DEC. 14, 2011 • NCsoft’s Aion MMO will become a free-to-play service in Europe during the first quarter of 2012. GameForge partnered with the Korean-based publisher in overseeing the adaptation and manage Aion in Europe moving forward. The shift away from a subscription model for the title is only planned for the European market at this time.
Impact: There is a major movement towards making MMOGs free-to-play (F2P). However, it is telling that this is only being done in Europe. Europe is a solid overall market but the free-to-play model has been more dominant than in North America. GameForge is an example of a huge company that has been very successful with simple browser based F2P games. However, that market is slowing as more robust client-based games are increasingly being introduced. GameForge suffered some layoffs in 2011 and has been working on building a client-based business for years. Thus the partnership makes sense given GameForge’s F2P experience and Aion’s place as a solid large client-based game.