With news of all these larger games like Lineage II and Everquest II going free-to-play, sometimes news of the smaller ones goes unnoticed. But, as is the trend, size of the game doesn’t matter in the desire to dip in the F2P ketchup, so to speak. Earthrise is one of those smaller MMOs, struggling to keep up in the subscription market with the other larger-than-life MMOs crowding things.
It’s the next in line to go to a free-to-play model, starting December 1, 2011. They may not be going F2P forever, however. Taking a possibly cue out of SquareEnix’s notebook, developer Masthead’s CEO stated, “We decided to let all our players [enjoy an] unlimited gaming experience until we all are satisfied with the experience in our game…we will remove monthly charges until we bring the game to a quality state that is satisfactory to us and our players.”
It’s unlikely the game will return to a full-fledged subscription model, however, incorporating an item shop to stay afloat. I really feel for these smaller developers, because they make some great games that are outside the norm. Sometimes they catch on, sometimes they do not, but they have to do everything they can to stay afloat between the 10,000 pound gorillas in the room, namely World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic.