Lord of the Rings Online triples monthly revenue

Turbine reveals in podcast that change to free-to-play business model has proven fruitful; next expansion Rise of Isengard coming later this year.

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On September 10, Turbine swapped out the $15-a-month price model for its massively multiplayer online role-playing game Lord of the Rings Online in favor of a free-to-play model supported by in-game microtransactions. Now, the developer has revealed that the decision to do so has been a lucrative one.

The Fellowship continues to march forward following the business model swap.

During a recent Ten Ton Hammer Live podcast, Turbine's Adam Mersky and Kate Paiz revealed that Lord of the Rings Online is performing more successfully under the new business model. According to the developer, the J.R.R. Tolkien-inspired MMORPG has tripled its revenue since venturing to the free-to-play sector.

Lord of the Rings Online is set to grow even further this year when its latest expansion, Rise of Isengard, is released. It follows the Mines of Moria and Siege of Mirkwood expansions, which debuted in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

The content will be available exclusively for purchase through the Lord of the Rings Online virtual marketplace. However, its price has not been announced by developer/publisher Turbine or copublisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

The Rise of Isengard expansion will contain three zones: Dunland, the Gap of Rohan, and the famed Isengard, complete with Orthanc, the iconic tower where the traitorous Saruman dwells. Journeying through these zones, players can work toward the new level cap of 70.

For more on Lord of the Rings Online, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Discussion

49 comments
pattixaris
pattixaris

pve in this game is amazing, especially if you liked the movies or the books but pvp suffers at least on europe servers, if they manage to fix that it will attract many more people

candybar_65
candybar_65

This game is amazing and f2p was an amazing switch. This game is an amazing value, if you play for a year you can build up enough turbine points in the online store to purchase every expansion and not pay a single dime. I bought this a year after it came out and i tell you, it was one of the top 3 mmo's available then(wow, city of hero, in my opinion) and the switch to f2p definitely shot it up to #1 for me. i mean why pay $15 a month for less value than i can get for free, this is my sole mmo nowadays and will remain so for quite a while

artax33
artax33

I started playing right before f2p with a month free by buying a cheap copy of the game. In the past 5 months i most likely have spent more then $75 but i am pretty much done buying stuff. The only thing i don't have the subscribers have is rest xp, no big loss. If you work the deeds(achievements) you can buy most of the quest packs. If you spend the price of an avg. game you can pretty much have everything and then you are done, and you have a really long game to play.

KamuiFei
KamuiFei

@terminus I never said they shouldn't stop their current business models. All I'm saying is applying f2p in MMOs and charging for expansions/ extensions in their games is a good business model, and other companies should apply it responsibly. It apparently works. And btw sc2 and Diablo aren't MMOs, not sure why you mentioned those types of games on a topic about MMOs :/

TheToadster
TheToadster

Good to see. I've been playing this game on and off since shortly after launch. I have a lifetime subscription and don't regret it one bit. The F2P model has increased the population in game substantially. $15 a month is a rip off for a game, I typically buy my games for $20 so why would I shell out $15 just to play one for another month? WoW was fun for a while but then it came to the point where I felt I had to play it constantly to get my money's worth. I like casually playing about two dozen games instead. People in America need to understand that across the world many other nations don't have the same amount of expendable income. This model opens the doors for those people to enjoy a top notch MMO.

Jedi_Dad
Jedi_Dad

I don't play game consistently enough to pay $10-$15 every month, even if I had that kind of money. If more of these MMO's go F2P, I might start seeing what they are all about, especially, SW: The Old Republic. Still pisses me off that it is not single player, but if it were free....I might forgive.

terminus
terminus

@KamuiFei Posted Jan 7, 2011 9:46 am PT This is why games like Guild Wars was so successful. Buy the game with free online and charge for expansions. Good to see other companies taking notes. Blizzard and Square-Enix should follow this practice. Why should, or would, Bllizzard follow that practice? Is Blizzard unsuccessful, is wow, sc2, d3 franchise failures, did blizz go bankrupt? No, Blizzard is the most successful mmo/rts/whatever they make company, and they make mega money monthly, so why would they dump that, lol.

Darth_Pietrus
Darth_Pietrus

I started playing this when it went F2P and I can say its bloody brilliant! And NO, to everyone who says F2P is scam or whatnot. This is still a huge game with tons and tons of stuff to do and a whole quest pack (if u want even more) costs like 5 bucks. And u buy a quest pack like once every 5 months or something, depending how much u play, which is ofcourse much cheaper than paying 15 a month. So seriously, SHUT UP! (Egoraptor reference :p)

Mariner32
Mariner32

Somehow I wouldn't have thought going F2P would actually increase revenue. More power to then, though.

BILLNYE6983
BILLNYE6983

@Lockedge You shouldn't post about things are you admittedly ignorant about. As for wow the expansions aren't expensive at all $40 is cheaper than most console games by $20. The expansions don't even come out for usually 2 years so I'm not sure what you are talking about every year. Not to mention patch content is free. For example. Anyone with a basic 1-60 world of warcraft account got the entire revamped 1-60 of cataclysm. The other expansions are only required for 60-85 and any content associated with those levels. Either way there is enough content in wow to last you from expansion to expansion. I hardly play other games. Just so much to do in wow.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Glad to see its doing well

Yams1980
Yams1980

f2p is a pretty good money maker... most of these games clean up very well by selling stuff that gives players instant advantage... but it makes it less fun to play unless you can burn through money like everyone else

sony_is_my_idol
sony_is_my_idol

screw this game i got a lvl 35 wont let me sign in anymore ive been trying for 2 days it keeps saying that i dont have a active subscription!!!!! theres no support for f2p

robfield
robfield

@Ronnie_Rim Then you'll have access to everything except other people to play with. $15 a month is too much to ask for any game not comparable to World of Warcraft. You don't even have to play MMOs to realize that.

Ronnie_Rim
Ronnie_Rim

I'd rather have access to everything for 15 dollars a month then half the stuff for free.

Mr_BillGates
Mr_BillGates

F2p is always infested with spam bots and other crap. No thank you.

duderdave
duderdave

They didn't add that they are marketing the in-game store and daily/weekly specials out the wazoo. Some of the offers are just too tempting, and discounted, for many to pass them up. And that's not even mentioning the fact that they finally got time to return the lotteries to the game. The lotteries alone are a solid driving force giving players free stuff to help them in their game, and make them happy. And we all know that happy customers are more inclined to spend than unhappy ones. So, kudos to Turbine, and let's hope that extra cash helps to fuel new and even better quality expansions and content. I have been very impressed with a lot of the positive changes in the game so far, so let's hope this encourages them even more as the story strolls ever so diligently to Mordor... :)

sony_is_my_idol
sony_is_my_idol

japanase goth to answer your question those who got lifetime sub dont need to pay for the new expansion they get access to everything and they get like 500 turbine points (5) every month and you can earn money by playing the game.i really like this game but too bad it wont let me sign it @$&*)($&*(

sony_is_my_idol
sony_is_my_idol

f this game i was starting to enjoy it now i cant log it becuase it keep saying this account does not have an active sub? i thought this #$* was free!!

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

@jedicommand7 You buy quest packs for the higher level zones that allow you to level alot faster and then then expansion packs on top but they come with full quests but this is what a friend told me I havnt played since it had a subscription fee

foxrock66
foxrock66

Ta-da. Proof that free-to-play MMOs work. Take heed Star Wars The Old Republic

jedicommand7
jedicommand7

I haven't played an MMORPG before, so I have a dumb question: what do you get with the microtransactions? Obviously you pay real money for something in game, but what are you paying for and is that the only way to get it?

Lockedge
Lockedge

@Rogue81 I can understand your point. The fact remains that monthly fees aren't the only thing that consumers have to deal with in most MMORPGs. Look at WOW, which releases expansion packs costing a ludicrous amount of money for content that should, by all logic, be included through the regular monthly fees. $15/month and $50 per year for the monthly fee bit is $230 a year. In Microtransaction MMORPGs, while I don't personally have experience playing them, my friend who plays LotRO has maybe spent $100 in the past year, if that. Maybe if the monthly fee MMOs ditched the costly expansion pack route and did what the devs in Lineage 2 do (release large patches with new areas, races, skills, etc. for free), maybe people would see it in a better light.

japanesegoth
japanesegoth

i was kinda confused on how buying content for this game would work. i've heard that you can earn points in teh game and pretty much unlock everything (or most things) if you play enough... and will the people who paid the $200 ( i think) at the beginning for the lifetime subscription have access to everything aside from expansions?

rogue81
rogue81

I don't understand why people are still complaining about monthly fees. It seems people would rather pay more in micro transactions than pay a monthly fee and get everything included in the cost. People think "ok, I just pay two bucks here, three bucks there and I'll get what I paid for right away". People see the money change hands and it gives them instant gratification and a sense of ownership. However, they don't seem to realize that it all adds up. Before you say "I'd rather have the option to pay when I want to", why don't you ask some LoTR players how that worked out for them. Turbine made the game free to play. They took away the monthly cost to play the game, and Turbine tripled their monthly income. If you buy three brand new games at 60 bucks a pop, after tax you're paying more than a years worth of subscription time. If you're saying "I'd rather have those three new games because I'd enjoy them more than some dumb mmo anyway" then why do you care? $15 bucks is lunch at a nice restaurant. It's the price of a non-matinee movie. If fifteen bucks is the difference between making it through the month and starving to death, the I think an mmo is the least of your worries and you should sort out your priorities.

bltizkrieg
bltizkrieg

Free to play is lame because its not really free..you have to still pay if you want to quest new eras of the map or reach certain level..its not free at all its all a scam...

GabrielOnuris
GabrielOnuris

F2P more lucrative than P2P? It's called good administration; now, there are a lot of publishers that could read this article......

Barighm
Barighm

Glad to hear the new business model is working. MMORPG's are already incredibly demanding without the monthly fee, so it's nice to have a solid argument against the fee. It's hard to jump in and play the game at your own pace, or well after you bought it, with the fee.

st8cash
st8cash

good this is how it should be

kenmanius
kenmanius

Maybe if all the wannabe wow mmos charged $10 or $8 a month more people would continue to play or even start playing. $15 a month is of no value whatsoever. I don't care if there are little patches that add a little more junk, fix things that could have been done better in the first place, and "balance" things out more.

Lucius_Scipio
Lucius_Scipio

I just started playing this game and its been a very pleasasnt surprise. Very good MMO if you can live without the PVP as @sircyrus said below.

Lazay727
Lazay727

There is a monthly fee if you want to play the expansions. Nobody is realizing this.

ionusX
ionusX

gratz to you folks.. turbine.. way to bury the blade in f2p mmo's.. give em what for like mel gibson did the English in braveheart :P at this rate you could easily be THE BEST F2P MMO OF ALL TIME

sircyrus
sircyrus

Glad to hear they're getting some more success with LOTR. While I don't play it and haven't for years, it actually was a pretty good quality title when it came out. It just had the misfortune of launching too close to WoW, and with no PvP (which was a big turn-off to many players).

BlackForestHam
BlackForestHam

Nice. It just goes to show that it's possible for both developers and gamers to win here. Free for most people and developers get more money. It's a crazy world but im lovin' it :)

armouredpriest
armouredpriest

Turbine's already had similar success with Dungeons & Dragons Online, so I'm not surprised that LotR is doing similarly well.

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

Good to know that a non-WoW mmo is still doing well

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

@LeviHarris It is a silly argument isn't it? 15 bucks a month. You buy ONE video game that lasts you 15 hours and you dropped 60 bucks! That's four months right there! My only guess is it's just a few people griping and they're most likely too young to work. Cuz clearly it doesn't bother A LOT of people if you read the last numbers they rake in!

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

@Raiden_Kitsune Shoot, and don't forget popcorn and drinks, both unavoidable purchases when on a date, but even if you're with friends and you get a small drink and small pop it totals to like 25 or 30 for the ticket and concession.

Raiden_Kitsune
Raiden_Kitsune

Nearly $15 for a two hour movie...often more these days with half of them in 3D...or $15 for a month of gaming. Yeah, I'll stick to WoW and happily pay the subscription fee.

params7
params7

LoTRO is not truly free. You have to grind like crazy if you want to unlock areas and features otherwise you'll be paying for new areas.

LeviHarris
LeviHarris

While I couldn't care one way or another, people griping over $15 a month should probably spend less time playing video games and more time working. That's two hours of work, out of a potential 160 work hours a month. Even in this economy, the federal minimum wage is still $7.25 and up to $8.67 in Washington. Stop blaming the economy because you're lazy.

Lisandro_v22
Lisandro_v22

Microtransactions have their ups and downs. Once I can play for free I feel stupid paying for game stuff but on the other side you have to pay for the good stuff, so it's kinda frustrating.

KamuiFei
KamuiFei

This is why games like Guild Wars was so successful. Buy the game with free online and charge for expansions. Good to see other companies taking notes. Blizzard and Square-Enix should follow this practice.

swamptick
swamptick

It's still a mere shadow of WoW. Build a great product and people will GLADLY pay for it.

blackace
blackace

I wish everyone developer who makes MMORPG would offer this option. $15 a month is to much to play a MMORPG, especially with this economy.