Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online is likely to go free to play after the company's enormous success with free Dungeons and Dragons Online.
Online PR News – 19-October-2009 – – Lord of The Rings Online, LOTRO for short, is yet another pay to play MMORPG that's going to join the free to play revolution. Of course none of this is official yet, but we here at MMOHut suspect that The Lord of the Rings Online will go free to play sometime next year. Let's consider the success Turbine has had with Dungeons & Dragons Online since relaunching it has a free to play MMORPG:
Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO) went 'free to play' on September 15th and has since enjoyed enormous success. Turbine, the game's publisher, needed to do something quick to revitalize DDO's miserable subscription numbers and decided to take a gamble - and it paid off. Since re-launching as a free to play, micro transaction supported game, DDO's 'subscription numbers', the total number of users paying monthly, has increased 40%. Although the game is free to play, users can pay a $9.99 monthly fee to access special 'VIP' privileges. In a recent interview with Ars Technica Fernando Paitz, the game's executive producer, said “We’re hitting and exceeding our internal targets, so far we’ve very happy.” “All aspects of our business are growing.” “Hundreds of thousands of new players in the world are playing for free, with a very high percentage using the store.” The fact is, since Dungeons and Dragons Online went free to play the game has exploded in popularity which resulted in increased revenue for the publisher.
We have already confirmed that Turbine has held serious discussions internally about converting Lord of the Rings Online to a micro transaction based game, but until an official announcement is made there's no way to be sure whether anything will happen. The folks at Turbine are smart enough to realize that the free to play market is huge - huge enough to attract big players like Electronic Arts (Battlefield Heroes) and Sony (Free Realms), so it wouldn't be too surprising if LOTRO actually did go free to play. With the enormous success that Turbine has had with Dungeons and Dragons Online, it would make a lot of financial sense for Turbine to embrace the free to play model for Lord of the Rings Online. Updates on the story at http://mmohut.com