Should Elite Dangerous move towards a free to play model?

Thinking about it... With Steam deals etc., Elite already is almost free-to-play. This should force FD to develop more paid hugely cool content.

Crap, did I just disclose my evil masterplan? DOH!
 
Why would they change the working business model? That would be just silly.
Well, depending precisely on how Arx works they may have already done that. The accumulation of Arx by just playing the game may wreck the micro-transaction store model - depending on the Arx price of cosmetics and the nominal rate of accumulation of Arx credit.

I would guess 1 Arx credit per hr and 1 Arx credit being equivalent to 0.01 UKP (or perhaps less) in current real-money store terms. On that basis, it will probably barely make a dent in their earnings if Arx credit is also purchasable.

However, on the topic of the OP - No, I do not think ED should move to a completely free to play model. However, I do believe PC based CMDRs should be able to create multiple CMDRs for free like their console counterparts can.
 
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Well, depending precisely on how Arx works they may have already done that. The accumulation of Arx by just playing the game may wreck the micro-transaction store model - depending on the Arx price of cosmetics and the nominal rate of accumulation of Arx credit.

I would guess 1 Arx credit per hr and 1 Arx credit being equivalent to 0.01 UKP (or perhaps less) in current real-money store terms. On that basis, it will probably barely make a dent in their earnings if Arx credit is also purchasable.

However, on the topic of the OP - No, I do not think ED should move to a completely free to play model. However, I do believe PC based CMDRs should be able to create multiple CMDRs for free like their console counterparts can.
Microtransactions are only a minor source of revenue generation.

They won't make multiple CMDRs available for free either, because that's much bigger source or revenue generation.

If they'd make CMDR slots available at a discounted price, I'd be very grateful.
 
Percieved value:
If you pay a weeks disposal wealth on a new game, you invest effort in learning the foibles and push through any beginning issues.
If you spend nothing on a new game, unless it hits you in the face as indisputable fun, it gets uninstalled within the hour.

That's not me, that's real life.

Ed is not now, nor will it ever be suitable as a low investment game.
 
No. Please no. You should fix the game. Make ships unique instead of just progression. Actually take the time to change cockpits around in ships like the asp/diamondback/krait which have two models each that have the exact same cockpits. Fix power play so it’s actually engaging. Do something with the Thargoids.

I was going to make en entire post about this but this thread will work. Ask the community for help. It costs you nothing. Elite is a special game where the community is far different than most. Groups like the fuel rats prove this and make this game very unique. People actually try and help beach other vs other games.

You should ask the community for help with minor development stuff to offset the costs. Stuff like graphic design. Offer frontier points, free copies of the game, and free dlc expansions, name in credits, or whatever, in return for community members taking some of the work load off your plate. For example, gaseous planets look ugly as sin. I’ve heard other planets have gotten a graphical refresh, and gaseous are on the todo list. Offer community members with the skills to make good looking textures incentives to work as freelancers. I’m not a graphic artist or I would offer to do it for nothing more than a few frontier points. Coding is on you, but graphical stuff can be outsourced. Ship models can be outsourced. Hell even plot can be outsourced as there are plenty of talented fan fiction writers out there who I’m sure would be love to be a part in making the game better. No other game developers I know have reached out to the community for help, and it’s stupid NOT TO. The people who play your game do so because they want to, not because they are being forced. Elites players take that even further, and help each other, even when it’s due to ones own stupidity like running out of fuel.

You just need to keep control and lead (don’t let the community lead the effort, you lead and ask for suggestions, outsource minor work like graphic textures, etc). It shouldn’t become a community run game but you can offload a lot of the workload to the community which I’m sure would be glad to help.

Engagement. You need engagement. Put up polls to see what players want in the game. Ask for suggestions on content before you decide on a direction forward. Did players really want carriers? I don’t know. I would have liked more ground vehicles and more planet content. I see a lot of others asking for a fix for power play to make it worth their time.

Ask people instead of being arrogant enough to think that you always know best; people don’t have to be playing this game, there are others. Engage your player basis, get feedback, actually respond to that feed back, have discussions (not one sided “our way or the highway”) and plan a clear path forward, then follow through and don’t half bake stuff.

If you need money, having the paid cosmetic market works, but having a way to earn cosmetic credits is a must too. You can also outsource those cosmetics to the community, maybe offer a small portion of every paid sale to the content creator.

Push out your new player experience and then offer a free trial! Let people download the full version of the game, run the tutorials, and have fun in the starter system but not leave that system until they pay to upgrade to the full version. Trials don’t exist anymore and IMO it’s because most games suck so bad they know you won’t buy it after playing the trial. Elite is a good game, you just need to finish some half baked portions, update some ships, fix some textures, and you will have a good base game to build on moving forward. I promise if you offer a free trial (including PS/Xbox) AFTER getting the new player experience set up, you can get new people to play.

Please don’t go free to play. Christ that ruins every paid game. I’m a nobody, and just one person, but I’d stop playing.

If you have to go free to play (as in you are going bankrupt) than existing paid customers should get grandfathered into not having any free to play content paywalls. Ever.
 
No skin off my nose, I'm playing in a private group. If it can improve the survival chances of the 10 year plan then I'm for it.

Suggest those masochists that play in open but have no interest in pvp find a less populated system to hang around in.
 
Ever notice how F2P games are full of squeakers, trolls, hackers, toxic players and other digital riff raff?

Even if those people made it outside of the gank-free scrub zone, whats to stop them from infecting the rest of the bubble?

Free 2 Play games don't keep the lights on, the servers running, the developers paid and the studios paid for. And even if they do, the wallpapers if peeliing off, the lights flicker, the High intensity Zumba class on the bottom floor distracts you and there's a homeless guy that never goes away.

I guess for the reason we pay for the games we want to play is the reason we DON"T want to play something that's F2P funded by microtransactions: We don't want crap!

How pretty would ELWs look if we paid for a full priced new Horizons-style DLC, a half priced Horizons DLC and a 75% off base game?
Now how pretty would it look if ELWs were paid for by $1.99 ship skins an $4.99 temporary module boots?
 
I think it could have been..

Had frontier been less greedy in terms of pricing to non GBP currencies and released offerings as good as the community mockups id say the ratio of cosmetics to new accounts sales would be significantly different.

Lets call it lucky for us though that in this case frontier can't see outside their own ivory perfection. They went for years without ARX and I paid hundreds under this system. Lucky arrow there. Most people I think would ask why they current system doesn't work before rewriting it :)
 
Going free to play can be a boon for a dev IF it is handled correctly. A good recent example of this is how CCP took Eve Online to a semi-F2P model. According to CCP's Hilmar, the game has reached a 5 year high in concurrent player numbers since rolling out their new semi-F2P model, along with some lone overdue gameplay changes and polishing. So, in and of itself, F2P can be a smart move for a dev if they have carefully thought the move through.

Right now, I would say it is much, MUCH too soon in ED's life cycle for even contemplating a move to F2P. At a minimum, the game needs LOADS more polish to fix the games various (and obvious) bugs, glitches, and placeholder content. If Frontier were to go F2P right now, I suspect a lot of people would flood the game, quickly become disenchanted by the experience, and give the game a bad rep that would doom the F2P move. Nah, we don't want that. :)

Now, making the non-Horizons base game F2P, along with the CQC module....that could work! It would give CQC the player numbers it desperately needs, and the base ED game would make for a fine gameplay demo of sorts.
 
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Hello,

So we have just had the announcement of the new frontier points and ways to earn them. It seems as if Frontier are trying to increase the amount of players buying cosmetic items and also making the paintpack store less clunkier and glitchy when viewing it. These are just some short term updates.

In addition, frontier are spending considerable resources this year in trying to increase retention of new players. For example we have seen the new tutorials announced and earlier this year we had the new anti gank starter systems introduced.

In summer 2020 we are expecting a big new DLC, the size of which we have not seen since Horizons. Possible space legs and base building if the rumours are correct. Therefore we can probably expect frontier to sell this for £20-30, which is essentially the price of a new game.

My argument is therefore that Elite Dangerous should shift to a Free to play model, with Horizons and DLC 2020 being £20 and £30 respectively. With the new ease of use when it comes to the new paintpack shop I think it would be more of a higher revenue raising venture if elite does go free to download. For example, let me try to explain.

Somebody considers buying elite dangerous, sees the price tag and also sees that the steam reviews are only "mixed". I would say that they only have a low chance of buying the game in that example unless they were confident in the game. Even if they decide to purchase in this example, the max investment from that player would be the minimal amount.

My proposed example is this(in 2020): steam user sees elite dangerous is free to play. So they think "hell why not" and download the game for free, playing through all the new fancy voiced tutorials frontier have introduced. Then, they spawn in one of the safe haven noob zones and dont experience any negative gameplay such as ganking or hacking so they are having a great time! After around 10-20 hours of game time, perhaps this new player is considering purchasing the dlc such as horizons or 2020 DLC. Or maybe even a paintpack for their new ship. And just think that this "new player" might not have even bought the base game, but now is investing £50 on DLC and £15 on paintpacks.

These are my thoughts. I strongly believe that elite dangerous should follow in the footsteps of Eve online by going free to play. I seriously think it would be the most sensible marketing decision based on current player numbers, the paintpack store rework and the new DLC package due for release in 2020.
This proposal has a #fryefestival-ish pitch to it TBH....... :LOL:

edit: then again, when putting this in the perspective of the $300M+ the CIG fan base has rained on SC to date (to include the current micro transaction pricing of DLC items in the SC store), this doesn't seem like such an unreasonable proposition after all....
 
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Now, making the non-Horizons base game F2P, along with the CQC module....that could work! It would give CQC the player numbers it desperately needs, and the base ED game would make for a fine gameplay demo of sorts.
ED has a niche fan base by default of being a space sim. The learning curve is initially steep (despite the huge improvements FDev has made with bringing the tutorial into the game and making it n00b friendly with the n00b space system. The game's genre and fact ED takes path of the serious space sim (with serious Newtonian physics/graphic realism etc) has constrained it's mass appeal. Especially when compared to the easy to learn, arcadish and cartoony style of NMS.

Also the popular features that have given other space sims broader mass appeal are the ones with space legs, EVA, atmospheric planets, and/or underwater open world exploration capabilities (the likes of NMS, Space Engineers, Subnautica, X4, and Empyrion Galactic). Or one with dedicated PvP spaceship combat features (the likes of EvE Online which has a significantly larger Twitch following than ED to date).

The attraction for a F2P space only base game wouldn't appeal to potential players who like being a space Privateer. But who also want to experience the transition between space to planetary atmospheric and/or underwater worlds. Players who prefer features like space legs/EVA which enhances their planetary landing experience, and lets them personally interact with other players (both PvP & PvE), and planetary world content. So if the base game/space only component were to be made F2P, it's likely the learning curve and lack of these features wouldn't significantly increase the fan base numbers in ED. Which means CQC would remain a ghost town by default.
 
People should chill out. It's not happening. Having a large spike of incoming players would mean additionnal server load, something that FDev repeatedly proved they cant manage with their amazon potato / P2P architecture.
Especially given the technicalities of the server load nightmare that was Salomé's Formidine Rift. A fiasco that leads one to speculate FDev appears eager to completely forget about.:LOL:
 
Sure lets just alienate thousands of Backers, Full Price Buyers, and Pre-Order Customers including those who hit jackpot with the juicy Steam Sales for the sake of letting thousands of snot-nosed kids play a Triple-A profile game, further ruining the Steam side of the game and subsequently flooding the Frontier Forums with thousands of "I KEPE GETITNG GNAKED!!!11" threads and god knows what other childish threads that we see daily in other Forums for Free Games...

To make it worse, when a game goes Free to Play, it generally means the Developer needs to find new ways to generate money, we have cosmetics as a way to help support FDev, if ED went Free, we can expect those prices to increase and we'll have a high chance of seeing "Premium Ship Insurance" for example, not to say FDev would do this, but when a developer makes a game for free the quality usually suffers because employees aren't being paid enough to give a chaff and they get desperate for funds, we see this time and time again.

I apologize for being too harsh but this is the sad reality of what happens when you make a high profile game that's been well established for a good part of 5 years Free to Play.

One Word: Demo <-- this is the term you're looking for or as one user mentioned "Starter Systems are Free" the Runescape concept, Fully Playable to an extent, the Runescape concept is something I'll always vote for, the idea of a Second Bubble being "Free Zone" wouldn't be a bad idea, it lets people try the game, and to enjoy it further, they buy it, the full game being free? yeah no, get a job and buy it like the rest of us.
 
.../snip
Now, making the non-Horizons base game F2P, along with the CQC module....that could work! It would give CQC the player numbers it desperately needs, and the base ED game would make for a fine gameplay demo of sorts.
Not sure if this is still the case since the tutorials were moved inside the cockpit but you used to be able to download and run the tutorials indefinitely without creating a CMDR save. That model, plus CQC as a way to populate the lobby for people who did buy it but have nobody to play with might just bridge a gap.

In short though, NO! At least not until the initial 10 year projected dev cycle is completed.

[I would however, obsolete the base game and roll it into Horizons prior to the 2020 DLC]
 
Sure lets just alienate thousands of Backers, Full Price Buyers, and Pre-Order Customers including those who hit jackpot with the juicy Steam Sales for the sake of letting thousands of snot-nosed kids play a Triple-A profile game, further ruining the Steam side of the game and subsequently flooding the Frontier Forums with thousands of "I KEPE GETITNG GNAKED!!!11" threads and god knows what other childish threads that we see daily in other Forums for Free Games...

To make it worse, when a game goes Free to Play, it generally means the Developer needs to find new ways to generate money, we have cosmetics as a way to help support FDev, if ED went Free, we can expect those prices to increase and we'll have a high chance of seeing "Premium Ship Insurance" for example, not to say FDev would do this, but when a developer makes a game for free the quality usually suffers because employees aren't being paid enough to give a chaff and they get desperate for funds, we see this time and time again.

I apologize for being too harsh but this is the sad reality of what happens when you make a high profile game that's been well established for a good part of 5 years Free to Play.

One Word: Demo <-- this is the term you're looking for or as one user mentioned "Starter Systems are Free" the Runescape concept, Fully Playable to an extent, the Runescape concept is something I'll always vote for, the idea of a Second Bubble being "Free Zone" wouldn't be a bad idea, it lets people try the game, and to enjoy it further, they buy it, the full game being free? yeah no, get a job and buy it like the rest of us.
I think games like Team Fortress 2 and more recently CS:GO are good examples (feel free to add). In a world dominated by capitalism (not sparking another debating here, that's just how it is. sorry) there's virtually limitless ways to make money in a video game, especially in todays environment. Could you imagine the damage of implementing a lootbox for modules or something? forget shooting yourself in the foot, thats is Saw level sadmasochism suicide with a game like ED.

Demo? idk...maybe 20Ly diameter section of space for players with less than 24 logged game hours (not launcher/steam counter) for open play including SP and PG. PVP is turned off and once you're out of 24 hours you cant go back (with all the bells and whistles to prevent spamming n abuse n stuff) Maybe F2P expands to 50Ly diameter with PVP enabled and temporary permits to enter the "Scrub-zone" for the purpose of completing missions (any kind). PVE gets turned off once you jump in. So not so much a watered down or "limited" version. F2P can be monitored more closely for hax, exploiters, unnecessary nonsense. Then once you purchase the base game you get let out of the pen...so to speak
 
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