Skip to content

Why is Lost Ark free?

As an avid gamer myself, I know you‘re probably wondering why awesome new games like Lost Ark are free to play rather than costing $60 like games used to. Well, it mostly comes down to the revenue model. Lost Ark is free because it‘s monetized through in-game microtransactions rather than charging an upfront cost. This allows the game to attract a huge player base and earn money from optional purchases.

Free-to-Play Market Trends

The video game industry has shifted dramatically toward free-to-play games over the last decade. According to market research firm Statista, global revenue from free-to-play MMOs increased from $2.7 billion in 2012 to over $22 billion in 2022. That‘s a whopping 715% growth in just 10 years!

Year Global F2P MMO Revenue
2012 $2.7 billion
2022 $22.3 billion (projected)

The most lucrative free-to-play titles like Fortnite, Genshin Impact, and Fate/Grand Order each bring in billions per year. Game publishers have taken notice and now focus on recurring revenue streams over individual unit sales.

Lower Barrier to Entry

Offering games for free eliminates the sticker shock of a $60 price tag. Players can download and start playing instantly with no financial commitment. This allows games to attract much larger audiences. For example, Apex Legends drew in 25 million players in just one week after its surprise free launch.

The free model reduces friction and entices gamers to at least try out new titles they may have skipped if priced too high initially. Then developers have the chance to convert free players into paying customers.

Ongoing Revenue Model

Rather than one-time purchases, free games make money through ongoing microtransactions. Some players will spend money over time on items, boosters, cosmetics, etc. This creates a recurrent revenue stream that often exceeds what a game could make upfront.

Top free games rake in cash long after launch by regularly adding new monetized content. From 2012-2018, League of Legends earned over $20 billion dollars through its free-to-play model.

Lost Ark‘s Monetization Approaches

Now let‘s explore some of the specific ways Lost Ark monetizes its huge free player base to fund development:

In-Game Shop

The in-game shop is stocked with a wide range of cosmetic skins, mounts, pets, and other accessories players can purchase to customize their characters. These optional purchases don‘t affect gameplay but satisfy players who want to stand out.

Battle Pass

Lost Ark sells an optional Ark Pass that functions like a seasonal Battle Pass. Players complete levels by playing the game to earn skins, materials, currency, etc. Gamers who want to progress the Pass faster can pay for premium benefits.

Convenience Items

For impatient players eager to speed up progression, the shop sells boosters for upgrading gear faster, item chests with loot, and crystals for more rolls at enhancing equipment. These convenience purchases satisfy players‘ desire to save time.

Optional Subscriptions

Lost Ark offers subscription packages that grant special perks and bonuses. The Crystalline Aura provides useful benefits over 30 days like discounted fast travel fees and bonus looting chances. Subscriptions generate recurring income from dedicated players.

Future Expansions

Releasing paid expansions is another way free games make money long-term. Lost Ark already offers character expansion slots and future content updates could be monetized this way as well. Expansions also attract lapsed players to return and spend more.

Benefits of the Free-to-Play Model

Using a free-to-play structure provides some key advantages for Lost Ark:

Massive Player Base

By eliminating an upfront payment, Lost Ark was able to attract over 1.3 million concurrent players on Steam in just a few days! This huge player pool means more potential customers for monetization and a vibrant online community.

Recurring Revenue

Instead of a single payment, microtransactions allow Lost Ark to generate revenue daily, weekly, and monthly from engaged players. Recurring income funds ongoing development.

Risk-Free Trial

Gamers can try this new IP for free with no risk. If they like it, they‘re more likely to make purchases to enhance their experience. Players who don‘t enjoy it can simply walk away.

Accessible Competitive Environment

The free structure maintains a fair, competitive environment for all. Lost Ark avoids "pay-to-win" mechanics so spending money doesn‘t ruin gameplay balance.

Player Retention

By frequently adding new monetized content and events, Lost Ark encourages players to stick around rather than finish the game and move on like a traditional single-player title.

Ongoing Improvement

Revenue funds ongoing improvements and expansions. This motivates the developers to keep optimizing Lost Ark for years to come.

Is Free-to-Play Right for Players?

While Lost Ark‘s free model is clearly beneficial for the developers, does it work in players‘ favor too? I believe it does for several reasons:

Try Before You Buy

You can experience Lost Ark‘s addictive gameplay and see if you enjoy it without paying a cent initially. That removes the risk of spending $60 on something you end up disliking.

Only Pay for What You Want

You choose what optional purchases are worth it rather than being forced into an upfront cost. If you just want to play for free, that‘s totally fine. But if you want to enhance your experience later, purchases are available.

Low Cost of Entry

Free-to-play opens games up to wider audiences who can‘t or won‘t readily spend $60. Lower income gamers appreciate this affordable access.

Time Investments Rewarded

Lost Ark is generous to free players. You‘re rewarded well for your time investment with entertaining gameplay, character progression, and activities without mandatory purchases.

Fair Competitive Environment

Avoiding "pay-to-win" mechanics keeps competition fair and skill-based. You can‘t buy power and advantages with money like some free games allow.

So in summary, the free-to-play approach works well for Lost Ark. The developers get a huge player pool and ongoing revenue. Meanwhile, players get risk-free access, optional purchases, and a fair model focused on great gameplay rewards. That‘s why Lost Ark is an entirely free experience – it just works for both sides!