Since Everquest II went free, it's seen 300 percent more players

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Everquest 2The "freeple" have spoken ... again. Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) president John Smedley announced via Twitter some seriously impressive numbers for the once-ailing, subscription-based MMO (massively multiplayer online game), Everquest II (EQ2). Most notably, the game has seen 300 percent more players since SOE shifted to a free-to-play model back in December.

Better still, Smedley said that EQ2 has enjoyed 40 percent more daily players since it's been made available for free, and a whopping 200 percent increase in in-game item sales. "Plus we have added a lot of new subs," Smedley tweeted. "All during the time that some really good competition hit the market." Of course, the prez is most likely referring to subscription-based giants like EA and BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic.

This isn't the first SOE MMO to make the leap from a monthly subscription to the free-to-play model popularized by the likes of Nexon and the social games explosion. The company's DC Universe Online took the "freemium" route in November 2011, to the tune of an insane 1,000 percent increase in players. Granted, percentages can be vague, but percentage increases this large are impressive nearly any way you slice them.

According to a piece written for GamesIndustry.biz, Smedley sees the free-to-play model as the future of online gaming. And other companies--like Team Fortress 2 creator Valve, for instance--might agree.

[Via GamesIndustry.biz]

Have you decided to hop into EQ2 since it went free? What other MMOs do you think would benefit from the free-to-play model, and would ever pay an MMO subscription again? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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