Wargaming, the developer of free-to-play online games World of Tanks, World of Warplanes and World of Warships, is removing all "pay-to-win" elements from its titles and is shifting to a "free-to-win" model, Andrei Yarantsau, vice president of publishing told Gamasutra.
All in-game components that are deemed to give a player an edge in a fight will no longer be available for purchase. Wargaming will instead receive revenue through vanity items and superficial customizations. The company believes that the loss of pay-to-win microtransactions will balance out with the free-to-win model.
"The free-to-win concept is sure to enhance customer loyalty and attract new players to the game," Yarantsau told Gamasutra. "As for the company's economic efficiency, we expect no decline in profits. If anything, the introduction of our free-to-win features will likely cause a decrease in the purchase of premium ammunition. At the same time, however, players will use gold to buy credits, pay for premium account status, or purchase premium vehicles. "
According to Gamasutra, Yarantsau says Wargaming's shift to a free-to-win model is to better align itself with the eSports arena, as it "is an integral part of our overall market strategy" and it "will really help facilitate the development of World of Tanks as a true eSports discipline."
Wargaming began working on the free-to-win model model in 2011 and first tested it in 2012. Features such as gold rounds, premium consumables, camouflage patterns, emblems and platoon creation were made available for purchase to all players, instead of just paying customers. Yarantsau said that the company had received positive feedback from the trial.