It takes quite a bit of money to put a massively multiplayer online game together, and there?s never any guarantee of that game succeeding. However, in recent years we?ve seen countless examples of brash young start-ups turning good ideas into multi-million dollar cash cows. How are they doing it? The most common approach seems to be the free-to-play method, in which the basic game is easy to access, but advanced items, weapons, levels and other perks require a small investment on the part of the player.

Looking across the enormous sea of free MMO online games, it?s hard to find an argument against F2P. It builds your player base, gives you a relatively steady income stream for further development and makes it much, much easier to sell your game to wary players. While some developers seem to be of the opinion that F2P MMOs aren?t living up to their paid subscription competitors, industry numbers tell a very different story.

The real question is whether subscription-based MMORPG games are even viable anymore, and that?s the subject of this week?s reader poll. We want to know if you believe that F2P is the bold future of the MMO market, or if it will continue to be one of several payment structures existing in competitive harmony.

Give us your opinions in the comments!