Star Trek Online: To Boldy Go Where Someone Else has Gone Before

Cryptic Studios transitioned Star Trek Online to a free-to-play game recently and Perfect World Entertainment's wholly owned development studio revealed a little more on why they shifted the game from a subscription-based model to free-to-play in an exclusive interview with [A]ListDaily. Star Trek Online executive producer Dan Stahl and Perfect World vice president of business development and corporate communications John Young said the following:

"We saw that potential in the team that delivers Star Trek Online," said John Young. "We saw the capability of Star Trek Online to be huge. We come from free-to-play roots; he have 10 games right now, two from Cryptic – both of their titles we thought, 'This might be good for free-to-play.'"

"I've been thinking about this a lot because it's sort of appropriate to the business world," said Dan Stahl. "What does it mean to take a game F2P? The best analogy is its kind of like an amusement park. In the subscription game model, you're building these fun things, but people have to pay at the gate then they can do everything. The reason why [free-to-play is] a big shift is because you're changing the focus from the retail business at the gate to the rides themselves. What would happen to Disneyland but they didn't have any stores? If Disneyland was free, they wouldn't make any money without the merchandise and restaurants."

You can read part one of this two-part interview here.

Source: [A]ListDaily


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  1. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Anyone considered a subscriber (LTS or monthly) is supposed to get 500 ZEN a month to spend in STO (and ONLY STO – if you're checking your ZEN from another game, it won't be visible).

    If you haven't logged into the actual game in a while, it won't show this tally until you do.  If you are an LTS'er and log into the game and don't see a ZEN balance in the in-game store, contact support, cuz you'd be owed a crapton of ZEN – maybe even enough to buy a new max-level ship.

    I bought a few ships with my ZEN from the stipend and from the Dilithium trading (aka "buy in-game currency with real cash and vice-versa).  It got me back in for a little bit, but then, when they rolled out the Starbases, it was such a pain that when I realized I was going to have to grind for months and months just to get a decent starbase, I said enough.

  2. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Considering all the problems CBS has had with their attempts to get an MMO out there based on Star Trek, I don't even hope for a new game – I'm convinced that the pile of crap that is STO is the closest I'll ever get.

    Which really breaks my heart – I'd been dreaming of a good Star Trek MMO ever since Activision announced the PS2 game at the turn of the millenium.

  3. 0
    Algus says:

    STO has never been anything but SPIN, SPIN, SPIN in an effort to convince the people that were there that it wasn't a complete disaster.   It launched with about a third of the content it needed to be successful as a subscriber-based game.

    I won't say I didn't have fun with it because there were definitely some highs.   Mainly consisting of sitting around the Starbase talking Trek with other devoted fans, but as an MMO it just didn't hold up.   I ran with a pretty great fleet and all of us were gone within 8 months.  There wasn't even incentive to play in a fleet really since after the first few STFs they started talking about retiring the concept of group-necessary endgame content.  

    Maybe someday the Star Trek license will fall into the hands of a good game developer but the hollow shell that was Cryptic after all their good employees left to stay with CoH and Paragon Studios was definitely not it.  

  4. 0
    GrimCW says:

    so lifers are supposed to get some of these "Zen" points each month then?… hmm i may hafta contact support.. i have the lifetime (pre-release buyer) and i've never seen my balance shift from where i left it after getting the new flagships for the feds (and can't say i regret it, they are lovely ships!)

    i read about the free points, but figured it was a fluke as with so much of their other info lately… hmmmm

  5. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    That has nothing to do with it at all.  Champions Online and Star Trek Online were commercial DISASTERS for Cryptic Studios.  CO went F2P to test the waters, like DDO before it, because it was in worse financial straights than STO.  However, STO wasn't doing so hot – it's estimated to have had about 200,000 players at its peak when it was a sub game, and due to the horrible bugs, horrendous PvP and eternal lack of viable endgame content – that continues to this very day – it's floated at less than half that since just a few months after launch.

    They went F2P to right the ship, and nothing more.  Want proof?  Look at their official forums.  Dan Stahl stated on there many times – even just a few weeks before the announcement of F2P – that there were no plans to make such a transition.  Then, PWE bought Cryptic from Atari, and all kinds of stuff came out – they were going F2P, had been working on it for months (which is why the game had ZERO content updates for over a year), and the game was in such a sorry state because it made so little money that they couldn't afford to hire a team big enough to support it – they couldn't even afford to buy cups for their kitchen, according to Dan in a blog post.

    And little has changed – they made their cash shop more pay-to-win after the transition (which makes sense – look at PWE's other games and their cash shops), and I get a stipend of Zen every month due to having a lifetime sub since before open beta, but the game still has no endgame, going on three years post launch, it's actually cheaper in the long run to be a free player and buy account upgrades via the Zen store than it is to subscribe, the game still has bugs I reported in CLOSED beta, and all of the team member hiring they promised to flesh out PvP and Klingons has yet to happen.

    TL,DR: Dan Stahl lies about STO yet again.

  6. 0
    Daniel Lazzari Jr says:

    What a terrible analogy about amusement parks. I think what he meant was carnivals. Most amusement parks these days moved from the business model of pay-per-ride many many years ago, to the current business model of pay-per-admission. The only MMO I would say is currently run at all like a modern amusement park, is Guild Wars 2. You pay for the client (the admission), then it's free to play all you like, unless you want some of the in game store content (merchandising).

    I'm not saying F2P doesn't work (it obviously does), but it's nothing like the amusement park business model in use today.

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