Free-2-play… with our money and minds?
Free-2-play… you like a fool?
As the weeks have gone on I’ve seen the free-2-play model come on in leaps and bounds. There are now some pretty outstanding games about such as :-
- Ghost Recon online – a tactical shooter based on the popular Ghost Recon Series
- Battlefield F2P – a cut down (or enhanced) version of the game depending on your views
- Planet Side 2 – a space shooter (very similar to popular games like Tribes)
- WarFace – which I would say was the best out there. Made by Crytek, graphically its great, as you would expect from the guys who brought you the Crysis series. It’s even browser based, all in all very impressive.
So with content coming along like this I am pretty sure that these games will keep improving over time and start to appeal to more and more gamers. So with this in mind why are so many hardcore gamers set against the idea of F2P? Well for starters websites like MCV will post articles about how this system a threat to our much beloved and coveted AAA titles. They see this as a dark cloud looming over what we know and love, threatening to change the shape of gaming from now on. Personally if the quality of all F2P games are anywhere near Warface I wont have a problem with them. Articles like this cant be the only reason why so many gamers are against this model, even major publishers like EA state the figures say otherwise?
So here is what I believe is going on. You get in, bored after work thinking about what you can play, you look at your game stack and think ‘man I don’t really fancy any of that’ Well have no fear! come and check out this brand new great looking game totally for free. All you need do is sign up, download, install, launch and GO! Fun times to be had, but this lasts only so long, the fun factor slowly dwindles and you are left with a game which now seems a mission to make any kind of progression in. No matter what you do you don’t seem to be doing as well as you have been up to this point, so what gives? Ohhhhhh, they all have better gear than you! So how do I get that stuff? Oh you have to pay for it? No way really? Ah well I suppose its only a few £, that wont matter much to the bank account… sure lets pay it. You see how this works.
The thing I don’t like about F2P is that you don’t own any content. You are essentially paying for the privileged to use weapons offered buy the service, ergo, guns, armuor, abilities, perks, the list goes on and on. Its the iPhone investment issue all over again, once you start spending money on it are you willing to give it all up and move to a new game/phone for your apps/gear? No, because you have spent that money that didnt seem to matter so much before? I personally don’t think that F2P would be anywhere near as popular now if people knew that they where buying into a system like this. Why do you think you don’t see any F2P adventure games or you know like a F2P ‘the walking dead’ it’s because they can’t segment that up and sell you functionality in the way they can with COD clones and so on.
As long as gamers are bored while waiting for the next AAA title to come out and spending money on these so called Free-2-play games then they will keep appearing, they will keep making gamers angry until they realize what they are actually doing. I don’t see Free-2-play as a huge threat to AAA, as long as gamers start to get smart and realise what they are getting involved with. Remember, the best way to let a company know you don’t like what they are offering is to not pay them for it.
Thanks for reading this lovely blog,
- The Free to Play MMO model – A force for change or slow reaction? (A few thoughts) (thecosmicengine.wordpress.com)
- GDC 2013: James Ohlen on how F2P saved SWTOR (massively.joystiq.com)
- The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot hands on: Diablo meets Dungeon Keeper in Ubisoft’s F2P brawler (pcgamer.com)
- Mark Jacobs on the coming F2P apocalypse (massively.joystiq.com)
- How I Feel About F2P Games (mkylem.wordpress.com)