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[Editorial] General: How Free-to-Play is Killing Gaming – Part One

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  • goemoegoemoe HannoverPosts: 183Member Uncommon

    I disagree with this article. It is not Free to Play, which is killing anything, the dev teams themselves kill if any. Nearly all of the titles of the genre provided terrible service. Most players I know (substract some kids from this) are more than willing to pay a subscription fee for a good game with reasonable service and continued development.

    The software game industry is the most customer ignoring industry in the world since some time in the 80s. The bigger the company the user unfriendly are service and product. Look at EA currently. They try to make profits on the back of us customers instead of looking us in the face. Most developers do is nothing more then copy/paste succussful game ideas and ignoring service issues. Some hotlines with ignorant underpaid folks is what they call service.

    The free-to-play-model of online gaming is just a feature, not a problem at all. The developers themselves, the companies creating games are the one that decide to make it good or bad. Today, tomorrow and the day after. Perhaps ArenaNet can show how to do it right. They proclaim it at every corner, but I doubt they will be different. Surprise me ArenaNet ;)

  • PolantarisPolantaris Monroe Twp, NJPosts: 54Member
    Originally posted by goemoe

    I disagree with this article. It is not Free to Play, which is killing anything, the dev teams themselves kill if any. Nearly all of the titles of the genre provided terrible service. Most players I know (substract some kids from this) are more than willing to pay a subscription fee for a good game with reasonable service and continued development.

    The software game industry is the most customer ignoring industry in the world since some time in the 80s. The bigger the company the user unfriendly are service and product. Look at EA currently. They try to make profits on the back of us customers instead of looking us in the face. Most developers do is nothing more then copy/paste succussful game ideas and ignoring service issues. Some hotlines with ignorant underpaid folks is what they call service.

    The free-to-play-model of online gaming is just a feature, not a problem at all. The developers themselves, the companies creating games are the one that decide to make it good or bad. Today, tomorrow and the day after. Perhaps ArenaNet can show how to do it right. They proclaim it at every corner, but I doubt they will be different. Surprise me ArenaNet ;)

    They've been doing a good job so far.  The Gem Store has nothing that is game breaking or changing, and the only thing that has a chance to do it is the Boosters which you can get from just playing the game.  Monsters drop keys, storylines give keys, completition rewards give keys, and just playing the damn game gives keys.  There's nothing in their Gem Store can remotely break the game, and as long as it continues to run that way they have shown everyone how it's done.  They are certainly doing it now, and they did it with GW1 too.  The same thing applies there too.

    ---
    This is but a brief parting.

  • GurpslordGurpslord Hutchinson, MNPosts: 350Member
    Originally posted by SnarlingWolf
    Originally posted by eddieg50
    Free 2 Play is great for casual players or players that play more than one mmo

    Cutting out commercials is great for people who want to watch a lot of TV shows too.

     

    But the funny thing is it is bad for the person who wants to watch lots of TV shows. Because people are skipping the commercials, they get far less money from ad revenue. They get less money from ad revenue they can't fund as big and interesting shows as they did before. So in the end what you found convenient ends up hurting what you liked.

     

    Does help to show when HBO and Showtime tend to do amazingly well at the emmys and they are a subscription service. You get what you pay for.

    Everyone is looking at this as either a black or white style situation.  Lets take this TV analogy a little farther.  I like watching tv show X.  I'm not a big fan of the commercials that interupt it.  Your argument is that by me choosing to enjoy my show by cutting the commercials is going to punish me in the long run because the show I enjoy won't be able to continue to fund itself because ad revenue will decrease dramatically, or cease altogether.

    There we have two extremes.  In one instance you're saying hey, this show is free, but you're going to have to suffer some advertisements and possibly be convinced to purchase stuff.  In the other, the show stays free and I have no bothers, but ultimately there's no resources for said show to continue to resume.

    Let me tell you what I do here.  First, I have a DVR and hell yes I blast thru the commercials and anticipate a day when they're in fact gone for good.  Your theory is that television, or entertainment itself cannot function without some form of intrusive advertising, I say otherwise.  I'm a HUGE battlestar Galactica fan, HUGE.  I would take days off just to make sure I could watch a new ep back when it was on.  This stopped about halfway thru season 2  because frankly the show was SO good that the ads became HUGE pains in the butt that flat out interupted my immersion into the show.

    I didn't have a DVR at the time so I had only a few choices.  1: Suffer the ads.  2: Stop watching and wait for DVD.  3: Buy the eps for a buck on Itunes.

    I chose Itunes at the time.  Here I got everything I wanted out of the deal and they made some money.

    Having options in everything is ideal.  I used to be an avid hater of F2P games, claiming they would ruin the whole genre or whatever other overdramatic drivel anyone (Including you, OP) would care to come up with.  I'm older and wiser and tend to understand the nature of not only myself but how certain things work now and frankly I'm a-ok with the situation.

    A sub fee to me is rarely worth paying.  Oh yes, I can definitely afford it but it's not worth the money they're asking.  There was a time years ago when I believed my sub went to the development of better and frequent content.  I no longer believe that.  Companies took those fees and instead made sub-par games with sub-par expansions and meanwhile cashed checks on our sub fees which were buying us nothing.

    F2P, TRUE f2p, has its own issues.  I can download this game and play it to my hearts content without having to pay a dime.  However I'll likely have to suffer intrusive ads or setbacks because I'm not willing to pay into a cash shop.  Still, I can play and enjoy if I so choose.  I do not, I would prefer to be able to get the full experience in one go and not bits at at ime.

    B2P is another option.  Here you pay your fee up front and get your game.  In this case there are also likely cash shops to contend with but tend to be a lot less intrusive or make you feel like you NEED to spend into them.  I like this route and right now am loving playing GW2.

    Frankly, not a single one of them is killing the genre, merely filling a role.  Some of you people want to go back to some magical good old day where you paid 15 bucks and all was right with the world, except that day never existed.  There are now options, not only in payment methods but in games and styles as well.  It used to be a limited genre in a limited market.  Now it's a huge genre in a very huge market.  This means that options are required to survive. If you don't like an option, don't pursue it.

    As an aside, I'd like to note that the most profitable online game company is Zynga.  Gaming isn't what it used to be, and never will be again.  EVER..

  • GurpslordGurpslord Hutchinson, MNPosts: 350Member
    Originally posted by Polantaris
    Originally posted by Haradeas

    Only took couple of years or so, but finally people start to realise that F2P kills mmorpgs in general. There is no kwality anymore... it has become a mass production clone fest.... WoW, Lineage, guildwars 1 everyone knows these in memories for good reasons.

    F2P = pay to win, only 1 game did NOT do this : Leaque of legends. Also the reason why it is the most played game atm ( xfire hours played )

    F2P = lacks kwality, look at Aion, it couldnt deliver the kwality you normally get from P2P mmorpgs so it went F2P to sqeeze still something out of it. Yet I am certain this game will not make it another year :(

    Going to make a website with predictions ( 20 years gaming, wanna make it to good use ^^ )

    What the hell is "kwality"?

    LoL does do Pay-to-Win.  "Spend a year to get what you need to be good at Ladder...or just buy it!  You'll do better if you buy!  Look, you can even buy boosters!"  Very few people have gotten far on Ladder purely using the points you gain from playing matches without spending way too long grinding on a single game.

     

    @Article:  Blizzard gained popularity from Diablo 2?  What?  It wasn't that game before it...you know...that one called Starcraft?  The game that practically invented E-Sports.

    You cannot blame developers for maximizing on profits.  If they see people are stupid enough to buy a couch for $5, or an outfit for $10 that only lasts a month, or any the other crap people bought, why exactly is it the developer's fault?  Sure, maybe they shouldn't be so quick to cash in on stupidity, but that's what the players clearly showed they wanted.  Take WoW for example.  They released that paid mount that literally did nothing for you...and people ATE IT UP.  They sold hundreds of thousands of units before the content was even released!  Why would Blizzard NOT maximize on this?  It clearly works, people are clearly stupid and will buy anything.  Once some companies showed how easy it is to cash in on stupidity, are you really surprised that's the direction it went in?

    Let's not forget that WoW is both P2P AND Cash Shop.  It's both.  Hell, your own main example is Sims, a game that is Buy to play, and then with a Cash Shop.  It's not, "F2P is runing games!"  It's, "Morons who buy anything are ruining games!"

     
     

    I like what you're saying!  I wont' call people moronic tho, if they want to buy it, let them buy it.  Companies aren't here to please you anymore than it takes to make money.  In some cases people will pay large amounts for almost nothing and in other cases demand a large amount of stuff for almost no cost.  Consumerism at its finest in this industry frankly, the problem is people don't like it when something isn't the way THEY do it, or the way THEY like it.  This goes for everything really but gaming, games, and gaming models and the industry is to us "gamers" almost as important as religious debates or political ones.  Everyone has their opinion and their opinion is right, be damned with everyone elses eh?

    No I like what you say, it rings true.  Just..without the moron part, that's an opinion.

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member

    F2P is a cause for concern on eg iOS/Android app stores, not the top ranking games, but for other devs who want to develop an app for a sustainable profit, even 0.99$ is under threat. For mmorpgs, maybe it's not a bad thing, if it allows players to try more mmorpgs and stick with and spend on the ones that are good? Perhaps players will become innoculated to the nickel and dime approaches and "good forms" of F2P might develop/become more standard?

     

  • SpiiderSpiider BinzPosts: 474Member Uncommon

    The author sounds like those who used to say "video tapes will kill movie industry". Let go and embrace the future, f2p is how games will survive. Without it game would suck even more then they suck now. I for sure don't want to live in world of WOW any more. Bring on f2p, bring on huge selection and let me have a choice.

    No fate but what we make, so make me a ham sandwich please.

  • DarthMajinDarthMajin Sparta, WIPosts: 92Member
    The F2P business model isn't a bad concept. I personally think it's a great one. The problems I see with the model are the P2W (which is thrown around way too much) and developers not caring enough about their players to make a quality product. Sure some companies have used it to save a dieing game, for the most part to great success. If the game doesn't hamper you from questing and leveling (LORTO is a great example of hampering the questing) that make the game more enjoyable. Quest packs shouldn't be sold on a cash shop. The entire game should be available for everyone to play. Love or hate the game, Star Trek Online is a great example of how F2P should be run. The entire game is there for EVERYONE to enjoy. But if you want more out of it, buying new ships with cash is nice. This business model also allows players that normally can't afford an MMO to casually play. I know some people feel that if someone can't afford to play a game they shouldn't be able to, but there are circumstances that make a sub not an option, such as having kids, going to school, and seasonal work. It also helps friends play together. Some can afford the extra sub and their friends can't, but they can all enjoy a F2P game. Do some companies do F2P specifically because they are greedy? Sure. But if people enjoy their games and are happy with the services or virtual goods they provide, then what does it matter. If you don't agree with the model then just don't support it.
     

    image

  • CalerxesCalerxes LondonPosts: 1,630Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by SnarlingWolf

    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.

    Yeah, for some reason the "fact" that running an MMO is "cheap" has spread through the MMORPG forums pretty significantly.

     

    Bandwidth at that level, for that many people, with backups, all housed in a major center, and the servers, and the IT, and the CS, adds up to a significant amount of money.

     

    Some have swallowed the3 Arenanet "guide to promoting our MMO" handbook and then post it on here verbatim as if they are experts on the matter.

    This doom and gloom thread was brought to you by Chin Up™ the new ultra high caffeine soft drink for gamers who just need that boost of happiness after a long forum session.

  • freakingbad6freakingbad6 tampa, FLPosts: 5Member

    F2P isn't killing the gaming industry, the industry itself and the greed with cost of games and subscriptions is killing the gaming industry.  If I can find a free to play game that is just as well developed and as fun to play as one that costs, I'll play the free one.

    Perhaps if they weren't so damn greedy and charge you 60 dollars and up for the game then a subscription each week people wouldn't be looking to another avenue to play games.  Gamers love to play, I love to play, however, I don't see why I should pay so much money in order to play.

     

  • TithenonTithenon Fountain, COPosts: 109Member

    The article/OP was an excellent run-down of the history leading from the inception of MMOs to the current F2P environment, and I'm grateful for Derek's work on this.  He brought an excellent point, with a forthcoming conclusion I immediately see as potentially misguided; the point made was about developers coming up with new ways to counter people taking advantage where they should not do so.

    The conclusion is that the problem is not in the developers, it's in the people, in the communities.  Here are my ideas of how to fix it.

    A LOT of problems have arisen from the various communities, complainers, twitchers, about developers not doing this or not doing that, not developing all they said they would do, and much scorn can also be derived from multiple various articles and tutorials on this site, as well.  If players don't get what they want, or get what they said they were going to get, many turn into stark-raving lunatics, bash the developers -bash being a very light term for what these monkey's do- and bash the game.  This is true for in-game items, general requests for content, artwork, etc., and it's sad, because the community is responsible for not only the downfall of their own favorite or desired game, but for all of massively multiplayer gaming.

    So, at the risk of sounding like I'm simply adding another step in the MMO development process, another means of staving off the miscreants who work so very hard to destroy the game through their lack of consideration for others, I offer the following:

    Developers should go into a game, not have to change course necessarily in the middle of development, with the understanding they are only the first-half of the life of the game.  The second-half is the community and they need to plan for them.  How do they accomplish that?

    A LOT of what's been stolen from developers has to do with content, whether it's adventures, gear, abilities, clothing, etc.  Unfortunately, simultaneously, a lot of what's been ignored by developers is the ability of players to develop their own content for sale.  It would take effort on the developer's part, post-game launch, to monitor content loaded into a server separate of the game servers, which holds the development tools, to review and ensure that content is viable and useful for the game, and to ensure 3rd party developers are not trying to charge an arm and a leg for that content.  However, once the content is up in the cash shop -and make the shops a PART of the game, not an extra web page or a separate app or utility altogether, but part of the immersion of the game, if possible-, allow the 3PD to have 2/3rds of all "cash" sales, and the other 1/3rd goes to the developer.

    If there are, truly, that many people who want to develop in-game goods, and there are that many people who want to purchase it, and the developers are willing to provide the development tools, then why not allow that to take place?  It would be a win-win-win for everyone, giving the 1P developers, more or less, free income, the 3P developers a means of supplementing real income at home, and to build wealth and notoriety in the game, customers a large outlet for their non-gifted expressions, and would help cut back, at least, on the theft of those who would ruin the game, and bring MMORPGs to the ground solely for their real-world benefit.

    I can't be the only one thinking this, guys.

  • BrodieBroosBrodieBroos St. Charles, MOPosts: 32Member
    I think that the genre is going to crap because players just want to blow through the game, and Dev teams allow this. What happened to taking months or longer to get to the end game? And there is no risk vs reward in games anymore. Eve being an exception. Mmo's have been so dumbed down and tamed by the mass amount of people who just want to reach max level max gear at any cost. Not enjoying the trip along the way at all. It's not f2p or b2p that is ruining the genre, its the crap games that keep being released over and over again.
  • TithenonTithenon Fountain, COPosts: 109Member

    I absolutely 100% agree with you.  What we need is a return to Oblivion-style gaming, where there's a main quest, a meta-plot to move forward, and then several hundred side-tasks and full quests -real quests, not fetch me 10 bear skins and return- that allow for a sense of accomplishment, as it takes so much to get there, and takes more than the big three to do it, it actually requires some brain power and real cooperation between folks, not "You're the tank, I'm the healer, we need a...".

    I had read somewhere, and I was coming to believe, that MMO developers were intent on re-introducing stories into MMOs, similar to those in Secret World, but all I read about, anymore, is how quickly folks do blow through the game.  It's sad.

  • YakCastYakCast Private, KSPosts: 59Member
    Originally posted by erictlewis
    Originally posted by superniceguy

    It is not Free to Play that is killing gaming, it is the way it is being implemented that is killing the games.

    The only things that should be purchaseable in the shop are content packs, which unlock loads more quest to do, which get you specail items. But the way they do it is put these items in the store so you can get them without playing the game.

    eg LOTRO - They bring in mounts in the store which last for a limited period of time. If I see one expiring within 24 hours I will not have time to level up a character to 20, and get the Riding Skill, so what do I do, play until level 5, buy the Riding Skill, buy the Mount, and then not play the game.

    What they should do, is create content, that you can buy, and then play whenever with no time limit, when you reach the appropriate level, and get that mount.

    Alternatively the items could be added to the crafting professions, and be able to be crafted.

    The other things that are OK being purchased, are extra inventory slots (although in SWTOR these can be increased with in game credits), charcter transfers, renames, extra char slots etc

    Basically devs are being lazy putting in items in the shop when best played to get instead of bought with real money to get. Even XP boosts can be acquired by playing game or within crafting items.

    Free to play is mostly stealing gameplay, because it gets companies more money when people can buy it without having to play the game, in effect it is cheating.

    Seriously I could not have put it better.  I agree it is the way free to play is being implemented, there are several games eq2, lotro and so forth.

    What we wind  up with is the dev staff is to bussy doing re-skins of the same product over and over, meanwhile we dying to have real playable content.  I get so angry when I see soe on their facebook going hey take a look at the latest item we are offering in our item shop.   Argggg,   I don't want items I want content.

    Oh well I totally agree with what you have said.

     

    That is the answer! It's obvious for people who have common sense. Unfortunately, the editor who wrote this article has no clue what he is talking about. Trying to say that F2P started because of piracy is the biggest joke and so false.

    Yak Cast | MMO Podcast: http://www.yak.mmoSmackTalk.com
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  • TwiPhoenixTwiPhoenix Aion Correspondent Texarkana, TXPosts: 19Member

    Let's be honest here, this article is not complaining about free to play.  While yes, free to play does have DLC, cash shops, and all that, buy/pay to play also have all that too and can often be just as bad about it.  So really, the arguement here should be "DLC and micro-transactions are killing gaming", not F2P.  And those are two things that are a problem independent of the payment model of any given game.

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member
    Originally posted by TwiPhoenix

    Let's be honest here, this article is not complaining about free to play.  While yes, free to play does have DLC, cash shops, and all that, buy/pay to play also have all that too and can often be just as bad about it.  So really, the arguement here should be "DLC and micro-transactions are killing gaming", not F2P.  And those are two things that are a problem independent of the payment model of any given game.

    agreed

  • TithenonTithenon Fountain, COPosts: 109Member

    Good points, TwiPhoenix; well-done.

  • kitaradkitarad RomePosts: 1,739Member Uncommon
    While some sub games do have cash shops they are not nearly as bad as the f2p games. Those really abuse it. In fact they make it almost impossible to play without purchasing stuff. That is the problem not so much cash shops as such but cash shops that become compulsory purchases to advance.

    image

  • Paradigm68Paradigm68 New York, NYPosts: 884Member Uncommon

    My personal preference against RMT and Cash Shops is merely that I play to relax and a big part of relaxing means not having to reach for my wallet or think about if my game is complete or not.

    That aside  the main objection I have to the F2P/Cash Shop/RMT dynamic in MMO's is that it by it's very nature forces devs to focus development on how to get me into the shop rather, how to make me want to spend money, rather than how to keep me interested enough in the gameplay in keep subbed. And of course the way to get me into the shop, the way to make me want to buy stuff, generally means frustrating the player, keeping things just out of reach, creating a stark contrast between working hard for a reward (if possible) and getting it easily for money. This also negatively impacts the community because why should devs let players do things for each other when those things can be sold by the devs to the players.

    I can see how that would be ok for other genre's of video games, but it's antithetical to a genre that is supposed to be a persistant shared world in which a community forms.

  • Xstatic912Xstatic912 New York, NYPosts: 365Member
    Regarding mmo in general, why the hell does every new sub mmo being release think they are worth $15 a month.. Why not other lower price point..
  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member
    Originally posted by kitarad
    While some sub games do have cash shops they are not nearly as bad as the f2p games.

    True. For most games anyway, but I am after my breaking point for cash shops.  I won't tolerate even vanity cash shop / gold selling / rmah.

  • TalulaRoseTalulaRose Long Island, NYPosts: 480Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by megabuu
    The F2P business model isn't a bad concept. I personally think it's a great one. The problems I see with the model are the P2W (which is thrown around way too much) and developers not caring enough about their players to make a quality product. Sure some companies have used it to save a dieing game, for the most part to great success. If the game doesn't hamper you from questing and leveling (LORTO is a great example of hampering the questing) that make the game more enjoyable. Quest packs shouldn't be sold on a cash shop. The entire game should be available for everyone to play. Love or hate the game, Star Trek Online is a great example of how F2P should be run. The entire game is there for EVERYONE to enjoy. But if you want more out of it, buying new ships with cash is nice. This business model also allows players that normally can't afford an MMO to casually play. I know some people feel that if someone can't afford to play a game they shouldn't be able to, but there are circumstances that make a sub not an option, such as having kids, going to school, and seasonal work. It also helps friends play together. Some can afford the extra sub and their friends can't, but they can all enjoy a F2P game. Do some companies do F2P specifically because they are greedy? Sure. But if people enjoy their games and are happy with the services or virtual goods they provide, then what does it matter. If you don't agree with the model then just don't support it.
     

    STO wasn't created as F2P. Look at Perfect World if you want to talk about F2P. There is a big difference in quality between games that were a sub and went F2P and ones that were F2P to begin with. There is a reason why no one talks about Jade Dynasty, PWI and Forsaken World.

  • erikk3189erikk3189 New York City, NYPosts: 306Member

    What today's so called "gamers" fail to realize is in MMO's, free is never free. Yes, you'll get the basics as will everyone else but unless you want to lag behind other players then you've no choice but to pay for the items the game will sell like gear, mounts and much more to keep up with them.

     

  • troublmakertroublmaker St. George''s, NFPosts: 337Member

    In 1992 the biggest browser in the world was Netscape, which cost money to purchase.  Netscape  often came with Internet service as a part of a bundle.

    In 1995 Internet Explorer was released as part of a Windows 95 startup package.  A few months later it was free.

    By Netscape represented less than 1% of the entire browser market share.

    Website: http://www.thegameguru.me / YouTube:

  • jaeaxpjaeaxp Astoria, NYPosts: 1Member

    Eh hem... video games will pull in $74 billion this year alone and are projected to rake in a staggering $115 billion a year by 2015.

    NOTHING is killing gaming, simply put. lol

    But seriously though am i the only one who sees it the other way around?  How many sub mmo's would have gone the way of the dinosaur if it didn't go to f2p model... only problem is too many damn sub-par f2p games are out/comming out, but hey, let them keep makiing them, it's not charging me anything to play.

  • defector1968defector1968 Nar ShaddaaPosts: 393Member Common

    free to play games always gives to creator lesser money than a subed game. Also gives lesser content to players.

    Its a good solution for the companies to keep alive their games.

    With so many MMOs these days doesnt killing gaming.

    In fact its good for the lovers of a game, without the f2p, they can't continue playing their favorite game.

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