Rift sales up, player counts "way up" with switch to free-to-play

Trion Worlds' SVP of marketing talks Rift, Defiance, and changes in marketing

Trion Worlds has had an eventful year in 2013, with the introduction of the grand cross-media experiment Defiance, the Rift MMORPG going free-to-play, layoffs, closing the company's San Diego studio to consolidate in Redwood City, and the return of former CCO Scott Hartsman to become CEO of Trion Worlds.

Speaking to Trion Worlds SVP of marketing Noah Maffitt, the [a]list daily discussed the transition of the MMORPG Rift from subscription to free-to-play. "I'm actually very pleased with how the team has executed on it," Maffitt said. "It was a planned transition that's taken months and months to do. They've thought through all the little details very well. We actually saw our sales go up after we announced free-to-play, because we think we have a compelling package around that transition. Our player counts have gone way up, as well. All early signs are good."


Trion Worlds SVP Noah Maffitt

Trion's other big gamble for the year was the Defiance transmedia game/TV show, a years-long effort by Trion and Syfy to create synergies between the two media, that is still evolving. "We're figuring out what works and what doesn't, we're testing a lot of different things," said Maffitt. "We're testing different price points for the client, we're testing different promotion around bit sales which is the in-game currency. You listen to the in-game chatter, but that can give you a lot of false signals. A few minority voices can lead the conversation in a way that isn't really truthful or accurate. What we pay attention to is the real behavior, and we're testing that all the time."

The changes in the industry have of necessity meant changes in marketing games. "Marketing is a lot more creative, and a lot more analytical," Maffitt pointed out. "The old model of making a really big bet, investing tens of millions of dollars in a big launch, that will still happen but I think it will be fewer and fewer titles that will really succeed in doing that. You'll see a broader base of other titles that grow through a slow build and analytically rich marketing."

Read more about what Maffitt has to say about the game industry's advantages for marketers on our sister site, the [a]list daily.

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Latest comments (6)

JT QA, Rockstar Lincoln8 years ago
I still play Rift frequently using it's paid-2-play Patron service, because I want to support the game, and this is very good news. It's great to see so many new people coming to Rift and the F2P service is fantastic, a gem store far superior to GW2 imo.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development8 years ago
Oh no. More dumb people being tricked out of their (daddys) money...

Just thought i'd get in here before the insulting of the general public, i.e. our customers, starts.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 8 years ago
Shush! Keep quiet. Don't let the Luddites know how much more successful the FTP market is.
Leave them with their delusion that the plastic and cardboard market can maintain relevance. Let them throw millions of dollars away on games with poor or negative returns when they could have made vastly more money investing in FTP.
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Show all comments (6)
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
One thing about those Luddites, people. When the power goes out and some are whining and wringing hands because that money just stopped... they'll be sitting at home calmly reading by candlelight and not giving a crap about FTP and invisible games...
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development8 years ago
Don't let the Luddites know how much more successful the FTP market is.
Like the Sims?
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
ERIC, Eric... I was JOKING... lighten up.

That and guess what, the Amish have all that stuff you noted covered (and they don't use cellphones, the internet or electricity either). I'll be heading slightly west to Pennsylvania when shit happens... ;^P

(and that was a joke, too)..
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