Pirates of the Burning Sea Goes Free to Play

Or should that be “Free to Plunder”?

We’re preparing to change the business model of Pirates of the Burning Sea from subscription to free-to-play (hence forth to be known as F2P). This is the culmination of a decision that was made back at the end of last year, and I’m thrilled to finally be able to announce it. It’s not a decision we’ve taken lightly, and we’ve put in a lot of planning and work to make this a seamless transition. We’re very excited about this direction for a number of reasons.

First, it reduces the barrier of entry for new players to come in and try the game. Experience has shown us that players who try the game tend to stick with the game, so we want to remove any impediment for a player to try the game. Free trials are great, but the knowledge that there’s a required subscription makes potential players think in terms of commitment—”do I want to be paying every month for the long term” rather than “will I have fun with it tonight?” The first question is hard for any product, but we feel really good about the answer to the second.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

12 thoughts on “Pirates of the Burning Sea Goes Free to Play”

  1. Their observation that subs are a barrier to retention is accurate… but a bit late in the game to be noticing, methinketh.

  2. That’s exactly why F2P has been finally taking off in the U.S. in particular. I’ve been saying for years that the monthly sub is a monster barrier to entry, and even for people who use it, tends to “stack” to a point where after subbing for a few games it becomes very difficult to justify the third or fourth sub. In a world of one thousand MMOs and companies wanting MMO players to play their game too, the monthly sub just isn’t ideal.

  3. Only surprise is that it took this long really. Should be interesting to see how they do the switch. Will they Allods-it, or something closer to DDO/LoL.

  4. I played the game for 3 months & had some fun. The game has a steep learning curve & one of the deepest crafting systems in any MMO. PVP was great & the game has a good community.

  5. Slightly ambivalent about this. I have always had access to PotBS on my Station Access account, but I was never interested enough to buy the game itself. Now I can play it for free, I still don’t really have any interest in it, but I feel that in some way my Station Access lost value.

    1. They haven’t switched to F2P yet – so you could technically install and play the game now via Station Access, use up your character, economy and ship slots, that way when F2P rolls around you won’t need to purchase those >2 slot upgrades.

      Also, they haven’t commented on Station Access – I’m going to assume that since PotBS is still under the SOE umbrella, people with Station Access will be treated as subscribers:

      bunch of perks, unlocked slots, and “vastly reduced” item shop costs. the usual really.

  6. At least they’re giving anyone who ever had a sub the full premium package. (Dunno if that includes Station Access folks who never actually took advantage of their access.)

    I’m going to have to go hunt for my installation disks. ;)

    1. Recently jumped back in with the Power and Prestige expansion. Since they’ve merged the servers there’s a good decent amount of players online to have fun. Not as many as I remembered during the opening but really not bad.

      I forgo the old installation disks and went for the digital download. I figure even with the install disks I’ll be patching 2 years’ worth of new updates.

  7. I hope the change goes well for them. The game wasn’t built for my particular gameplay niche, but I heartily approve of the way their very dedicated developers interact with their community on the forums.

  8. Hope it works out for them. I might give it a spin once it’s open just to see what changed and how, but I doubt I’ll ever commit.

    Quality and fun, to me, are much bigger barriers to retention than a sub will ever be (given reasonable values of ‘sub’ of course).

    1. /agree on the sub being a barrier

      Either your games worth a sub or its not. It seems more and more people are giving up on trying to be worth it and are just selling the keys to all the rooms in the hotel. tisk tisk imo!

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