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The abundance of games, all being F2P is a huge factor in why games have trouble taking off. At the same time, F2P can be a huge detracting point from a game to be replaced so quickly as well. Cash shop advantages tend to be huge in the games, and often times the experience can be greatly cheapened with it. Look at allods online which is actually a good F2P game but went overboard with Cash shop dependency. Other games like Vanguard basically make you "P2P or suffer from terrible gameplay" model that just isn't worth playing F2P unless your a masochist.
I don't think there is a problem with F2P much like the article states, but HOW its handled thats the problem. Greed kills the environment as developers want to push items people will buy and rake in massive profits, the easiest being advantage giving items.
Sorry OP, your article really comes across as a personal rant against F2P in two games rather than an intelligent commentary on the industry.
As mentioned in the article, cash shops expanded developer/publisher ways to make money that they probably never imagined at launch. But it should be no surprise that industry finds a way to provide supply when there is enough demand. F2P hasn't killed gaming at all; as a matter of fact, it expanded the industry enough to make big-boy industries sit up and take notice. But F2P has certainly changed the gaming landscape, and I'm guessing it will be awhile before it all settles down into something we probably haven't truly seen yet.
**** [4 stars]
Good piece. Pretty much sums up the lot of it...so just....erm...showing my support.
There were pirate boards available soon after the Apple II games started becoming popular.
F2P is definitely a detriment to gaming. Especially the all the pay-to-win games. If a game is pay-to-win, I will not play it, no matter how good it is. Some companies have managed to bridge the gap, like Turbine.
I prefer good oldf fashioned subs. I don't mind cash shops for mounts and pets etc but I still don't like that. But there is a line that shouldn't be crossed and EQ2 crossed that line when they started introducing mounts that gave buffs etc. I mean... I paid my sub and some content is unavailable to me unless I clicked the oversized gold cash shop icon and shelled out yet more cash on top of what I paid for expansions and subs.
I haven't played too many F2P games, to me it simply goes against the ideal of what a game should be. Which is simply that the same rules apply to all and everyone is treated equally regardless of anything outside the game, The only thing that should seperate the players is skill, courage and endeavor etc. To allow people to take short cuts while limiting anothers participation in a game goes against that spirit. Call me old fashioned, but I like playing games where all the rules are applied to all... so long as I win.
By the way, the world isn't without irony. There is a world of tanks ad on display at the top of this thread screaming "this is free".
I read the article expecting to see something about how F2P is killing gaming... you know... evidence that gaming is actually dying... and F2P is somehow the culprit.
Instead - I read about how the author didn't like Sims expansion packs.
There's nothing more gratifying than playing an MMO for free.
Originally posted by Arakazi I prefer good oldf fashioned subs. I don't mind cash shops for mounts and pets etc but I still don't like that. But there is a line that shouldn't be crossed and EQ2 crossed that line when they started introducing mounts that gave buffs etc. I mean... I paid my sub and some content is unavailable to me unless I clicked the oversized gold cash shop icon and shelled out yet more cash on top of what I paid for expansions and subs. I haven't played too many F2P games, to me it simply goes against the ideal of what a game should be. Which is simply that the same rules apply to all and everyone is treated equally regardless of anything outside the game, The only thing that should seperate the players is skill, courage and endeavor etc. To allow people to take short cuts while limiting anothers participation in a game goes against that spirit. Call me old fashioned, but I like playing games where all the rules are applied to all... so long as I win. By the way, the world isn't without irony. There is a world of tanks ad on display at the top of this thread screaming "this is free".
this... this feeling was wonderful in World of Warcraft vanilla. But after the cashshop and epic instances disappearing ( anyone remember first time Molten Core ? it was awsome ) through the expansions ( easier and faster new gear made MC and other instances useless ) + making the game in general so easy that a 2 year old can play it now compared when it just started out... killed the game. ( sry for my wow rant )
Originally posted by fadis Confused... I read the article expecting to see something about how F2P is killing gaming... you know... evidence that gaming is actually dying... and F2P is somehow the culprit. Instead - I read about how the author didn't like Sims expansion packs.
Did you really read it?
It is a multiple part article and this first one was focused on the author's opinion of what led to the F2P movement and highlighted how those beginning attempts at companies making more money were already bad for the consumer.
The article will expand into more things in the next part I am sure.
Good article, not sure about the lengthly SIMs comparison, but most of the people who will read it are both too inexperienced and too unintelligent to realize it is correct.
Most of these noobs didn't even put many hours into the Good-old-games like D2, AC, Ultima, they're part of the new generation.
Besides F2P the main thing killing the MMO business is the consumers. Big game companies don't want to put out games that might offend their playerbase so they are all easy and skilless now. The majority of players have always been carebears. They don't want death penalties, they don't want other people looting their stuff, they don't want open world pvp because they say ganking is unfair and lame. Those are the 3 of the main components to a good online PvP game. The other is fast potential PvP death.
Counterstrike is one of the most successful competitive games. It is considered far more skill based than CoD (not necessarily more fun, everyone likes different things). One reason is because you can die so fast - almost instantly.
Asheron's Call, still the best PvP MMO of all time, was/is the same way. If you don't dodge an enemies attacks, you can die in a matter of seconds - someotimes 1 shot; when the game was the best, 2, but now I think it is up to around 3 or 4 hits to kill, as they buffed everyones characters and protection spells - something that made the game MUCH worse. The thing is - even back when 1 hit was all it took to kill someone - fights between good players could last up to 30, 40, 50 minutes! Adrenaline POUNDING the entire time. The loser would get a death penalty and the victor would loot their items - I can remember every time I looted someones armor piece(s) or weapons because they had an unlucky drop roll or were out of DIs. That makes an Amazing game.
The new generation cannot handle the penalties or the skill required for pvp. They get ganked when they are starting and either cry about the social problems their attackers must be venting on them and leave the game, full of tears, rather than sacking up and hacking it out to get their revenge and show their attackers who is the best. The problem is - they usually are far from the best. 90% of the population is. The average IQ is only 100. 50% of people have an IQ between 90 and 110.
So Modern games, starting with WoW, give players the illusion that hey, they might not be that bad. Even when a garbage player enters PvP they can do OK. The playing field is fairly even because it doesn't take much skill - people talk about tag targeting and circle strafing while pressing their auto-hit attack buttons like it is skill. If any of those players stepped into a high-level CS or AC fight they would get demolished. Everyone is hyping up GW2 and saying it is great but no real PvPer will touch that game. It takes forever to kill someone, it is pathetic. Didn't try and don't plan on it - sure the leveling up looks fun and all, I'm sure it would be a good time, but it is the baddie-PVP model.
Whether F2P or Sub, most (and all large) game companies are catering to their customers rather than trying to make GOOD games.
You are according to your profile 27 years old. Digital software piracy via downloads and copy protection by developers and cracking of those protections by hackers has been going on since BEFORE YOU WERE BORN. Granted the only reason this didn't occur in music and movies first is because they were not digital yet so the piracy was analog and hence did not allow for being downloaded but facts are facts.
...shakes fist, damn kids, get off my lawn.....
Originally posted by rumpleman Ugg... why does everything have to be so absolute? "Free to play is killing gaming", "this game is dead", or "that game failed". When in all actuality, lots of people are gaming. Some would argue that there are more gamers than ever before. And those games that people often quote as "dead" or have "failed" are still making money or they wouldn't be online. Just because "you" don't like a particular game or aspect of a game, does not mean the sky is falling. If you want things to change, make a stand and stop spending money on the games you dislike. /endrant edited typo's
I agree with this statement, F2P is not the enemy.. we are. The problem is not the buisness model, its the player base. WE force the companies into being more creative with their buisness models because WE are more choosy, we have more games than ever to dedicate our gaming time to. WE have other finacial responsiblities, WE are more and more becoming more demanding, have more expectations, some unrealistic. WE, the gaming community sub-culture as a whole are the issue here. WE are killing games. WE are all as unique as the next fellow in game genre's, gaming playstyle, preferences, likes and dislikes and, frankly, now that there are MILLIONS of gamers, and for this conversation I am going to exclude console gamers as, well, this is MMORPG.COM.. so we will stick to MMO's, WE have come to expect ALL our demands be met or we simply move on to the next game.
I might add, I am rather disappointed in this article, it's poorly written. The examples used to justify your opinion are weak and in all honesty, self-saticfying. I mean.. The Sims? Who even played that? Kidding, I know allot of people did, it was a distraction from other MMO's when one was needed, like SL, or IMVU, or some other SOCIAL, and or REAL LIFE/VIRTUAL LIFE line blurring games are.
Look, Free to PLay is not the enemy, subscription based business models are no longer the BEST models to use, Cash Shops, Pay for Power, or Pay to Win, how ever you wish to coin it, is here to stay. This article would be better served if you were not forcing your opinion on us as fact. You failed. And I wont even begin to touch on my personal choice of business model because I'd like to think it varies. BUT.. if given the choice I would have to say it is totally dependant on the title. Allow me to elaborate;
Lets take a title like the recently released Guild Wars 2, and its predecessor Guild Wars 1. Here is a business model that clearly has worked, pay for the game, no sub fees, pay for expansions, and a cash shop you CAN use if you so desire for consumables, social items etc... While I PERSONALLY think this is a great model, and perhaps even IDEAL, I would like to say that a PERFECT model in my view would include the above with an OPTIONAL subscription. Subscribing has its bennifits, so I would hope there'd be some real advantage to subbing to a game with this model, say, sub based content, or items, exp buffs, etc..
Now, lets look at the subscription only model, keeping it recent, games like Rift, WoW (yes I know wow is free for 20 levels, so is Rift), TSW, etc.. All pay for client, pay for subscription, and pay in cash shops. All fine and dandy untill you burn through all the content and get bored, a new title is released, cancel sub, play new title, get bored, and re-sub to your favorite game. Lets be frank.. While wow may be the king of subcriber accounts, it was NOT king of the mmo's, if one uses percentages, wow may have had the largest number of subscribed accounts, but it also has the largest percentage of canceled subbed accounts as well. Simply because of its numbers. But my point in bringing this up is only to show that subbed based business models are not always the best way to keep your players long term.
Next, lets look at the Free to Play model, and the massive number of titles in the business model, and lol, all the titles that have converted to it from a sub based model, those that are about to (swtor, AoC, and Aion are just 3 examples) . I use these three because I subbed to all of them at one point. There are also a slew of titles upcomming that will be FREE to PLAY.. Why? An attempt to KILL the gaming industry? LOL come on.. the only thing that can kill the industry would be we all stop playing games, and that's not likely to ever happen, even as we grow older, we, er I at over 40, are still gaming. And younger generations are joining in on the fun. Free to Play just opens the doors to more and more gamers, who, perhaps do not have the cash for subscriptions but do, perhaps from time to time have a few extra bucks they can sink into a cash shop or micro-transaction shop as they are better known as in the industry, for some gear or consumables, or bag expansions, what have you.
I do not claim to be a profesional writer, nor is my spelling all that accurate, and lacking a spell checker in this forum post, pretty sure you will find many. Nor to I claim to be an expert in the gaming industry, I do however claim to be a gamer, and as a true gamer, perhaps old-school gamer, business model means absolutley NOTHING to me.. What matters, and what should matter is whether or not I enjoy the game, that is what will keep me playing. If I am no longer challenged, I move on. Hell I paid over a 100 bucks for all of WoW's expansion, bought 6 months of game time, and I played 2 weeks. Did I give it a fair chance? Perhaps not, but no game that lets me go from level 1 to 85 in three solid days is worth my time. And I am not singling out WoW here, so fan boys and haters need not troll, but its true of ANY title.. Sorry TSW, loved the game, just blew through it too fast, same is true with swtor, and many other titles.
In closing, articles like this, frustrate me, passing one's opinion off as fact is, well, shameful. The FACT is, we are all very different, and the opinions on this subject are as varied as we are unique. I do not believe that any one opinion, be it mine, or anyone ones will be the answer to the gaming industry woes. The Fact is, some people do not like to pay subscriptions, some perfer it thinking they get ALL the game has to offer for a montly fee, some like a mix, some like Box Priced games with no subs and a cash shop to support the developers and still, some prefer a mix of all three. There is no industry killing business model. There is however game killing players who move on for lack of .. well content, a game that keeps their attention, and I have been at this a loong time, very looooong time. I can say with some certainty, no matter the business model, if you love a game, you stay and play, if you get bored and move on to other games , you WILL come back to the one game you loved most, provided it is still online. Lets put the game killing chat behind us and own up to our own faults first. WE are the game killers.
thanks all. cheers.
You have good intentions, but you are limited by your experience. I (personally) have been involved with online computer games for a lot longer, and as such see a lot longer trail.
Early Online games were initially monetized via per minute charges, which some companies then streamlined into monthly charges. Many of these games were F2P, as they originally ran on the server back end, with a light client (think browser games of today).
It was not until they started making larger clients that required distribution that P2P was even created. Out of this came the F2P/P2P battle that we know today. There were clear F2P 'winners' in the west as early as 2001 (RuneScape). They clearly set the tone of F2P in the west, and showed the dominance of the monthly sub in the west.
In the east, more specifically China, F2P evolved differently due to legislation that outlawed subscriptions (think AOL style subscription abuse). Time (but not subscription) was still a common method of monetization, but many games chose to offer an a la carte mode, or item mall/cash shop. This is the start of what many current gamers call F2P today.
The evolution of DLC is slightly different. DLC was seen as a way for publishers to make a direct sale to the customer. This allowed them to make a much higher % of the revenue from a sale, and cut out the retail requirement. It helped them establish a direct billing relationship to the customer, and in doing so, be able to market to them directly.
I am interested to see your part 2, but based on par 1, I am concerned that your lack of experience may affect it as well.
For me FTP is killing the games. I refuse to play them. I want my game devs to take the 15$ a month and focus on good and fun games. I don't want the game design to focus around maximizing profit. For every 1$ potion that will speed up leveling by x% they made the design decision to make leveling slower, for each 10$ mount that increases traveling speed by y% they decided to make it slower for normal players and for each cool 5$ outfit they decided to but in crap ones for standard player.
Although not an MMO Diablo3 was the best example how game design driven by microtransactions gets completly nuts. No matter what the Blizzard devs say, you could see and feel it every time you play. Don't find anything for your class? buy items. What, you don't get enough money because everything you find is just crap, use your credit card. What you die too often because you did not get good items, wait we increase the repair cost to "motivate you... (... to buy gold with real money)".
No offense, but you do get the point of an EDITORIAL, don't you?
What the writer should inherently be taken as OPINION and not FACT due to that categorization alone.
EDITORIAL = "The following is just the writers subjective opinion"
It's cool if you disagree with him, but I don't see how you can reasonably take him for task for presenting an opinion in a format that is explicitly labeled as opinion?
Um.. the article title says this was going to be a F2P analysis when it instead turned out to be a history lesson on DLC and expansion packs. I mean I understand the article may eventually get to the F2P core, but then the title of the article should have been something like "The history of profiteering from video games" or "The evolving payment model of video games".
I was really looking forward to reading about the F2P trend and its impact on the market.
I've been around since the early Online Service Days (Genie, Prodigy, Compu-Serve) myself. I remember the $ per minute charges. I don't think you could really classify ANY of the games on those as F2P, as even if they weren't premium fee games, the cost of playing them was still rolled into the cost of the service itself.
If you are counting the early MUDS/MUSH's on the .Net, those really wouldn't count as F2P either as those were mostly NON-COMMERCIAL games...there is a HUGE difference between something offered as NON-COMMERCIAL and F2P.
Respectfully, F2P/P2P has nothing to do with whether there is a charge for the client (thick or thin) itself. Many P2P games distribute thier clients for free...it's about whether there is a minimum ACCESS CHARGE to play the game.
There may have been some older examples of F2P games in the West, but it really hasn't been until the last few years that the model became mainstream.
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2 Originally posted by evolver1972 Originally posted by Yakamomoto "F2P" is mostly a scam. (same goes for "B2P" with cash shop) If you read "FREE" on the internet, something smells fishy. I prefer the good old honest subscription model.
Honest subscription model. That's funny. Considering the costs of running a game are basically miniscule your honest sub model goes to one of two things: Marketing and Profit.
And with the right CS, B2P is not a scam. To me, that is the most honest and fair way to run a game. You buy the game (just like every other game), and you don't have to spend another dime to play if you don't want to. How is that a scam?
I also think that F2P, if done correctly, can also not be a scam, although I do admit that model leaves much more opportunity for scamming.
I personally think LotRO's F2P version was just fine. I didn't feel cheated, or pressured to spend any money at all.
I'm not sure where you got the impression that costs for running an online service (which is what MMO's basicaly are) are "miniscule" but I can assure you they are not. I just got done putting together the yearly budget for Operations of my companies online services (and no we are not an MMO, we're in business services) which doesn't even include customer service/tech support and I can assure you it counts for a rather significant chunk of our gross revenue....much larger then either marketing budget or proffits. MMO's can get by with a bit cheaper as they don't have to provide quite as high a level of service....but by no means is their operating costs miniscule..... unless you think it's acceptable to run your game out of someones garage.
Subscriptions ARE "honest" (or at least WERE before cash shops) in the sense that you know up front exactly what it will cost you to play the FULL game up front each month. I wouldn't neccesarly describe F2P as "dishonest", but a little bit more like "hidden fee's" based services. It's not until you actualy start playing until you learn how much it will actualy cost you to play the game at a level you are comfortable with...and this can change drasticaly as you progress...or even day to day as the Dev's tinker with items and prices in the cash shop.
If you look at earnings reports for MMO companies, you will see that the costs of maintaining an MMO are relatively cheap, compared to the overall costs associated with making and developing an MMO. Developing an MMO is where the majority of the cost comes in.
It used to be that the server costs, bandwidth, etc. cost a lot of the budget money, but that's just not true anymore and it certainly doesn't cost so much that companies still need to charge $15/month for it. That is how games like GW1 and GW2 are able to make it. GW1 has been running almost purely on box sales of the game and expansion for 7 years (there is minor income from its CS, but not a significant amount). GW2 is using basically the same system. And I'm sure Anet isn't banking on the idea that the CS will cover all of their development costs over the next 7 years. That's why you are charged for the box price. It recoups their development costs, and allows them to continue to maintain the game, which includes adding content, maintaining servers and bandwidth, and fixing bugs.
And are you going to tell me that the costs of maintaining a game are the same as they were in 2004? I highly doubt that, especially when it comes to hardware. That's why the $15/month isn't so great anymore. You are paying them to play only one game and much of that money you're paying them goes to profit and marketing.
I'll take B2P any day over that. Even with a CS. I get to decide where my money goes then. Rather than feeling that I'm stuck in a game I'd rather not play because I have so much invested in it. And with B2P, I do know exactly how much I have to pay to get the full game: A one time fee of $60.
You want me to pay to play a game I already paid for???
Be afraid.....The dragons are HERE!
I have been against F2P from the start, but it is only one of a lethal cocktail of factors that have changed the gaming industry forever.
I will go futher, MMO's as we knew them are dead, solo games as we new them are dying out. It suits profit that all games meet in the middle, not truely a MMO any more or a solo game. In five to seven years time I am not sure we will be able to tell the differance between "MMO's" and "solo" games. Every game will be online, every game will have a multiplayer option but you will be able to play it solo. Players will be linked by achievements and Facebook style social media, not by interaction in game. Guilds will exist first and foremost in a social media format and only secondly in game. You, the real person will be linked as a real person to all the games you play.
Some of this sounds good, but then streamlined questing sounded good in WoW and now you don't need to read to go on a quest. Dropping harsh death penalities sounded good, but now there are no penalites. The changes start of better, but give it a couple of years and the changes are exagerated until the gameplay is ruined.
MMO's cannot hold on to MMO players, it is not rocket science why. They are not just being played by MMO gamers any more, they are being played by solo players who fancy playing a MMO for a couple of months. The MMO players hang on after two months for a few months more but they are a faction of the playerbase.
You received 25 Agrees. You're posting some good content. Great!
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Now Doesn't That Make You Feel All Warm And Fuzzy? :P
Originally posted by evolver1972 Originally posted by GrumpyMel2 Originally posted by evolver1972 Originally posted by Yakamomoto "F2P" is mostly a scam. (same goes for "B2P" with cash shop) If you read "FREE" on the internet, something smells fishy. I prefer the good old honest subscription model.
Yes, the costs of hosting are not that drasticaly different then they were 8 years ago. It's NOT the hardware....that shows me that you really aren't all that informed on the subject..... it's the costs of running the DATA CENTER....some of the costs associated with that have gone down but others (power, staffing, cooling, construction, property taxes) have gone UP SIGNIFICANTLY. Generaly speaking costs for rack space in a quality data center remain pretty close to what they were 8 years ago. You MAY be able to reduce that somewhat if you can offload some of your processing to cloud services (not a bad idea given the spike demand nature of MMO's) but whether you can actualy do that depends upon your application archectecture and to what degree your application is dependant on responsiveness....cloud services introduce thier own bit of latency into an application.
That's not even counting the other big driver of operating costs....your own CS/Tech Support staff.
Purchasing the HW is not the issue...it's OPERATING IT in a reliable/secure environment.
If I want to run out of someones garage....yeah, I can do that dirt cheap.
Hm. I can quite easilly prove a lot of people here wrong simply by mentioning League of Legends.
No pay to win, but pay for some pretty damn awesome skins for your heroes. THAT is how it should be done. Not literally though, but you get the idea.