The freemium MMORPG Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) generates triple the revenue it did when it was a subscription-only game, according to statements made by Turbine Director of Communications Adam Mersky in a podcast interview with TenTonHammer. In the same podcast, Turbine Executive Director Kate Paiz says that the move to freemium increased LOTRO’s player population and the level of in-game activity. LOTRO became a freemium game last September. It launched in April 2007 as a $50 boxed retail product that also charged a $15 monthly subscription fee.
Turbine converted LOTRO to a freemium business model after successfully doing so with another of its MMORPGs, Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO). DDO’s revenue jumped an astonishing 500% after dropping its monthly subscription requirement, making the client freely downloadable, and introducing an in-game cash item shop where users could spend real money on power-ups and convenience items. LOTRO’s revenue had doubled as soon as one month after the freemium conversion launched and appears to still be growing.
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