Some continue to doubt the validity of free-to-play games. Maybe they should talk to the over 1.1 million people who played World of Tanks at the same time this week.
The PC game, which also has an Xbox 360 version, just broke its own record for the number of simultaneous players on a server group. Over 1,114,000 gamers were connected to World of Tanks’ Russian servers on Sunday.
World of Tanks is a massively multiplayer online game developed by Wargaming. Players choose an armored vehicle, join a team, and fight each other on the battlefields of World War II. Like other free-to-play titles, the cavalry-combat simulator makes money by selling optional in-game currency (gold) for real cash. Gold can be used to access various premium options, such as extra rewards from battle and special vehicles or parts.
The payment model, which has been around for a long time, has suddenly found new success in recent years, especially for PC and mobile titles. Other examples of hugely successful members of the category are King’s Candy Crush Saga and Riot Games’ League of Legends. Nine of 10 games that made over $100 million dollars from in-game micro-transactions last year were free-to-play. The fact that World of Tanks has gathered over 75 million players worldwide since its April 2011 launch is proof that these games can successfully compete with traditionally priced competitors.
Andrei Yarantsau, the vice president of publishing for Wargaming, looked toward the future in a statement which announced the record: “Finally, we’ve breached the one-million mark. We are set to scale to even greater heights with considerable improvements planned for World of Tanks in 2014.”