What’s this freemium thing all about? It sounds like an incredibly stupid word, one that I would normally hesitate to even utter les people think I’m also a fool.
But it turns out to be a business plan that combines the consumer’s desire for free stuff, with the business-mans desire for profit. And Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) is now trying out this model on a relatively new and high quality multiplayer RPG.
Cut to the chase: Is it free? Yes, its free so go download it if you need some new game to waste a few hours on.
But I’m not trying to play video games right now, I’m trying to analyze a business model that just might reconcile some of the fundamental problems with the internet economy. As surfers, we’ve become accustomed to finding everything we need for free. As content producers, we realize we need to get paid.
And somewhere in the middle of that, where the basics are free and the upgrades cost a little bit extra, is a business model that can keep free online services profitable.
See, you can go download the free version of the game and play as much as you like with people all over the world. There’s some limits though. You won’t have access to all the races, classes, and quests that are available for the people who have paid. You can choose to just buy the specific features you want if you think the thing is worth $5, or you can fork over the regular $50 cost of the game to have full access to everything. Heck, you can even earn store points in the game if you’re patient enough and frugal enough to do the whole thing without paying at all.
A lot of websites and other online services have been kicking this around, at least in a theoretical approach. Newspapers may put most of their stories in the public view, but then hold back a few investigative reports or a more in-depth analysis.
I have to say, I like the game so far and I like their business model, too. I mean, who doesn’t like free stuff and making money too?