Hi-Rez Studio's latest business model for Global Agenda, its debut MMO, looks to be its most successful and lucrative yet, despite meaning that the game became free-to-play.
That's because the game now enjoys five-times the number of user accounts since "graduating" from its "unlimited trial" phase, and with that many new accounts comes increased chances that more players will cough up for microtransactions on the side to access premium/bonus content.
Hi-Rez Studio Todd Harris concedes in an interview with PC Gamer that he never would have expected that going free-to-play (supported by microtransactions) would have worked out had he been asked about it even two years ago due to negative preconceptions of the business model.
“We recently shifted it in the past quarter to free to play and we’ve only seen great things out of that decision. We have many many more people creating accounts every day, many more people playing concurrently, our revenues are higher than they ever have been before which means we can develop content and put it into the game faster than ever before."
Going free-to-play paid off for Global Agenda so far, yet Harris believes that the "freemium" business model is becoming less of a risky gamble these days. In fact, he feels it may well be the direction in which most new MMOs will be taking.