Guild Wars 2 is releasing with a unique business model in this day and age: it is available for purchase as a physical or download product, but it requires no fee to play as an online game. In a way, it makes the game an interesting hybrid free-to-play title and it is well set up in the future to make the complete switch over to a free online offering when the time comes.

“We pioneered this business model in 2005, and a lot of people have asked me in interviews ‘why aren’t other people doing this ‘ and I don’t know,” said Mike O’Brien, ArenaNet founder and president. “Back in 2005 we really kind of carved out a unique space in online gaming and online worlds, and really nobody came and tried to compete with that. So it was fantastic for us, obviously Guild Wars sold well beyond our expectations and we built a really strong relationship with our community and we were able to offer them a business model that I think is really a win-win business model, and our customers have loved that for the past seven years.”

“Now people are realizing there’s a lot more to MMOs than monthly fees, and we’re starting to see companies doing free-to-play, and even then they’re not really doing the Guild Wars business model, they’re doing no box price, no subscription and 100 percent microtransactions. And I think that unfortunately, in a lot of those cases, you see games trying to do one business model and then falling back on another business model when that doesn’t work. Which of course is not good for anybody, because it means that the game was not designed to support that.”

“[The businesses model should be] in their best interest, and the best interests of the developer. Because I think really, when you do the business model right, the best interests are the same,” he added. “It’s just a matter of finding the ongoing revenue stream that sets the right balance, so fans understand they’re being treated well, and that the developer is really putting its money where its mouth is.”

Source: GamesIndustry International