Article published on Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
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On February 2nd 2011, the big game company THQ has released to investors for the fiscal third quarter that they have a charge of $9.9 million dollars related to the cancellation of 2 free-to-play game titles Company of Heroes Online and WWE Online for the Asian market. THQ stated, "The company reevaluated its strategy of adapting certain Western content for free-to-play online games in Asian markets. This resulted in a write-off of $9.9 million related to the cancellation of Company of Heroes Online and WWE Online."

As more and more Western game companies adapt the free-to-play business successfully, there are still some that are struggling to enter the market due to lack of research. The games that dominate the free-to-play industry today are games in the genre of MMORPGs, FPS, social games (Facebook), browser MMO games (no client download) and MOBAs (DoTA inspired strategy games like League of Legends or Heroes of Newerth). There are exceptions like EA’s recent free-to-play sports game Fifa Online.

In Asia, many people are not familiar with wrestling but they do watch soccer and baseball. Research is a crucial element for a successful launch of a free-to-play game.

The point of transitioning to free-to-play model is to utilize the brand and to capture as many gamers as possible. Game companies rely on their players to spread the word about the game. The model does not work well with online games where social interaction among the players are limited. These types of games are good for the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 but there is a big risk involved when releasing it as a free-to-play game on the PC. Especially when you have Asia in your cross hair. There are millions of online gamers in China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand etc. that can be targeted. This was a good decision on behalf of THQ to retreat early. Research is very important. Western game companies should always research what the gamer wants before publishing free-to-play games in this very competitive market. Be on the look out for SOE (Sony Online Entertainment), EA (Electronic Arts) and other big western game companies who are already making their way to the top of the free-to-play industry.