Free to Play games get a lot of flak – often referred to as pay to win, it’s assumed that you actually need to pay money to enjoy them. While this may or may not be true, the reality is that these games rake in some big bucks, but you may be surprised which ones earn the most money.
Let’s remember that these games are free to play – you can enjoy plenty (or even all) of gameplay without coughing up a cent. But people do cough up a lot of cents. SuperData Research compiled data to give us a top ten list:
Have you ever even heard of CrossFire? Apparently it’s a tactical FPS that’s huge in South Korea – enough so that it has raked in almost a billion US dollars. That makes League of Legends’ $624 million look almost insignificant, and what about Team Fortress 2 sitting at $139 million? That’s still a ton of money from both. World of Tanks has taken Eastern Europe by storm, already netting $372 million – you could buy some real tanks with that loot.
What I find most shocking is the disclaimer at the bottom:
World of Warcraft (Activision/Blizzard) and Star Wars: The Old Republic (Electronic Arts) are primarily subscription-based titles, but also generate revenue through the sale of micro-transactions.
Does that mean that these earnings numbers are based on micro transactions? If so, people are buying a lot of mounts! Insane – as much as we might hate micro transactions as gamers, they certainly seem to make publishers a pretty penny.
I can’t help but wonder where Dota 2 is on this list – perhaps it wasn’t included because it technically only launched (came out of beta) in the middle of this year? I’m curious to see how eSports affects this list in 2014. Also, with the immense popularity of Hearthstone (and its reasonably priced micro transactions), especially when it launches on iPad, I wonder if Blizzard will be getting another entry on the list.
Last Updated: January 20, 2014