Free Ps3 client..? I'm skeptic about it.. I think it will be most likely discounted..
It would be too large to make it available for download through PSN.. so even if the client was made free, you woudl still pay the disc and package..
I don't agree that it would be too large. PSN already has many downloadable versions of full retail games (DC Universe Online, Assassin's Creed II, Infamous, etc.). One example - Record of Agarest War is download only (no US retail version exists) and is 9GB. So it's obvious that large games are indeed allowed on PSN.
Sometimes offering something for free has the opposite effect. The customer sees it as a cheapened product and by default will assume it sucks. It would probably be better for them to just market the fact that the game is totally different than the PC release, elaborate on the content, auction house, etc... and then charge full price. Marketing will be more key than offering it for cheap/free.
It's not a totally different game than the PC game though. It's the same thing, and everyone knows that. I agree that marketing the changes is important, but what's a better marketing tool than showing how confident you are in the improvements by letting people try the game?
No monthly fee looks like a cheapened product. Letting people play for 30 days for free to get a taste of your great product before charging them looks like confidence in your product.
****, perhaps FFXIV can launch on PS3 alongside its first expansion. Give the base game client away for free, charge for the expansion. Or make an all-in-one disc release for people who want to pay for physical media, but don't make it the only way potential customers can try your game.
They really would need to push the message that its a new and improved experience, and not try and dust the old under a rug.
And what's a better way to push that than to let new players actually play the "new and improved" game? Marketing-speak and hype are not going to work to undo the harm that has already been done to the brand. Opportunity for players to see the changes... that might work.
The reason why I don't think that free PS3 clients are a good idea is purely dollars and cents. Allowing PS3 people to play while the game is still so heavily under the knife doesn't help. If they are planning on a surge of players once its done, what does it matter who gets to play until its done. I think they will need a huge chunk of box sales to show a good quarter on their financial reports, and to take a chunk out of their production costs. The $12.99 a month isn't profit, its revenue and who knows how much of that they are really clearing, they can't give up the $50 upfront per player, because they do actually see a lot of that money.
First off, I don't think that they should release a PS3 version at all while the game is heavily under the knife. FIX THE **** THING FIRST. This is the absolute key. Then once they have whipped it into shape and it's READY to get that big push, release the PS3 version and do everything possible to get people to try the improved game. Setting up a $50 roadblock to entry is not doing everything possible to get people to try the game.
As for the financial aspect... I think it's extremely shortsighted to rely on the $50 upfront (which they don't actually get anything near $50 for after accounting for price retailers pay them in addition to packaging and shipping). If you can get much more exposure and a higher overall paying player base by hooking them with a free trial, you'll do FAR better in the long run doing whatever you can to ensure you get that player base intact.
Of course, that relies on having a good game that people like playing. If they know that the "new and improved" game still isn't very good and people won't stick around to play it, they're not going to make money by giving it away and being unable to get people to want to continue to play. They're going to want to trick suckers into paying for a crap game, because at least they got some short term money out of those software sales. To me, that's what charging for the client after a "new and improved" FFXIV is ready says. If they do believe it's a good game, they should be falling all over themselves to get people to try it, to overcome the bad feelings about the FFXIV brand that are out there by proving that they made it a lot better.
Even just from an economic point of view, Blizzard isn't afraid to give the WoW client away. They know that long-term, anyone they hook will mean a long stream of steady income, not to mention expansions. And they don't even have anything to prove, as the king of the MMO market - S-E also has to deal with convincing people to give their game a chance after an atrocious debut.
Hey Anza, long time no see.
I doubt Sony will allow S-E to release a free PS3 client. But they need to have a huge open beta and a lot of advertisement of said open beta to bring players back once they get everything fixed and improved.
I think "beta" should be a dirty, dirty word for S-E around MMOs right now. FFXIV's "open beta" proved to be no help at all, and to this day people call the existing FFXIV an ongoing beta. It has such a negative connotation with the idea that it's an incomplete game, that I worry that kind of access actually sends the wrong message.