New Funcom CEO says The Secret World is now profitable

Funcom CEO discusses the MMO market and the possibility of The Secret World going free-to-play.

Funcom CEO Ole Shereiner recently spoke up on the MMO market and its shift in focus from the traditional subscription model to free-to-play. In an interview with GamesIndustry International, the newly appointed CEO said that The Secret World MMO is "now a profitable operation," after the recent re-structuring of internal teams.

The Secret World is now a "profitable operation," says CEO Ole Shereiner.

When asked about the game's current subscription model, Shereiner revealed that Funcom has the tools to turn The Secret World into a free-to-play game or a hybrid.

"I believe there is a market for free-to-play, subscription and hybrid business models. What's most viable for your project depends on what sort of game you're trying to make," he said.

Shereiner said that despite efforts to keep options open during the game's development, decisions on The Secret World were eventually made based on the subscription model it was launched with.

"If we had designed The Secret World as a free-to-play offering, we would have made some different decisions along the way," Shereiner said.

The Secret World received mixed reviews after its July release. Former Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas stepped down from his position for a different role in the company on the eve of the game's launch.

Written By

Zorine “harli” Te is a long time competitive gamer and also an Associate Editor at GameSpot.

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Discussion

51 comments
hellaspit
hellaspit

whatever u say doesnt mean its gonna change the fact that if TSW goes F2P its a goner.its free to pay actually.funcom has amazing ideas for games makin them extremely unique.and in the end the destroy them with their own hands.like age of conan..i loved it to death but they didnt care about this game.many ppl asked for a balance patch patch but nooo funcom doesnt need to listen to us and now its a free to pay game.R.I.P AOC now its your turn TSW.funcom can destroy you to as fast!

 

popki
popki

You know it's a slow Thursday in gaming news when an interview from Monday gets a headline

vishisluv7
vishisluv7

I would have stuck with TSW past the two weeks it took me to finish all the quests, and the extra weeks or so I stuck around repeating the 15 or so quests in the last three zones of the game...if Funcom didn't do a "TOR" and have the story and fun come to a dead stop at cap. The game turns into yet another dungeon grind on lockout at cap. F2P games already offer that.

Funcom should have extended the leveling game play at cap rather than another dungeon mill clone *yawn*

nurnberg
nurnberg

F2P : go-to mode when your game is a failure, so you can still make money by nickel-and-diming uneducated people.

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

The Secret World has boring combat. The world is beautiful and the stories excellent, but boring combat brings the game down.

 

If you took Tera's combat system and gave it to The Secret World, it would have been the best-selling MMO is years.

strayfies
strayfies

I got dragged into that game by friends, it was utter trash.  Here's how you make it profitable, Funcom: make a working auction house, and make the game not as horrible as it is, and substitute all the horrible for fun.  Way too little, a little too late.

shrapnel-grant
shrapnel-grant

Combat in TSW, you dont like the actions/amination, there is hundreds of skills to unlock and choose from, you dont like the movement of an attack or what ever. its simple u change it. there are sooo many to choose from. this game you create your own class anyway you want, you choose ur skills and passives. great setting great content and the 2 content updates so far are excellent. its only going to get better

 

and yes i like this game :D

Undietaker
Undietaker

Funcom sacked Kintaii, they can f-off and die!

FakeKisser
FakeKisser

I assume this means that it's going to make money going forward, not that it has made back all the development expenses. It doesn't seem like they could do the latter so easily, given that the game hasn't brought in a lot of money, yet.

Evilnator
Evilnator

Well that's a little bit of good news... But come on guys, start working on Dreamfall Chapters already!

grnionio
grnionio

If there is a MMO which has to go F2P and doesn't deserves a subscription, it's TERA. I'm not saying it's a bad game, I bought it and played it, but its content doesn't have that kind of value for a sub model. It would be a great F2P though.

 

Now, The Secret World is a great game, an amazing one. I'm not getting very easily excited for MMOs, but TSW is something I'm paying for a monthly sub and i believe i get what i want. Unlike GW2, which i also own, it has a sense of purpose and you're personally getting involved thanks to the great storyline, the amazing voice acting and the various types of quests which i love. Funcom even made some real websites for the investigative mission which you can visit from the build-in browser to find information, clues and progress through the quest. It's amazing.

 

The Secret World, sadly, is one of the most underestimated MMOs ever. I believe it's a very mature game and not for everyone; and possibly that's why there is not such response.

 

Now excuse me, I have to go and flirt with Miss Kirsten ;D

TrueGB
TrueGB

Well, the enemy designs are cool.

badboy
badboy

That's a good thing

UndertheArchway
UndertheArchway

Bit of a false story. Funcom have balanced their books by reducing costs not necessarily by increasing income. One has to wonder who will sign up to any new subscription based MMO anymore on launch.

Rackjaw
Rackjaw

Couldn't get past the animations. Cool concept though.

SolidTy
SolidTy

Going free to Play? If I have the time, I may check it out, so many great games these days!

FiveStarHacker
FiveStarHacker

So much hate... TSW did what it set out to do, and that's stand out from other MMO's. I'm sick of the same high-fantasy RPG's and the classes therein. TSW is a good game in it's own right like GW2 is, or SW:TOR. I play all of them. In my opinion, TSW has the best story of them all. The combat IS different, and despite what people say, I think it's a refreshing take on fighting otherwise it would've been just like any other game. The game's fine. It still has a strong player base, and I know I'll be playing for a good while. I enjoy building my decks, I enjoy the lore. At the same time I'll keep playing my other MMO's as well. 

Alygator
Alygator

TSW going F2P? What about AO, cant it go F2P ffs? I wanna play AO! And i dont want to play 17euro a month to do it!!

suplax
suplax

TSW ... so much expectation , a total letdowns.

After Guild Wars 2 release TSW just got buried. 

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

don't care if it f2p the combat is just boring plain and simple. Your guy just feel weigh down like he has cement shoes on. Pfftt.

IAMTYLERDURDEN
IAMTYLERDURDEN

The beta was fun but I just refuse to pay 59.99 for a subscription mmo when I know it will be f2p in a few months.

BigFeef
BigFeef

Secret World's a great game; it's only failing: people aren't willing to give it a chance. It's a game built to be different in a time when people are crying that they want something different; but instead; they prefer the same drivel. Most of the complaint I see about the game are from people who haven't played the game; or from people who have tried the game, but haven't really played it.

gargungulunk
gargungulunk

I'd be playing this game; open to considerable charges, if the 3gig download/install (after getting the disc, too) didn't kill my internet with timeouts and stalls.  I saw it coming, but here I am, just sharing some 2-cents...this game would've been stellar as a single-player disc game.  I sorta hope they move on.

vishisluv7
vishisluv7

I find it hard to believe the game is profitable. Their window has passed anyway, stop trying to ease into the f2p we all knew was coming and get to it...if there are enough people still.

stailcookie
stailcookie

They made a game for teens and middle aged weirdos in the age of casual app gameplay.  They are lying if they say they have made a dime of profit and considering how few copies have been sold even 2 months of subs from every copy wouldn't cover dev costs.

Alygator
Alygator

 @Bozanimal "If you took Tera's combat system and gave it to The Secret World, it would have been the best-selling MMO is years." Asian game player, for your information this is not a shitty asian game. Live with it. Besides the game is still new, it has time to improve.

Khasym
Khasym

 @strayfies I gotta defend Strayfies here. Funcom's released three mmo's: Anarchy Online, which had a bad skill system of character development, and graphics that were three years behind even when it was released. Age of Conan, with a bad combat system, and was released in a glut of fantasy world MMO's. And lastly, The Secret World. which had a bad combat system, and a bad development system for long term characters. Funcom is NOT inexperienced in MMO's. They just don't make good ones.

Alygator
Alygator

 @strayfies "Make a game that's not a horrible as it is" You are clearly a WoW 13 yr old player. This game is for a more mature minded player base. You clearly have more growing up to do and you can start by not trolling other games, just because its not eye candy for you doesnt mean its not for everyone else.

unreal_master
unreal_master

 @strayfies Just because "YOU" didn't like it or think its horrible doesn't make it so, it is far from horrible.

Avrose
Avrose

@suplax Differant audience, different age target if the esrb/pegi rating wasn't a clue. Gw has a larger target demographic. Just because it's a bit niche doesn't mean it's less a game. EvE has less people then most and it's going steady.

jakerscythe
jakerscythe

 @BigFeef "Different" doesn't automatically mean that the game is any good. There are some great design ideas in TSW, sadly gameplay isn't one of them. Combat is boring and sluggish, and is the meat and bones of the game (like any other MMO, I might add).

 

Anyway, it's hardly good news that Funcom has reduced the teams running and developing the game so much that it now can manage a profit from subscriptions. This just means that bug fixes and new content will come out so slowly that people will leave the game quicker, and there goes that profit.

gargungulunk
gargungulunk

 @stailcookie don't forget the price of bread and eggs in Switzerland!  (just playing the M.A<W role)

surrealme
surrealme

 @stailcookie I guess I must be a middle aged weirdo then because I think it's a great game and one of the best mmo's I've ever played. As for being profitable he must mean monthly revenue versus the cost to keep it running and fund monthly content updates, not a recoup of total dev costs. As of August it had sold 200,000 units which would have only brought in 12 million not counting subscription fees, special editions, or item shop sales.

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

 @Alygator What the hell are you talking about? Tera is God-awful, with repetitive quests, awful dialogue, and a hammy plot. I don't play it for said reasons, though I did participate in the betas (for both games). That said, Tera's combat system is exceptional, especially for an MMO.

 

Neither do I play TSW, because the combat is monotonous and the character animations are- well, they're bizarre. And my comment stands: Had TSW used Tera's combat system it would have been a masterpiece. Right now it's an atmospheric game with great stories, but it has its flaws. Most reviews have said as much.

 

And it's a shame, because TSW was probably the game I was most looking forward to this year.

vishisluv7
vishisluv7

 @Alygator  @strayfies Mature playerbase. Thinking mans game, what hogwash!

You read that on the forums from the hardcore fans and think it's true.

If the so-called thinking man's quests were not the exact same everytime you repeat (and repeat you must) then maybe. As it is, first time, sure you think, then it's just another repeat on lockout.

haha! Mature player base. Is that why the forums are full of the Mature Playerbase complaining and leaving the game in droves? Hahaha

Alygator
Alygator

Im not a froob player dude...  if you dont know what i ment in that post dont bother posting crap.

Alygator
Alygator

 @vishisluv7  @strayfies "Is that why the forums are full of the Mature Playerbase complaining and leaving the game in droves?" I doubt any mature mided players are leaving the game. The only ones on forum complaining and leaving are kids who play wow and expected combat style like in Cartoons. And people aways cry about leaving and they actaully dont.

Dante200X
Dante200X

 @Alygator I can tell you're definitely a "froob". You've become what you feared most!

Alygator
Alygator

 @Dante200X If you were an AO player, you would have known. Why the hell would you comment on something if you dont really know what it means? You are clearly a troll. Mind you freakin' business and before you comment get you're facts straight.

Dante200X
Dante200X

 @Alygator What did you just try to say? Because it made no sense.

 

You clearly ARE a "froob"...whatever that is.