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New World Expansion: Will It Be Free and Should It Be?

With the much-anticipated expansion of New World drawing near, discussions surrounding its pricing strategy have escalated within the community. Opinions vary, with some expecting the expansion to be free while others anticipate a price tag. In this guide, we will delve into both sides of the debate: whether the expansion will be free and whether it should be free. As the expansion's release approaches, let's navigate the waters of speculation and analysis to uncover what might lie ahead.



New World Expansion: Will It Be Free and Should It Be?


Will the Expansion Be Free? Speculation and Considerations


The Attraction of a Larger Player Base

One compelling argument in favour of a free expansion is its potential to attract a broader audience of both new and returning players. By removing the requirement of purchasing the expansion, the barrier to entry becomes lower, making the game more appealing. This could be especially enticing for players who seek to reach the endgame without incurring additional costs.


The Need for Player Growth

New World stands to benefit from an influx of players, as evidenced by fluctuations in player numbers during past seasons. While season 2 saw a resurgence of players, the community is approaching the player counts observed at the end of season 1. To ensure the game's longevity, a larger player base is essential.


Considerations from Past Content Additions

Looking at past content additions, the Brimstone Sands update drew many returning players, but the lack of follow-up content failed to retain them. However, this year seems different, as Amazon Games has a more robust content plan in place, suggesting a more sustainable future for New World.


Expansion Hints: Bigger Changes and New Features

Comparing Brimstone Sands to the forthcoming expansion, it's evident that the expansion introduces more significant changes and features. A new zone, dungeons, level increases, gear score adjustments, and crafting enhancements are among the anticipated updates. These substantial changes might justify a price tag for the expansion.


Industry Norms and Influences

Examining the MMO genre, it's clear that many major players charge for expansions. Games like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy Online, Elder Scrolls Online, and Guild Wars 2 all adopt this model. Destiny 2 trajectory from paid to free-to-play with paid expansions serves as a notable example, and New World developers draw inspiration from Destiny 2's strategies.


The Verdict: Will the Expansion Be Free?

Considering the evidence and industry trends, it seems likely that New World's expansion will be unrestricted. The substantial changes, the labelling as an "expansion," and the genre's established practices point towards a potential price tag.


Should the Expansion Be Free? Balancing Profit and Player Experience


The Appeal of Free Content

From a player's perspective, the appeal of free content is undeniable. Everyone enjoys receiving something for free, and in a perfect world, all content would be free of charge.


The Economics of Game Development

However, the reality is that game development operates within a capitalist framework. Amazon Games, as a subsidiary of Amazon, must generate revenue to sustain itself. Examples like the demise of Crucible emphasize the pressures faced by game studios that struggle to generate revenue.


Finding a Balance: Monetization Strategies

Monetization in New World involves the base game purchase, cosmetics, and the introduction of a battle pass. While some players object to charging for transmog, it's important to remember that cosmetic items generate significant revenue. Striking a balance between generating revenue and catering to players' expectations is crucial.


The Expansion's Pricing and Value

Charging for an expansion is reasonable, especially if it introduces substantial content. The expectation is that players should receive value that justifies the cost. To maintain a positive player experience, however, monetization strategies should avoid feeling excessive or predatory.


The Impact of Monetizing Usability Features

Monetizing usability features, such as gear set storage, can be polarizing. Players may find such features essential and feel compelled to pay, leading to dissatisfaction. Ideally, usability features should be free, and monetization should focus on content that enhances gameplay.


The Price Point: Balancing Accessibility and Revenue

Setting the right price for the expansion is pivotal. A reasonable price point—perhaps between $20 and $30—can strike a balance between accessibility for players and generating revenue for Amazon Games.


Ensuring Incentives for All Players

To encourage engagement and a positive experience, the game should provide incentives for players who don't purchase the expansion. Ensuring that gameplay changes and features are available to all players can motivate them to invest in the expansion later.


Conclusion: The Course Ahead for New World's Expansion

As New World's expansion approaches, the question of whether it will be free and whether it should be free remains a point of contention. Industry norms, the need for revenue, and player expectations all influence the decision-making process. While the community's desires for free content are valid, understanding the economics of game development and striking a balance between revenue generation and player satisfaction is equally crucial. The path ahead for New World lies in crafting an expansion that offers substantial value while preserving a positive player experience. Ultimately, the game's success hinges on finding a harmonious equilibrium between the demands of the industry and the desires of the player base.

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