Free MMORPG & Free MMOs

Few Big Budget MMO Games

Posted on: April 27, 2010

There are surprisingly only a handful of really big budget free to play MMORPGs. Nowdays, it seems like every big console game costs tens of millions to develop. Premium pay to play MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Eve Online are also costly to develop. In fact, Bioware’s upcoming pay to play MMORPG ‘The Old Republic’ is rumored to cost nearly 100 million to develop. When it comes to free to play games, the only ‘really’ big budget game is Allods Online, which is a 3D Fantasy MMORPG developed by a Russian game development firm, and that had a 12 million dollar development budget. $12 million may seem like a lot of money, but compared to the cost of developing console games, $12 million really isn’t that much. The latest Final Fantasy game, Final Fantasy XIII, cost Square-Enix at least 40 million to develop. Now, it isn’t exactly fair comparing apples to oranges, but what I’m trying to get at is $12 million isn’t a lot of money compared to console games.  I’d also like to point out that Allods Online was one of the most expensive free to play games ever developed.

So if Allods Online costs $12 million to develop, how much did it cost to develop MapleStory? Or Dungeons and Dragons Online or something less known like Rappelz? Who knows. These companies never reveal their actual development costs. My guess is that most of these games cost peanuts to develop. I say peanuts compared to console games. Millions of dollars is not peanuts =].  On the other hand though, there are many… many low budget free to play MMORPGs as well. Games like Magic World Online, Great Merchant and Mercenary Wars are all low budget titles. Now, this doesn’t make them ‘bad’ games, as Mercenary Wars is a pretty interesting MMOFPS game. What I’m trying to get at is that there are a disproportional amount of ‘low budget’ games in the free to play MMO space and only a handful of moderate to high budget titles.

I’d like to see more ‘big budget’ free to play games, as Allods Online is awesome and I’d like to see more games like it. For those that haven’t heard of Allods, it’s basically a WoW clone, but a damn good one.

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