Making money is the primary goal of business, but SE is also pursuing secondary goals with ARR - protecting the brand name and their own reputation. Part of that requires that ARR have longevity. F2P games have a tendency to burn out more quickly, as the free players get bored and the whales are attracted to the next shiny thing to throw their money at once they've beaten all the content.
SE is trying to build a long lasting game, if not another WoW, then another FFXI. Something that will celebrate its 11th anniversary with a ton of people returning for the latest expansion. That kind of staying power just cannot be had with a F2P game.
Yes SE has a lot of PR repair to do. I remember my brother in-law telling me that when he was a student at Art institute of Vancover FFXIV was used as an example of what not to do when releasing a game (not to mention a running joke when someone failed). I am excited for ARR but skeptical as well. There are many loyal fans, but we can not deny that SE burned many bridges with the latest FF games. Many people are simply not willing to invest the interest in a game they view has already failed, when several others MMOs are a few months away from being released. Others would rather spend money on a developer that have proven results with-in the last few years; especially with a growing percentage of the gamer demographic being younger gamers who have never lived the FF glory days. More still have just lost faith in SE and refuse to support the company.
In all the MMOs I've played regardless of P2P or F2P you always have the population drop. Many players jump to the new shiny game, or wait till the game is discounted pick it up than stop playing after the 30 free days. I can think of several P2P games that lost a significant player base with-in the first 3-6 months ie Terra, Rift, WAR... well pretty much any MMO. Almost all MMOs always have a sharp drop with-in the first few months, following a steady decline over a year where it than plateaus into the regular player population. I'm unsure of how income is based when factoring in player-base length between P2P or F2P, but I believe F2P has increased P2P in profits, and is proving to be the lucrative business model. If F2Ps game burn out so quickly, how come it has been the life saver of so many MMOs that were formally P2P ie, DDO, LoTRO, Tera. The fact is the majority of the MMOs player demographic support F2P as the market of MMOs and their payment methods reflect that.
As it seems many people actively invested in the development of FFXIV ARR support P2P, I personally would like to see FFXIV do similar thing as WAR and WOW. F2P to a certain point, more so than the 30 free days with purchase. I'm talking about a chance to download the game for free and play up to a certain point ie level 20 with first dungeon access. Have the rest of the game locked out and of course no AH uses :). Though this might be difficult for PS3 users. I believe this would help regain former players but also recruit more. This would give the players a chance to explore eorzea, and show them all the improvements without risking their hard earned money.
In closing, I do admire SE stoic determination in the face of overwhelming odds, doomsayers, and naysayer. The fact they have become transparent, owned their mistakes, and appear to be learning from them. For that I'll support ARR. Edited, May 17th 2013 12:09am by crazyorc