GamerFirst's CTO Bjorn Book-Larsson has explained the company's proposed business model in resurrecting Realtime World's previously subscription-based shooter All Points Bulletin
into a free-to-play MMO.
The company acquired the intellectual property rights for APB two months after Dundee, Scotland-based Realtime Worlds announced the closure of the game, pledging to re-release it
as a free-to-play, microtransactions-supported title in the first half of 2011.
Writing on the game's official blog
over the weekend, Book-Larsson outlined plans to balance Free and Premium accounts in the game, with the latter paying for the former. "When you turn a game into a free-to-play game, we generally expect that there will be several times more players playing the game than during its original run," he wrote.
"This [influx] puts stress on all our systems (which in the end costs a lot of money to operate). The goal then becomes nudging the most hardcore players into 'Premium' account status, in order to help pay the bills, while also letting people lease weapons and perform micro transactions for other items."
GamerFirst intends to provide incentive for players to switch to Premium accounts by offering various benefits and perks, such as the capacity to create larger clans in the game. Additionally, the developer will encourage the upgrade via the game's customization system, which allows players to create complex bespoke objects for use in the game.
"Instead of limiting what you can customize as a free player," Book-Larsson wrote, "you will be allowed to customize almost anything, but you will not be able to store (and share) complex customizations above a certain complexity level unless you are a Premium player at the time of customization."
The developer argues that this solution will limit server stress while allowing users to create customized content during their free month of Premium membership, before continuing to use those items even after that membership has lapsed. Additionally, Book-Larsson hopes that the complexity cap will encourage creativity from the game's free-to-play members, who he expects will "squeeze the living daylights out of the Basic complexity cap."
Book-Larsson has invited comments and suggestions on the ideas from the game's fanbase, albeit with the plea that users "keep in mind during the discussion that in the end the game has to actually make money."