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Free. That's certainly a strong word. The idea of being able to play games free and later spend money on them when you are fully engaged in the game sounds like a great idea. There are many ways to tackle this model, from a free demo offering a upgrade to the full game to the somewhat dreaded micro-transactions offering purchases for in-game items. You can deny it all you want, but the Free-to-Play practice is fortunately/unfortunately here to stay, and with that, a bunch of bad practices.

 

You see, while a lot of gamers frequently look down on Free-to-Play games, i LOVE the concept of them. Free-to-Play games allow me to try out games that I would otherwise avoid. And that's probably the best part about Free-to-Play games. But we all know that a lot of companies like money, and we all know that they need to cash on free-to-play games. So, they start following bad practice models that damage a lot of consumers and pretty much make the game unenjoyable with all of these road blocks. You can hear the names. FarmVille, Dungeon Keeper (Mobile), Candy Crush Saga, Ubisoft Freemium games (*Cough Cough*), EA Freemium games, and Final Fantasy All the Bravest, to name the few of games that seem to get a lot of flack for their freemium models.

 

I think Extra Credit's Videos cover this topic really well.

 

 

So, what exactly is the point of this topic? Feel free to talk about the general concept of Free-to-Play/Freemium games, and examples of good F2P games that motivate you to spend money because of enjoyament or games that suck your money out for pleasure.

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I will be honest. I don't like the model at all.

 

With Sonic Dash I would play every once in a while but it got to a point were I felt I never progressed anywhere on getting the other playable characters other than buying the red star rings which I never did.

 

Then Puzzle and Dragons was I game I was completely hooked on for a few months. but having to wait for your stamina to recover before heading to further dungeons or if you lost and were asked to buy stones to recover stamina was off putting. That is why I'm glad Puzzle and Dragons Z and the Mario Edition are retail titles and don't do that.

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I don't mind freemium games as long as the paywall isn't intrusive on the main game.

 

I've been playing Pokemon Shuffle and it is seriously tiring having to deal with puzzles that basically force expensive powerup usage. It's also very fucking annoying having to wait half an hour after fucking up on Mega Mawile 5 times.

 

Another example is stupid fucking Rumble Fighter. If you aren't loaded with astros you are never getting anywhere in that shitty game.

 

A good example of a freemium game is Mabinogi. While the mechanics are laughably contrived, the only paywall is on pets and cosmetics meaning you can play the game naturally without ever spending a dime.

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If a game is going to be free to play and then charge people for extra stuff later down the road, I think that the ethical thing to do would be to make the extra content that you're charging for something that wouldn't matter to the outcome of the game, such as aesthetic details and whatnot.

 

Granted, that's just my own moral standards coming into play. As a business practice, it may be a bit dirty to the consumer at times, but it's pretty effective in achieving the long term goal of virtually every business - which is just to make money. The games are usually something that has a long term gameplay model and are designed with the idea of being addicting and keeping the player coming back for more, and the stuff they buy is usually stuff that gives them an edge in the competition. Some may put it off for a while, but the deeper someone gets into those kinds of games, the more likely they are to start shelling out a bunch of money to improve their performance.

 

On a personal level, I find those types of schemes disgusting because it kind of feels like there's some kind of psychological manipulation going on. However, on a business level it's actually pretty damn smart.

 

Sadly, I'm not a businessman. I'm just a high school student, so unless the free to play game is one that doesn't cripple the people who play it without paying, then I can't say this is a business model I like very much. 

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I've been playing Robocraft lately. It's a freemium game, but I'm honestly surprised how much I've been enjoying it in spite of it. You can play through every rank without spending a cent, and yet you'll never really feel like your time is being wasted because you refuse to. The freemium bits come in two forms - a Premium membership that earns you double ingame currency for every match you play (and gives an extra 5% bonus to every other player you play with), and the ability to pay real money for new parts, which are tiered in such a way that you can't buy beyond your current level anyway and still need to play matches to unlock them first.

 

Here's the way I think about the model - a good freemium game lets you play through the game perfectly fine, but makes you feel guilty for doing it for free and makes you want to donate money to the cause. A shit freemium game will inspire nothing but spite because it'll be designed for the explicit purpose of making gameplay as obstructing and obnoxious as possible so paying real money will be the only way to enjoy it - exploiting the fact that an ordinary game will be a one-time purchase, but microtransactions are theoretically infinite. And in a big way it just makes me wish more execs actually came from gaming backgrounds themselves instead of sales and marketing ones because at least that way they'd have an understanding of how fucking stupid that sounds in the eyes of a gamer.

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A game that exists purely to make money is not a game.  A game that blackmails its players into paying far more than the game is worth is ethically unacceptable.  I think it's quite telling that Satoru Iwata refuses to use the term "free-to-play" and refers to the business model as "free-to-start" instead.

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The fact that I haven't even heard of any of them probably speaks volumes as to how well they did.

Need for Speed World was an incredibly fun game, hell, all of those damn games were good (can't speak for FIFA World), but I just it's just the end of the line.

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Personally, out of all the free to play games EA is closing down, Battlefield Heroes was at one point my favorite free-to-play game. It wasn't really p2w at all, at least until EA realized something was wrong and forced them to turn it into a money pit. I'm glad Play4Free is going down though, that game was absolute shit

 

 

Need for Speed World was an incredibly fun game, hell, all of those damn games were good (can't speak for FIFA World), but I just it's just the end of the line.

 

Yeah, with the exception of Play4Free these were somewhat enjoyable free-to-play games. Need for Speed World was actually how I became friends with somebody I knew in elementary school.

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Need for Speed World was an incredibly fun game, hell, all of those damn games were good (can't speak for FIFA World), but I just it's just the end of the line.

Yeah, I remember some of my friends playing the NsW F2P game.

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I've been burned by a couple of free2play games with Need For Speed World being a major offender among them.  I played it while it was still in closed beta and during the early days of its life. It was rough but had quite a bit of potential as it combined two maps from NFS Most Wanted 2005 and Carbon with Undercover soon to be added but then it began going downhill once they started adding more cars and powerups available only for real world cash leaving free players in the dust. Sadly after the original developers left basic maintenence was left up in the air for months at a time with no plans on some type of anti-cheat protection and EA kept raking in the money. All I have to say is if done properly free2play can do well (ie League Of Legends, DOTA 2, TF2) while others will end up as nothing more than moneypits (ie NFS World, Dungeon Keeper Mobile, et all). All I have to say for newbies looking at f2p titles is look at the reviews and forums carefully before even considering installing the software otherwise you will end up regretting it.

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