Dropping Subscriptions Nets The Secret World a 30% Total Sales Boost

| 10 Jan 2013 15:30
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Flagging MMO, The Secret World, shifts 70,000 copies in four weeks.

Now that it's shed its untenable subscription charges and switched over to a Buy-to-play (B2P) model - think Guild Wars 2 - The Secret World is beginning to pick up steam. In the four weeks since the switchover, Funcom has managed to shift 70,000 copies of the game. According to the publisher's press release, that's nearly a 30% increase in total sales.

The Secret World's activity levels have increased by over 400% thanks to the infusion of new players and the return of conspiracy veterans, myself included.

So now the subscription fees have been nixed, where is Funcom going to get it's much needed money? Well, while all of the content available in the original version is available to players who buy the game, there is an optional subscription which offers a monthly allotment of currency for the game's cash shop, a selection of exclusive items and free access to the monthly quest updates - the first four of which were free.

Unfortunately, the influx of cash hasn't altered the need for some serious restructuring of Funcom. "Restructuring" is being used in the unpleasant, "people are getting fired and offices are getting closed," sense in this case. Several of the company's teams and offices are being shut down or merged.

Traditionally, I end every news piece about The Secret World by begging creator, Ragnar Tørnquist, for news about The Longest Journey 3. Now that this has happened, I suppose I'm going to have to come up with something different.

Th-th-th-that's all, folks!

Source: Funcom

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I've been playing this on and off for a while, had it pre-ordered and lifetime subbed. Am currently AFK in a PvP warzone in-game as I browse the forum, collecting tokens for doing absolutely nothing. Although PvP is farce, the PvE content is enjoyable, playing in a team hits the right notes and with a friend even more so. The story is cool, the backstory is better but the dungeons are pretty weak (essentially it's just boss encounters without any of the story and little, if any atmosphere, that makes the rest of the PvE game great).

The dialogue is usually quite over-written and full of fluff, I end up skipping most cutscenes after 30seconds of waffle with nothing actually useful or pertinent being said. And the quality of world design isn't consistent; some parts are masterpieces, others not so much. I can't wait for my PC upgrade to see how the game performs on better hardware...my current machine isn't as smooth as I'd like.

Any Escapists who fancy teaming up, need a little advice and/or would like a helping hand, I'm on the Daemon server as either KingsGambit or Co-Codamol.

major_chaos:

...as a more detailed answer...

Thank you again, chaos; the advice is much appreciated and a third thanks for the offer. :)

TSW now has a solid place on my list of games to check out, when (...or "if", I suppose :P ) I manage to work my way through my Steam library backlog.

Somebloke:

Thanks to you and Korskarn, for providing the answer. :)

And I turn I feel the need to apologize, as my initial post was far more hostile than was necessary, as a more detailed answer if you are interested in the game: In TSW the weapons you use deterime the skills you can use and you can only equip 2(weapons), so if you plan on soloing make sure that at least one of the weapons you build has some reliable AoE abilities and you will be fine. Blade/fist , shotgun/hammer and blood magic/elemental magic are all decent newbie combos. A lot of what I just said probobly doesn't make much sense right now but if you do end up playing the game it should all become clear fairly quick. If you are having a hard time with something or have other questions about the game, feel free to PM me on the escapist. TSW is an amazing game IMO and I would love to help more people start playing it.

major_chaos:
You do realize that its a MMO right?
---snip ---

Your kind answering deserves a response. :)
(EDIT: hmm, guess my quote trimming possibly makes you come off rather brusque - sorry about that. :P)

Yes, I do realise this.
I have, however, also seen it mentioned, that the game does have a rather tight and captivating story progression and, not so much outright stated, as half-hinted (in googled reviews), that one can play the game alone.

So, as a "story gamer", with zero interest in multiplayer gaming (for a number of reasons, most of all the matter of scheduling), I was honestly curious.

Thanks to you and Korskarn, for providing the answer. :)

Wow! Everybody is really grumpy!

Yes, there are very obvious differences. That's the case when someone is making a joke. C'mon now...

Seriously though, we can increase revenue by lowering taxes on those who pay a ton. Just do some research, and put a smile on kiddos.

major_chaos:

Somebloke:
The question I have yet to see answered: Is the single player mode enjoyable?

You do realize that its a MMO right?

It's far more a single-player game than it is an MMO. The "unique" features (puzzle solving etc.) are very much single-player only, and there's plenty of instances that will disconnect you from your party when you enter. And due to the "You can only have X of this type of quest" it makes it much more difficult to find random questing partners.

If it weren't for the dungeons, I wouldn't call TSW an MMO at all - and I *like* the game.

i loved the game as far as a fresh MMO concept went. Everything about it was great, but due to time contraints, couldn't justify the sub. Will be getting back into it now.

Can anyone tell who still plays, has the Inventory management been streamlined at all along with the crafting?
That was the only drawback to the game in my mind, there was no quick and easy inv management, simple things like "right click item in inventory to move to bank slot". Every single item had to be dragged manually. This might not sound like a big gripe, but overall it makes the chore of this about 10times longer than it needed to be, to the point i'd spend more time there than actually out questing and killing fucked up critters.

I tried this for a couple months when it launched but couldn't get into it.

A lot of the UI elements (especially crafting) are way too complicated.

You kind of have to wonder how they managed to ignore such a staggering amount of their market for this long.

The Secret World is seriously one of the awesomest MMOs I've ever played, I'm glad they're recieving the much needed money they certainly deserve.

Somebloke:
The question I have yet to see answered: Is the single player mode enjoyable?

You do realize that its a MMO right? assuming that was a oddly worded way of asking if you can play solo and not a bad attempt at snark or total failure to actually read the article, then yes. As long as you run the right skill combinations TSW is not a hard game to solo quest in, at least as far as I have gotten.

OT: As someone who picked this game up on sale over the holidays and absolutely loves it despite not normally liking MMOs I'm glad to see the model paying off for them for two reasons, one is that its an amazing game and seeing more players is always good, and two is that hopefully its a sign of the times and people are starting to reject bullshit subscription models.

TSW is a great game which I will definitely re-visit eventually. I really burned through it at launch and ended up spending a month doing the nightmare dungeons every day, which ended up getting pretty repetitive. (Obviously.)

But, everything was well designed with the exception of PvP, which was definitely poorly done. But for PvE you would struggle to find a better MMO beside GW2. I always intended to let the devs get more content in the game then come back to it, Funcom's troubles are a real downer, especially since I was a huge fan of Anarchy Online back in the day, it's sad to see them struggling so much.

The question I have yet to see answered: Is the single player mode enjoyable?

Well, to be honest I can say as a beta-tester that 90% of TSW's problems was that they mis-represented the intent of the game. To those who were there the plan was always to release a niche modern fantasy title for the serious gamers, with a mature setting. Funcom mentioned that they game "tested well" and it's failure was a surprise, when really the people giving it positive response were not the type of massive casual audience that brings in the big bucks, and were responding for it's reception as a niche title. I get the impression their performance was a surprise more to the publishing/funding arm of the company than to the developers, and your seeing a panic response to a product that was performing pretty much as expected, and shouldn't have been expected to turn a profit except in the long term.

As far as TSW's future prospects go, I have mixed opinions on the subject. I'm someone who comitted to a lifetime subscription early on in order to support what I thought was going to be a niche title. With their change in business model they slowly are drawing in the kinds of casual gamers that are an anathema to the design principles, especially when it comes to the endgame. I've heard even more QQing about some of the content than usual, especially in response to the sabotage and investigation missions, not to mention the gatekeeper, and how in response the endgame has become even more elitist.

To my manner of thinking for TSW to survive it's going to have to keep a lot of these newer players, and that means changing a lot of it's fundemental design paradigms. When you consider that even using a walkthrough site like Unfair.co this is still too much for some of the current people coming in, I see that as a problem from a purely business perspective.

Selling "adventure packs" (the content updates) is a good idea, but I do tend to notice that this plan didn't work out so well for "Champions Online" where after 4 packs (well 2 packs, and 2 "comic series") they apparently abandoned the idea and said they weren't going to develop any more.

Supporting games through purely cosmetic upgrades sounds good in theory, but at the end of the day not enough people are going to spend $10 or so a pop to make their character look purdier, with no other effect.

This leads me to believe that Funcom is either going to have to content themselves to a low profit margin for their work, perhaps even a null-profit margin, OR transition the game into what some people term "pay to win" by providing items with actual in-game benefits in exchange for money. Perhaps following the cryptic model by allowing in-game currency to be exchanged for paid points to make it so technically you can obtain anything you need by investing enough time (which as far as F2P, P2W, goes is arguably the best model going, and works very well for them).

At any rate, time will tell, and it's good to hear that this worked for Funcom, at least for the moment. Maybe it will continue to function purely on the "Guild Wars" model and there will be nothing to worry about. Speaking for myself despite being a lifetimer with a stipend I just spend $20 (a little over the cost of a subscription) to help support the game under the circumstances since I LOVE The Secret World, and want to see the game survive for the long haul. Given the recent "End Of Days" event which ran despite their difficulties I figured they kind of deserve it.

DVS BSTrD:

Rogue 09:
snip.

Yes because taxes work EXACTLY the same way as MMOs.
"I've never paid taxes before, but now that I don't have to pay so gosh darn much I just might!" ~_~

Every letter of this.
OT, I picked TSW up during the steam sale and regret not a cent of it. Character progression is fun. I'm into the Savage Coast and the atmosphere is incredibly well done, i'm doing quests to get to the bottom of a twenty-year old series of murders, investigating and getting scared shitless in a haunted house, it's freaking great. This game has very disparate zones connected only by a central travel hub and I still feel more immersed than in any other game I've played with huge worlds you can wander about in. They just really nailed the atmosphere.
The best thus far has got to be the quests. The investigation and sabotage quests are the new hotness and every mmo dev from now till ever needs to experience them. Even the traditional kill x and find x quests are well done as broken into bite-sized chunks which send you all over the place. I've yet to even think about groaning or rolling my eyes when I see kill x of y pop up as the current quest goal.
Also, 40 hours in and not a single fucking elf has been seen.
I don't know how much resources Funcom is devoting to continued development but I truly hope they get what they need to do good work because I will certainly and quite happily fork over whatever each new issue will cost.

Good for funcom. And now that they went Buy 2 Play and didn't ruin the game (looking at you TOR) I may get to satisfy my curiosity in The Secret World.

Rogue 09:
Decreasing the amount your attempting to collect actually increases revenue? Gosh, what a novel concept! (<- All Sarcasm)

Take note Democrats.

Please don't start. As a Canadian I'm asking you, don't freaking start.

Rogue 09:
Decreasing the amount your attempting to collect actually increases revenue? Gosh, what a novel concept! (<- All Sarcasm)

Take note Democrats.

Yes because taxes work EXACTLY the same way as MMOs.
"I've never paid taxes before, but now that I don't have to pay so gosh darn much I just might!" ~_~

Rogue 09:

Take note Democrats.

I'll be sure to write my congressman so he doesn't get any bright ideas with the next future Guild Wars title.[/Sarcasm]

-_-

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