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[Editorial] General: How F2P Is Killing Gaming – Part Two

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,596MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

In our latest editorial, we continue our look at the notion that "free to play" games are somehow killing gaming overall. Be sure to read this thoughtful piece and then weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

The continual letdown from subscription games has also given a large rise to the popularity of the free-to-play mechanic. Who can blame gamers, after titles like Final Fantasy XIV, Star Wars Galaxies, Dragon Age II, Call of Duty: Black Ops and numerous other terrible releases, for not wanting to drop their hard-earned money on a mediocre title?  FF14 even had the nerve to charge people to pay by the month while the game was being fixed, despite it being so bad that the developers even apologized to their fanbase for it.  

Read more of Derek Czerkaski's How F2P Is Killing Gaming – Part Two.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • nerbienerbie ManilaPosts: 2Member
    I'm into Paid titles but in our country F2P MMORPG titles survived for years while Paid once lifespan is shorter. Well I personally  leave that to the business men and women as I'm sure they made a market research first before deciding to make their product and services F2P. 
  • Pale_FirePale_Fire San Antonio, TXPosts: 360Member Uncommon
    Totally agree with the comments about community and I truly hope there remains a place for sub models in the industry. 
  • VolgoreVolgore Posts: 2,207Member Uncommon

    "...after titles like Final Fantasy XIV, Star Wars Galaxies"

    Guess you meant TOR?

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  • YakamomotoYakamomoto Osaka, ARPosts: 363Member
    SWG was not a terrible title
  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,183Member Uncommon
    the one thing I object to in f2p right now is the gambling.  Many of these item shops offer items for sale that once in a while have a good item in them.  That just ruins a game in my mind.
  • ChtugaChtuga OsloPosts: 113Member
    Very good article, spot on
  • PurutzilPurutzil East Stroudsburg, PAPosts: 2,924Member Uncommon
    The main reason G2P is hurting gaming isn't that they exist as much as the fact there are SO MANY F2P games out there.The over-abundance of them is what is driving down games. This is only made worst by many of them being cash grabs that in some aspects work.
  • TamanousTamanous Edmonton, ABPosts: 2,125Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Yakamomoto
    SWG was not a terrible title

    Actually it mostly was. What was good about of offset with what was horribly wrong.

     

    Every single poster acting like SWG was God's gift to mmo's needs to ponder why it was bleeding subs and a ghost town long before even the NGE killed it off.

     

    It was a game for people who loved to farm and play house but the actual explorable worlds, physics and combat mechanics were some of the worst implemented in any mmo. What worked in SWG could have been a Facebook app like farmville.

     

    SWGs greatest legacy will be as the perfect mmo ever created and bottled within a rose-coloured snow globe who's memory will never be tarnished in the minds of the <50k players who played with any regularity over the years and 10k or so peak players in recent years.

     

    I support small community gaming but when you slap on the name of one of the biggest IP's in the history of human-kind and never peaked higher than 350k subs with 90+% playerbase bleed over a short term after release, there was a serious problem with the game.

     

    As for F2P, I have voiced my concerns about it many times. It's greatest impact on mmo's is it's destruction to player communities and immersion. Every single element offered outside of the virtual world environment breaks immersion. F2P also supports casual gaming by creating a two class system where free players cannot compete with premium players and time gated rewards are bypassed through CS purchasing effectively removing the casual playerbase from the community otherwise bound to ingame playing in a sub model. P2W will always enter the equation in some way as well despite developer promises.

     

    No matter the various reasons, each and every time a player has to pop open the CS it breaks the very core concept of any virtual world ... immersion. The division is becoming decisive. Truly immersive mmo's (ie. sandbox and rpg style gameplay) will only hurt their core audience if they go f2p or never develope a sense of community past individual guilds. Developers need to balance the benefits of consistant income from a long term, solid community or potentially higher peak gains from CS earnings from extremely low percentage high paying players and casual players who contribute nothing to in game community building. Losing a game's core audience is the greatest result of f2p.

     

    A f2p game will never, ever build a community like the games of old where you not only often know most the players on your own server but also many from other servers due to such a tight knit in game community. This is mostly opinion based on experience and despite other contributing factors but certainly is a view expressed vocally by more and more players. F2p is a cultural issue and a model still under development imo.

    You stay sassy!

  • DihoruDihoru ConstantaPosts: 2,731Member

    "Who can blame gamers, after titles like Final Fantasy XIV, Star Wars Galaxies, Dragon Age II, Call of Duty: Black Ops"

    So let me get this straight you're saying Star Wars The Old Wallet Rape is better than Star Wars Galaxies (even post-NGE) ? Dear God Sir remove your cranium from your boss's rectal orifice,  your site is losing more credibility by the day defending the TORtanic.

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  • lunarsporelunarspore noneofyourbusinessville, ORPosts: 4Member

    Free to play is a much more complicated and nuanced business model than subscriptions, and it's going to take a while before developers have the experience and data to make F2P games that avoid all the pitfalls mentioned in this article.  Saying that F2P is ruining games is totally off base and short sighted though.  

     

    This model allows gamers to literally vote with their wallets feature-by-feature.  Subscriptions never gave that kind of power to players.  I guarantee in another 5 years or so when the F2P model has been honed to a science, this article will look silly in retrospect.

     
  • TamanousTamanous Edmonton, ABPosts: 2,125Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Dihoru

    "Who can blame gamers, after titles like Final Fantasy XIV, Star Wars Galaxies, Dragon Age II, Call of Duty: Black Ops"

    So let me get this straight you're saying Star Wars The Old Wallet Rape is better than Star Wars Galaxies (even post-NGE) ? Dear God Sir remove your cranium from your boss's rectal orifice,  your site is losing more credibility by the day defending the TORtanic.

    Seems to be they meant SWTOR and not SWG. SWG was flawed yet an original concept worth attempting. Plus it isn't even remotely within the time period of the other game releases. It makes no sense being in the sentence. Granted this site's "paid review" score of SWTOR is some serious psychoactive drug distribution.

    You stay sassy!

  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,441Member Uncommon

    I really don't need much an editorial to understand economics and cost/profit.

    Game developers are going for a % of profit on the investment.F2p offers zero chance of gaining back any investment over and above what the developer deemed the profit the margin they need.

    So you are going to get a game that right from day 1 is locked into a cost/timeline.This means MANy corners will be cut from delivering a AAA title.This also means as the timeline nears,certain decisions are made on what content continues to be finished and what content nmeeds to be scrapped.

    What i don't like is the developers then sit down and devise a way to mislead us and tell us all kinds of bull to make it sound like their decisions were all about us the gamers and not about THEIR cost/profit/deadline.

    I am not so sure about EQ1 but i do know FFXI is maybe one of the VERY few games that decided to just make the game they envisioned and worry about the profit down the road.When FFXI was released they figured a 5+ year recovery time and only then a profit would start.

    Developers nowdays are looking for INSTANT profits,that way there is nothing to leave to HOPE.Even iof a game fails now,they don't care as long as they met their initial profit/sales the rest is gravy.

    Where the new wave idea can fail is if a developer or it's board members over rate therirown product.

    I am also in belief that F2p games have no intention whatsoever to deliver content beyond release.They wait and see how the game is perceived and then begin to roll out new maps and a few ideas.

    I have NEVER seen an xpac worth the cost.Games take 3-5 years tro develop and cost 60 bucks.Xpacs take 5-12 months and usually ask for 30-50 bucks.There is a bigtime math fail there,one is at 5-10 bucks a year and the xpacs are at 5-15 bucks a month.


    Samoan Diamond

  • TamanousTamanous Edmonton, ABPosts: 2,125Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lunarspore

     

     

    This model allows gamers to literally vote with their wallets feature-by-feature.  Subscriptions never gave that kind of power to players.  I guarantee in another 5 years or so when the F2P model has been honed to a science, this article will look silly in retrospect.

     

    In 5 years f2p will likely have already destroyed most of the mmo community. I have no faith in where the direction of honing the model will go. Every single f2p game I have played has already proven that CS purchasing directly impacts the develpmental direction and content of the game. The vision of an immersive mmo geared toward creating full immersion within it's virtual environment will not be the primary force behind content creation if a CS drives income.

     

    In some games today this is so extreme that 80+% of the games income comes from <5% of the playerbase. I have yet to see even a single company prove their CS does not cater in any way to that <5%. You will end up logging into a world defined by it's highest paying customers and not a game driven by the vision of it's developers.

    You stay sassy!

  • Druid_UKDruid_UK RotherhamPosts: 58Member
    The so-called "community" in FTP/PTW games is atrocious at best compared to what it used to be in full-on subscription model games. More FTP/PTW can only make things worse.

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    Pay-to-Win / F2P will be the death of real gaming, Boycott it !!

  • madazzmadazz A town, ONPosts: 1,564Member Uncommon
    Wow... REALLY late to join the F2P is killing gaming party... welcome.
  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    Star Wars Galaxies? Is this a joke? That game was 100 times the game compared to SW:TOR and probably with 100th the budget.
  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,273Member Uncommon

     "Can you think of a time when customer service in the gaming industry was less then deplorable? You get what you pay for."

     

    preach on brother.  

  • kaiser3282kaiser3282 Phoenix, AZPosts: 2,690Member Uncommon

    Still dont get the repeated reference to single purchase non subscription / non-MMO games just like in part 1,  like DA2 and CoD.

    Anyway. While I agree the community for the most part has gone to hell, I dont really see how any of what was said applies to F2P, or is caused by F2P. I think many of us would agree theres plenty of P2P games with terrible communities that have been around for years. For example WoW. WoW is constantly picked on for its community. Its been around since before F2P became very popular, has a subscription, and is one of the biggest successes in the history of MMOs. Many also feel games like WoW, with their appeal to the masses of previously non-MMO players, the "gimme now" attitude that they cater to, and the community that it brought about has been the biggest downfall of all in the MMO community.

    Same goes witht he game hoppers as well. WoW brought in a very big wave of game hoppers. They play WoW for a few years, started getting bored, and now hop into new games, both P2P and F2P, looking for something new. Then whats the 1 thing you constantly see spouted in chat? "OMG this game sucks. WoW is so much better". Then they either a) hop to a new game or b) stick it out for awhile, the entire time still complaining how its not as good as WoW.

    WoW is just one example, and the largest at the moment. But its far from the only one. Theres very few P2P games left where people actually look at them as having a good community (EVE, Ryzom, possibly Vanguard come to mind). Sub or not, people will still act like asshats, and people will still game hop.

  • JenuvielJenuviel Seattle, WAPosts: 960Member

    I'm not totally against free-to-play games, but I'm bothered that they seem to be eliminating the alternative (or getting bundled with that alternative in the same product). There are very different design philosophies between cash shop and subscription-based games. Cash shop games pay for their design and upkeep by selling products, subscription-based games do that by selling a service. The market should be large enough to support both models, because they frequently appeal to different types of consumers.

     

    In my experience, subscription games tend to "try harder" to keep you around, because they die a painful death if they don't. Now, they're not always successful with this, but their whole business model is based upon not only on making a player happy, but keeping them happy. Cash shop games, on the other hand, tend to be more about creating short-term demand and supplying that demand via real currency purchases, then relying on those purchases to keep you tethered to the game for the long-term.*

     

    In any case, there's room for both models, but the industry seems to be hell-bent on binary solutions. WoW's successful? Let's make everything like WoW. Free-to-play's successful? Let's make everything free-to-play. Don't. Just don't. The greatest strength of any entertainment medium is variety. I don't want to watch twenty different versions of "Law & Order," I want to watch a little "Doctor Who," a little bit of "the Wire,"  maybe see who wins the Mark Twain Prize, etc.

     

    Conformity rarely results in art, and art should be what game designers aspire to. The mission statement those designers should be using is, to borrow a line from a great YouTuber (MrBtongue),:

     

    Let's make games.

    And in order to do that, we need to make money.

     

    It should not be:

     

    Let's make money.

    And in order to do that, we need to make games.

     

    It feels like we've been stuck in that second train of thought for years now.

     

     

    *(If travel distances are intentionally huge, that $14.95 mount is going to look irresistible; spend $14.95 enough times, and you're far less likely to walk away from a title even if you're no longer enjoying it, because it represents an investment rather than a hobby).

     

  • MadnessRealmMadnessRealm Montreal, QCPosts: 2,716Member Uncommon

    Let's get a 2 things right here.

     

    After Square Enix developers admitted that Final Fantasy 14 wasn't a good game, they supported the game completely FREE for over a year. They only began to recharge earlier this year, at a lowered price, because after all the major patches, they felt happy enough with the state of the game to start charging again (and the game did improve quite a bit).

     

    On the community aspect, blaming it on F2Ps is absolutely ridiculous. You don't even need to look too far to see how it has nothing to do with the business model, and everything to do with the  gaming industry attracting more people to gaming and the games themselves focusing more on single player activities despite being an MMORPG. Look at WoW, EVE, DarkFall...although a part of their community is very mature, they also have a very immature part as well. Console games...not F2P games there, yet there are so many players who have nothing but vile things to say. Suffice to say, it has nothing to do with the business model.

    Another misguided accusation.

     

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    Your daily dose of common sense since 2009!

  • LarsaLarsa NurembergPosts: 990Member

    So, this is an editorial, i.e. "an article in a publication expressing the opinion of its editors or publishers". (Quote from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/editorial). Or do the editors and publishers here just don't know what an editorial is?

    Awfully sorry, but I find the article (and part one of it as well), let's say, pretty amateur writing. One wonders why the subscription games get high review scores here when the editors think they're a "continual letdown".

    I maintain this List of Sandbox MMORPGs. Please post or send PM for corrections and suggestions.

  • MoeMoeKyunMoeMoeKyun Charleston, SCPosts: 75Member
    how does it feel if u buy a new PC title & can't sell it as 2nd hand later since u have to register every new PC games u bought  nowadays on steam... i guess these ppl needs to blame themselves, not teh consumers....
     
    i liek to play F2P but it depends who publish it... but i have a very bad experience on AeriaGames regarding bout P2W & gambling stuffs...
  • AdamTMAdamTM Frankfurt Am MainPosts: 1,376Member
    Originally posted by Larsa

    So, this is an editorial, i.e. "an article in a publication expressing the opinion of its editors or publishers". (Quote from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/editorial). Or do the editors and publishers here just don't know what an editorial is?

    Awfully sorry, but I find the article (and part one of it as well), let's say, pretty amateur writing. One wonders why the subscription games get high review scores here when the editors think they're a "continual letdown".

    The writers on this site never had a clear grasp on what they are actually doing.

    I'm only here for the forums.

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  • TamanousTamanous Edmonton, ABPosts: 2,125Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by MadnessRealm

    Let's get a 2 things right here.

     

    After Square Enix developers admitted that Final Fantasy 14 wasn't a good game, they supported the game completely FREE for over a year. They only began to recharge earlier this year, at a lowered price, because after all the major patches, they felt happy enough with the state of the game to start charging again (and the game did improve quite a bit).

     

    On the community aspect, blaming it on F2Ps is absolutely ridiculous. You don't even need to look too far to see how it has nothing to do with the business model, and everything to do with the  gaming industry attracting more people to gaming and the games themselves focusing more on single player activities despite being an MMORPG. Look at WoW, EVE, DarkFall...although a part of their community is very mature, they also have a very immature part as well. Console games...not F2P games there, yet there are so many players who have nothing but vile things to say. Suffice to say, it has nothing to do with the business model.

    Another misguided accusation.

     

    Contributing factor ... not the only factor. You should try to understand the difference. You obviously have not been part of a community prior to the game going F2P and then witnessed the dramatic change in community after. The impact on Lotro was severe and immediate and has evolved into an entirely different game since. It plays a part. It plays a part in a way most do not understand by both direct and indirect measures. 

     

    The examples you give are games where the community is either very large and community fracture is inevitable or also very competitive which offers it's own unique twist on community relations. To think someone saying F2P affects community is the only reason behind community synergy is obtuse in the extreme. When an article discusses on particular subject you tend to focus your replies on that subject. It does not insinuate no other meaningful issues exist within the mmo genre.

     

    To sum up the naivety of your post with a question:  What honestly do you think would happen to the community in Wow if they suddenly went entirely F2P with in game cash store?

     

    That should truly test your understanding of the F2P model.

    You stay sassy!

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

    Blaming the growth of free to play games to a weak community is like blaming the growth of low income housing to the death of your inner city community.

    No the real killer for the community is the growth of the industry period.  When there was a community it was because the industry was so niche that maybe only a million or two were actually doing it.  Now you're looking at an industry of 50-100M people.  When your population booms the specialness of small numbers vanishes.

    It has nothing at all to do with the free to play model.  The fact that the free to play model has increased the size of the community total by trying to get people to play their games means THEIR communities are probably bad.

    If anything you might be able to attribute the death of the community in cities instead on the increase in low income housing but instead on the decrease of high income housing.  There are TONES of communities in my city... you just have to go to the suburbs which are technically outside of city limits to get to it.  Beyond those burbs the rest of the city is immigrants... new arrivals.

    If you need further proof look to World of Warcraft, which isn't free to play.  This game is huge and barely has a community, not a free to play game.  On the other hand Eve's community is so small that they work with the developers to help develop the game.

    I think the author has confused correlation with causation.

    Next up why having high self esteem doesn't cause high performance in school.

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

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