Most of it can be found in the game anyways. You just have to work harder to get it. I doubt I would spend more then $15 a month on DLC. If the game can't be fun without all the DLC, then I would just quit the game. The subscription model can work, but they need to lower the price. Paying $180 a year is no longer an option for my wallet. $50 a year or less will work for me.

ah20s
ah20s

@oopomop ah makes more sense. Just haven't really gotten involved with a game of this nature so pardon my ignorance. Yes that would make more sense to me then if you pay the monthly fee you get access to all things instead of paying little by little for things in the game with a free subscription. I personally would go the subscription route as I feel paying for little things could add up even more granted it has both choices.

ah20s
ah20s

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ah20s
ah20s

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

The question is how long will that revenue be sustained? Certainly, Turbine seems to have done well with F2P, but there have been other games that made the transition or were even F2P to begin with that still ended up failing. Its a start, but lets see how its doing in a year. And I, for one, like how Paragon Studios is planning to handle City of Heroes transition to a hybrid model - choose between free with microtransaction store or a VIP subscription that has a great number of perks (including a stipend for the store, ala Turbine). I'll have to agree its a compelling revenue model for the current economy; folks can play (and pay) up to however committed they feel to the game, although paying customers will always get more than people only playing for free.

Zloth2
Zloth2

"Free to play" - I really hate that term. It's not free to play, it's a la carte. F2P is yet another bogus advertising term.

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

I've been playing the game since it went F2P and it's been a blast. But, I know that once I hit the level cap and want to do endgame content, I will have to subscribe. The F2P model is (in my opinion) complete rubbish and a rip-off if you want to be serious with the game. For casuals the F2P model works and is a great tool for attracting potential paying customers.

BUNTARG
BUNTARG

I think this is fantastic, it gives me the chance to play multiple great MMO's without having to pay for a bunch of different subscriptions. So then if i do get into the game i could then buy content, but if im not feeling it i can simply put it down and not feel compelled to continue play it until the end of the month.

June-GS
June-GS

Ohh snap! And it's only been a couple of months or so. If other big-budget MMO's weren't considerin the F2P business model before, they sure as hell are now.

OldKye
OldKye

@simon1812 it is a smart business strategy unless people are willing to pay both for subscription AND added content and action figures and collector card game and giant conventions dedicated to a online game with tickets going in excess off $400 and giant replica weapons of ones in game. A game that has millions of players world wide unfortunately it will be a long time before WoW is F2P.

killlo
killlo

Did they finally fix the DX10 on it?

simon1812
simon1812

smarts business strategy, hope the guys of WoW and SWtOR take note on this.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

Oops. I didn't know it went F2P...time to go play!

PhilRiker
PhilRiker

Love this game been playing since launch. The Godslayer expac rep grind, slow alternate advancement and lack of tier 4 killed AoC for alot of people but I can't quit. The combat and art style are unmatched in mmos - the tier 1-3 raids are really good and the godslayer 6 mans are great too. Really glad this game is getting some attention - good on Funcom for making it Free2play.

floydshayvious
floydshayvious

All *aging* MMOs should at least consider a F2P model, IMO but out of the ones I have tried LOTRO has the most content for a free player, and PotbS as well.

northArrow
northArrow

Once it's free it's finally worth it

smoman5000
smoman5000

Its been fun so far. The f2p business model is gaining speed.

OldKye
OldKye

@nurnberg it's free as long as you don't care if you have worse gear than everyone else lower exp... the list goes on what they are doing is rather than sell you a cool toy they give you a cool toy(who would say no?) and of those 300,000 people who got that new toy and really like it at least half here or there are willing to lets say pay $5 for a cool sword for that new toy(less than $15 right?) couple days later they can get it a horse only $10 no worse off than if i had payed $15 for that other game and thus some people rationalize into paying more than $15 a month a person who is addicted paying $150 a month is worth ten people and he wouldn't have started had it not been free its the monopolist model make everyone pay what they are willing to pay and you maximize profits like airlines or cruse ships if you want to fly a specific day want a window seat exe... you pay a lot but someone willing to hop on any plane that has a free spot and doesn't care where or when it goes pays almost nothing

valcrist09
valcrist09

well of course it does, F2p actually costs more then 15$ a month its a total marketing ploy and people fall for it. F2P is great to play casual but if you want the full benefits you need to pay either monthly or buy into there packages and that easily adds to more then 15$ if you are carefull. There is a reason a game nearly bankrupt and shutdown to making profit.. Obviously there is bs behind it. People wont pay a cheap 15$ a month but will spend 20-30$+ for fake gold, exp boost, items etc..

killeridis
killeridis

I been playing aoc for a year now i recommend giving it a try it's a fantastic game.

FoeCrusher
FoeCrusher

Well good for AOC. I am hooked on DDO ATM but maybe I will go back and check on my toons there.

Darkmoone1
Darkmoone1

Yeah, I just started playing this game. Its amazing!

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

@Land-0-Funk Nice! And what is best in life? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

Land-0-Funk
Land-0-Funk

@Rottenwood ..don't worry I'll do one "..but Crom is your God, and he lives in the Earth." :)

Gamerfan2011
Gamerfan2011

looks really cool but stuck on DCUO too much fun in that. Going to be even more better with megaservers.

archlvt
archlvt

Only double? LOTRO tripled its revenue.

ziproy
ziproy

I loved this header; "Conan has doubled revenue after becoming free"

nurnberg
nurnberg

I don't understand why it's called free-to-play, when it's clearly not.

greendude123
greendude123

@rehtycs29 What strat? go F2P? i would hope WoW never goes F2P, P2P games in general have much better content than most F2P games. As for age of conan, im glad its doing well, i might end up resubing for a month or so till swtor comes out. Downloaded the f2p, but i can only play 2 of my old toons >.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

I wish there were more old people here like me so I could drop some Conan quotes. Anyhow, good to hear that the model worked for them; Lord knows WOW needs some competition.

deathstream
deathstream

I said before this game launched that the subscription model for MMOs was dying. I was thumbed out of the building. Now almost every game that I said should not have gone the subscription route has gone F2P.

Triton
Triton

F2P is the future. Let folks pay for extra items if they want or do not want. I disagree with the ah20s, getting the upper hand for those that can afford it. Being free will let the folks that do not have jobs play it all day long, and those of who have jobs and work all day can catch up to them later with the extras. I do agree with him, I have spent way to much money on Lotro.... lol

oopomop
oopomop

@ah20s Well the P2P F2P games I've played all have the same basic style as p2p. Such as LotR, you can pay the monthly fee for all content. (Assuming you register the exansions) I assume it's the same with AoC.

ah20s
ah20s

@XanderZane but the problem I see with the f2p model is you end up paying more than the monthly fee for items, weapons, etc. but if scaled down to where you don't that would be different but for the most part people pay out the watooski for these things and it ends up being even more than what a monthly fee would be plus they are given the upper hand to those that can't afford. I agree though it should be based on purchases for the expansions maybe or to unlock more areas. I'm sure that could be worked out being affordable in that concept but as far as I know they aren't and that's why they are making so much more profit/revenue and that being the whole things turns me away from it cause it seems unfair in advantage to those that can afford to spend a bunch of money to get farther.

ah20s
ah20s

@XanderZane but the problem I see with the f2p model is you end up paying more than the monthly fee for items, weapons, etc. but if scaled down to where you don't that would be different but for the most part people pay out the watooski for these things and it ends up being even more than what a monthly fee would be plus they are given the upper hand to those that can't afford. I agree though it should be based on purchases for the expansions maybe or to unlock more areas. I'm sure that could be worked out being affordable in that concept but as far as I know they aren't and that's why they are making so much more profit/revenue and that being the whole things turns me away from it cause it seems unfair in advantage to those that can afford to spend a bunch of money to get farther.

rehtycs29
rehtycs29

hopefully WoW can adopt this strat

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

i used to play it during retail, cause i wanted to support funcom. but i quit because it was so unfinished. now i saw some months ago that it was f2p. so i started again. but lo and behold, i get crashes during the game load. so i cant even play :(

XanderZane
XanderZane

All of them should be FREE-to -play models. I no longer have the desire to pay $15 a month to play a MMORPG games. I could handle $50 a year, but anything more then that is ridiculous. I understand it costs money to make new content, which is fine. Charge gamers $5-$15 for the new content and let them decide if they want it or not.