Global Agenda has experimented with a number of different business models since it was released. It started as a typical retail game, then offered an unlimited trial period, and just recently it went completely free to play. We recently spoke with Hi-Res Studio COO Todd Harris about the move to the new pricing model. He told us that Global Agenda is enjoying five times the number of players since the shift to free to play, and revenues "are higher than they ever have been before."
"We recently shifted it in the past quarter to free to play and we've only seen great things out of that decision," said Harris. "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."
"Philosophically, I probably wouldn't have said this two years ago because I maybe had more a negative bias about free to play," he added. "The way we look at it it lets us succeed based on the strength of the gameplay more than marketing and that probably to me is the biggest advertisement for it."
Harris told us that even compared to the level capped trial, the free to play approach has enticed many more players. "We now have five times as many interested players every day going through that same experience knowing that it's free to play and it's not a demo," he said.
Give the success of free to play for Global Agenda, and other games like Lord of the Rings Online and Team Fortress 2, will there be more free to play games to come? "I think more and more will," says Harris, "you never say never. For some blockbuster, very well-known brands, there's still a $60 single price entry fee even if there's microtransactions after that, because they just can command it, because they do have that market awareness, but I do think it's clearly the direction of gaming."