Free-to-play games catching MMO subscribers’ attention (and wallets)

The successful launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic notwithstanding, the business model of mandatory subscriptions for massively multiplayer online (MMO) games seems to be on its way out. A new user survey by online core gamer network Curse indicates that free-to-play games and microtransaction purchases are gaining ground even among subscribers of MMO market leader World of Warcraft.

A roundup of stories from the Game Developers Conference

Our GamesBeat team is exhausted after five days of covering the biggest show for game developers in San Francisco. Here’s a day-by-day roundup of the major stories that we wrote from the Game Developers Conference this week. We’ve also thrown in stories from Microsoft’s pre-GDC press event. As you can see, it was a busy week for game news.

Will Trion’s Rift be cataclysmic for World of WarCraft?

Rift is one of the biggest bets in video game history. Trion Worlds has been building the fantasy role-playing online game world for almost five years and has raised more than $100 million to build the game and the dynamic online platform that hosts it. The game will finally debut on March 1 in North America and March 4 in Europe. The beta has been out for a while and Trion Worlds announced Thursday that more than 1 million players have registered to play it. Yesterday, the players who pre-ordered the game started playing in advance of the launch date.

Lord of the Rings Online doubles its revenue after going free-to-play

Turbine’s online role-playing game Lord of the Rings Online has doubled its revenue since it moved from a subscription model to a free-to-play model earlier last month, said the game’s executive producer, Kate Paiz. Paiz made the comment at GDC Online 2010 today.