From a developer's perspective, f2p is more profitable than p2p.
About the motivation, there are some things to consider:
1.The developer will add a lot of stuff to the in-game store, obviously.
2.In order to do that he has to attract new players and motivate the veterans to spend money.
3.That cannot be achieved without adding new content.
4.Therefore the dev will have to continue adding new content both to the game and to the store.
5.We get almost the same product, but with the option of playing it for free.
Most people have a very narrow view of the f2p business model.
In their opinion, subscriptions are the only way to go, but they forget that in a p2p game, they will end up paying up to 4 times the game's initial price (considering the average price $60 and sub fee $15) per year without getting 4 times the content they should.
From a businessman's perspective you're looking at two things, attrition rate of players and average revenue per user. Putting all of the things in the c-store at such a high price point will raise the attrition rate of players while keeping the average revenue per user around the same.
Whereas if they took everything in the c-store and halved the cost of it, they would have a much lower attrition rate and they would sell between 300-400% as much of it resulting in a higher net revenue.
This is verifiable, ask any market analyst if you want a second opinion. It all basically boils down to impulse spending, it is easier for a player to justify spending $10 and getting 3 things than spending 10$ and getting one thing.
Now if they went through with that under the understanding that new content going forward would follow the pricing policy they just put forward, then that wouldn't be so bad as it would do two things for the player populace. First it would put a heavy incentive on cryptic for creating new content and second it would allow the players to know that new content would be produced in a timely manner.
Not to mention this would grow the population much faster than their current pricing schema.
Its the difference between making payroll and handing out bonuses.
You're missing the point entirely. Cryptic hasn't eliminated subscriptions, they've simply opened themselves up to revenue from another demographic or trek fans that would never be willing to subscribe.
Lifetime subscriptions: money in, plus c-store purchases
Monthly subscriptions: money in, plus c-store purchases
Free Players: Money in from CStore Purchases, which they NEED MORE because their accounts are limited.
They've made the simple calculation that the amount of money normally taken in from subscribers they'll likely lose to "whoah I don't have to pay anymore" will be more than offset by the cstore purchases from the many more free players they expect to bring in.. not to mention the number they can "convert" to subscribers of lifetimers, once they get hooked on the game.
The CSTore prices are in part designed to annoy free players to the point that all those gold perks, the stipend, the ship tokens, etc.. look attractive and work paying monthly for.
Incentive for Cryptic: Money
Incentive for Cryptic to keep developing the game? If the game gets too stale, subscribers stop subscribing. Without new shinies in the CStore, all three groups stop buying items (I know I have just about everything I want from the CStore.. that means they'll soon be adding more items, to keep me interested).
It's always about money.
But then, Star Trek has always been about money. Star Trek got cancelled due to low ratings. low ratings = low revenues from sponsors = low money. Star Trek got revived because fans wrote in saying they really were watching. Star Trek got cancelled again because of poor ratings.. again. TNG stayed on the air because it performed. They made action figures because they sold well. They made model kits for the same reason. EVery item of merchandise, every liscensed item from a uniform to a phaser to a starfleet academy keychain, was made because the costs of developing it were outweighed by the profits they thought they could get for it.
Cryptic will keep developing Star Trek Online, on one front or another, for as long as they think they can make money doing it. And they'll do whatever they can to make as much money doing it, for the least amount of work, as possible.
Priced the cost of any Star Trek program or film on DVD lately?