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[Column] General: F2P and the Consumer Choice Narrative

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Comments

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,643Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Foncl

    Nice try pushing F2P with phrases like " freedom of choice" and "consumer freedom". I'll use my freedom of choice to not support the trend of P2W, F2P games.

     

    Who is Som Pourfazaneh and did he write this F2P propaganda on his own initiative or did someone pay him to write this?

     

    Oh, the piece is full of it... including labelling the sub as 'archaic' (when in truth no model is modern or 'archaic', all are contemporary) in an attempt to make one look outdated and the other 'the future'.

     

    This is despite, as has been proven, so called 'F2P' needing the sub to prop it up in the face of a transient freeloading non committed F2P player base. Some 'future model' eh?

     

    Funny how pieces like this never talk about the durability and attraction of the sub... so much in fact that games that switch to 'F2P' still have to offer it.

     

    But then MMORPG.com articles don't ever look at the sub in anything but a critical light, proclaiming their death and the hidden cost cash shop the new saviour or something.

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,643Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Rossboss
    Originally posted by lugal
    I wonder how much money the writers and editors get paid to promote f2p? It is well documented that game journalists are on the take and will do as they are told by their masters.
    The more articles they publish to herald f2p as the next best thing since sliced bread, the more obvious they are on the take. Wish the journalists would hold the game developers accountable for poor quality games, for f2p will not resolve the current problem we as gamers face, poor game quality at launch.

    Let me go get my tin foil hat for you.

     

    What a cheap way of debasing and dismissing a point without having the actually address it in any way.

     

    I am *not* saying this is a F2P shill piece, but do you actually believe opinion forming sites on the internet are *not* used to engineer the popular view on big dollar business practises?

  • HjorulvHjorulv Grand Chute, WIPosts: 15Member

    After playing sub and f2p games, I would much rather have games with a sub.  With a sub game at least the players have some leverage with the game company as far as game content, fixing items, etc.  If players don't get what they want or the company doesn't fix problems, they cancel their subs and the company loses money.  The company with a sub fee has a vested interest in keeping things running properly and in adding content the majority of players want.  They also have a relatively stable income which can support the addition of content to the game.

    As far as f2p games go, once you have purchased the game, the company has no financial incentive to fix anything or to add any content except that which has ties to the game's cash shop.  GW2 is a perfect example.  They launched the game without fixing problems with events, quests, etc. that were found in beta and in fact, many of those problems have never been fixed.  Events have always had strong ties to cash shop items, always including some kind of chest, or something similar, with a ridiculously low chance of yielding an item which many people have an interest in obtaining.  It amounts to be nothing more than a pixelated scratch-off lottery ticket with a much lower payback.  The f2p game company will have no interest in making the community as a whole happy.  Their interest will be focused on those that spend real-life cash in the game's store in order to maintain a profit margin.  Earnings for the game will flux with player expenditures so it will be harder to support long-term content additions and expansions.  There will be smaller content additions which may go nowhere if no supported by player spending in the online game shop.

    That said, I can see more gaming companies going to the f2p model because it basically lets them hype a game, sell a bunch of copies of it to get back the money spent in design, etc. along with a profit and then they don't really need to do anything past that point.  They can throw in some minor content additions, etc as long as the game's cash shop revenues support it, but when those dwindle, they cut bait and let the game spiral down the drain.  Time to release another game.  Some people will say the company will get a bad rep and people won't buy future games put out by them.  Maybe some won't, but people in general have short memories and if the game sounds good enough, they'll lay down the cash for it.

  • eric_w66eric_w66 North Richland Hills, TXPosts: 1,006Member Uncommon

    My problem with "F2P" (which is anything but for the most part) is that once the marketing majors got ahold of the idea that it makes them more money, I lost value in the games I want to play.

     

    What $15 a month used to get me in a sub based game, now doesn't go nearly as far in a cash shop based game. All because people thought they were getting a better deal by paying piece meal.

     

    There's a reason why the milk is always in far back corner of the grocery store, and the F2P fanboys are why.

  • tiddytiddy londonPosts: 23Member

    There's nothing postive about the recent trend in games going F2P. MMO'ers deciding that these MMORPGs arnt worth a 15 dollar/mth sub fee speaks volumes for these games and the F2P market.....Please lets not start encouraging F2P MMORPGs.  

  • jbombardjbombard SapporoPosts: 531Member Uncommon

    I think non-sub games are great in that they free you to play when you want to play.  The problem with subs is that I feel like I should be playing since I am paying, kind of like how I always overeat when I got to an all you can eat buffet, I want to get my moneys worth.  

     

    The obvious down side is that so many F2P games are crap.  Many are only loosely free in the sense that if you want to actually have fun then you have to pay, but you are free to grind.  When you start making games not fun by default, and making users pay to make the game non-grindy and convenient, I think the model sucks.  I was very sad to see this appears to be what they are doing with Neverwinter.

     

    What I wish more games did was a system where you don't need a sub, and just pay to unlock new content.  Kind of like buying the old PNP D&D modules.   I know not everyone is happy with this kind of system, but I personally don't mind buying new content as long as the price is appropriate to the amount of content.  Still even in this case, the core of the game needs to be free, and new content needs to be optional new content not required for progression new content.

  • FromHellFromHell NY, NYPosts: 1,311Member

    so what do I read from some of the economy experts above...

    All games should be free at launch

    All games should get free updates forever, at best monthly, and bug free

    No game should have a cash shop, because hey.. "FREEE GAME!!"

     

    Yes, I want my 5 Dollar neverending ever running monthly content gimme all for free MMO!

    I'll take TEN, wrap it in gift paper!

    Secrets of Dragon?s Spine Trailer.. ! :D
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    Best MMOs ever played: Ultima, EvE, SW Galaxies, Age of Conan, The Secret World
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  • PlageronPlageron Some Where, WAPosts: 109Member

    I persoanly believe the free to play model is the furture...however i do think that also there will always be a form of subscription service included...and the usual life time subscriptions.

    What i mean by this is....sure there will be the ability to play for free....with some stipulation.....star wars the old republic for example is a horrible version of this...The secret world and Star Trek Online and Jade Dynasty for example are more in line with what the eventual free to play models will be.

    I envision the user will be free to play...maybe at home...on a computer...etc....with options for a subscription that will let them support their favorite game or publisher...but also the subscription will give the user the ability to use the game where ever they want.

    This makes sense to me...becasue i understand how so many players feel...in that they may not have the money to play...and i also understand how others feel witht he fact that with out a constant revenue stream their favorite game wont get the attention or extra content that a subscription is more likely to bring.

    Right now I have a number of life time subscriptions....but i still use the cash shops too...when i can....my reason is simple....i want to support the game developers creating things...I dont always have cash...sooo...paying a subscription isnt always a good idea for me....but i do try to contribute with the cash shops.....there have been a number of games that have gone away silently in the night....and we as players.....we have an obligation to not let our favored games simply vanish like that....so just becasue they have microtransactions or a cash shop....please..please....support your game.

     

  • ShadanwolfShadanwolf Posts: 2,114Member Uncommon
    Our budget for extras is non existant.My wife is paying a $15 sub.I could not imagine 2  $15   subs given the state of our economy and our family budget.
  • FallguyArmyFallguyArmy Davenport, FLPosts: 80Member
    I prefer B2P as it just makes more sense in my opinion. But at least TERA got the F2P "restrictions" right, so there might be hope after all...
  • HrimnirHrimnir Qeynos, COPosts: 1,597Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Shadanwolf
    Our budget for extras is non existant.My wife is paying a $15 sub.I could not imagine 2  $15   subs given the state of our economy and our family budget.

    I'm sorry bro, but if you guys are so strapped that you can barely afford $15/mo for a game, you should be using that money for something more important.

    My reccomendation, if you have cable TV, cancel it, will save you $60-100/mo and you can pay for netflix streaming and have a good amount of TV/Movie content streaming.

    If you have a cell phone with a data plan. Cancel it, get a regular cell phone, and just use your smart phone where you have wifi, like at work or at your house. 

    "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

    - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • mymmomymmo StockholmPosts: 300Member

    An economist and/or psychologist would likely have more to say about this narrative as it relates to larger themes relating to freedom of choice, but there does seem to be some alignment with consumer choice and social ideals prevalent in Western countries relating to individualism.  The United States in particular prides itself on individual freedoms, and one wonders if the MMO free-to-play model is a microcosm that represents wider narratives of choice.

    Or its a way for the company to adapte to a consumer that wants everything for free. Its not about choices , but nice try :)

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  • DartmedDartmed AthensPosts: 36Member

    I will not try and defend either Subscription based or F2P games since both have good and bad in them. It’s all in the implementation and also it comes down to how good a game feels to someone to want to spend money on it. The way anyone chooses to spend money on a game reflects his/hers feelings on the actual gameplay since obviously in both cases gameplay is build around monetization.

    One thing concerns me though…

    Consider the average MMO player that has played a sub based game (say WOW) for about 2 years. This guy has spend about 200 euros (more actually) not adding box prices , expansions etc. Now this guys has decided to cancel the subscription and as such he has lost all access to a game that he has bough . This only happens on MMO subscription based games since in no case a byer loses access to his/hers purchase in any other case of games even if the buyer doesn’t want to play anymore.

    My conclusion is that when we play a sub based game “we rent the game” and not actually OWN it …

    PS: Sorry for my English since it’s not native to me 

  • MurlockDanceMurlockDance ParisPosts: 1,223Member
    Originally posted by Dartmed

    I will not try and defend either Subscription based or F2P games since both have good and bad in them. It’s all in the implementation and also it comes down to how good a game feels to someone to want to spend money on it. The way anyone chooses to spend money on a game reflects his/hers feelings on the actual gameplay since obviously in both cases gameplay is build around monetization.

    One thing concerns me though…

    Consider the average MMO player that has played a sub based game (say WOW) for about 2 years. This guy has spend about 200 euros (more actually) not adding box prices , expansions etc. Now this guys has decided to cancel the subscription and as such he has lost all access to a game that he has bough . This only happens on MMO subscription based games since in no case a byer loses access to his/hers purchase in any other case of games even if the buyer doesn’t want to play anymore.

    My conclusion is that when we play a sub based game “we rent the game” and not actually OWN it …

    PS: Sorry for my English since it’s not native to me 

    But it is clearly stated on the box that you buy that this is the case (that you need subscription to continue playing). If you want to have access to the game, you just get another subscription, that is all. The thing about other games is that they do not have persistent worlds, data saved on their servers, a live customer service that deals with issues directly ingame, etc. You can't really compare MMORPGs with persistent worlds to single player or lobby-based games where you do not have the same services.

    I like hybrid games that allow you good choices for à la carte play or subscription play. They allow you to go free for the months you do not want to subscribe, give you cash shop currency for the months you subscribe so that you can unlock some of the stuff à la carte, and you get the best of both worlds.

    If I play heavily and don't have things unlocked, I prefer a subscription. If I know I won't have time to spend on the game, I prefer having the ability to let my sub expire and play for free every now and then. The upfront cost of unlocking everything via the cash shop is too expensive in most cases for the amount of time I will invest in a game. Subscribing for a few months is better over all unless I really like the game and realize I could be in it for years, then it makes more sense to unlock stuff.

    So far, I have not come across an MMORPG with a hybrid model that I wanted to play for several years, therefore I almost always subscribe for a little while.

    I also do not know where the figure 200 €/year comes from. Most year-long subscriptions I have seen are in the 150 € range...

    Playing MUDs and MMOs since 1994.

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  • ScottgunScottgun Williamsville, NYPosts: 356Member
    This sounds like a gamer print magazine--always behind the news by months if not years. The fact is that f2p oversaturated the market  long ago and is only still alive because they are decent cash grabs in a struggling economy. With few exceptions the games themselves Suck. All. Day. Long. and the few exceptions aspire to mediocrity. For mmorpgs, F2P is like a dinner theater and subscription is an opera house. I can expect my local dinner theater to put on a competent production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. I can't expect them to pull off a a production of Wagner's Ring cycle. For that you need a big house, well-endowed financially, a huge company of behind-the-scenes workers, an A-list cast, and a director with his head screwed on right. AAA companies and f2p are a recipe for failure.

    Now we're calling prostitutes "sex workers". What's next? Calling hit men "end-of-life technicians"?

  • GrayGhost79GrayGhost79 Webster, MAPosts: 4,813Member

    The reality of it is that the current F2P surge isn't to give consumers choice, it's because consumers have a choice. Less time, effort, and money is being put into the actual development of a large number of these Pay to Play MMO's and it's showing.

     

    In years past F2P MMO's had extremely smaller development budgets. The games lack quality, polish, and content. They were sub par MMO's. They weren't really "Bad" but they simply did not warrant a premium. While many Pay to Play MMOs weren't as good as they could have been they were still a better choice than many Free to Plays and even then there really wasn't a great deal of choice between Pay to Plays. Todays market is a great deal different. 

     

    In todays market Free to Play development budgets have increased while Pay to Play actual development budgets have decreased. I know someone is going to say "Oh but SWTOR had a 200million dollar development budget" but the reality of it is that they did not. The bulk of the budget for SWTOR went to other areas rather than development cost. The largest portion of that budget was for marketing and advertising alone. Another big chunk went to the use of the IP and licensing the engine. After all this another large portion went to Voice actors ( The game was released in Multiple Languages and Voice actors were needed for each) and such. Actual game development saw very little of that 200 million dollar budget. 

     

    In the end what players were presented with was a semi interactive movie that was decent for about a month but never really warranted a monthly fee. Now faced with this and the fact that players actually have a choice now days with MMOs, they simply left. This forced EA to change the subscription model. It wasn't done to give players a choice in how they paid for the game, it wasn't done to give players the ability to play other MMO's along side SWTOR, it was done out of neccessity because of the low value of the game. 

     

    For an MMO in the current market to be pay to play it has to deliver an experience worth paying monthly for. Thats the bottom line. Many simply do not. I mean anything you launch as a pay to play not only has to compete with MMOs like Rift and WoW in quality, content, and polish but also games like GW2 and TSW which offer the same but actually charge less. Then on top of that you have a slew of decent free to play games to compete with like Allods, now TERA, Planet Side 2, etc. 

     

    Its a competitive market now days and these formula driven cash machines can not survive in it while charging a premium. With the rise of Indies things get even more complicated. Things like Kickstarter are allowing more and more into the market. 

     

     

  • ET3DET3D Posts: 227Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by GrayGhost79

    For an MMO in the current market to be pay to play it has to deliver an experience worth paying monthly for. Thats the bottom line. Many simply do not. I mean anything you launch as a pay to play not only has to compete with MMOs like Rift and WoW in quality, content, and polish but also games like GW2 and TSW which offer the same but actually charge less. Then on top of that you have a slew of decent free to play games to compete with like Allods, now TERA, Planet Side 2, etc.

    I agree. I think that's the main reason things will continue to be F2P. It's simply hard to compete with established games, especially when they are F2P. Since F2P seems to work well to extend the life of most games, that competition will remain there.

    F2P isn't really well defined, though, and most high profile western MMO's are sub games turned "freemium". I think that's a decent model, and it looks like it's working so far. DDO has survived for several years on this model, and still has content coming out. DCUO has had a lot of content released for it since it went F2P. Far as I'm concerned this model is working.

    These games (well, not DDO, but EQ2, DCUO, City of Heroes) got a bit of money from me which they wouldn't have if they stayed sub only, simply because I can't justify the $15 a month for a game I'm hardly playing, but paying $10 or $30 over the course of 1 year or two for features and expansions feels fine to me.

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,778Member Uncommon

    People claiming that F2P and B2P are a passing thing and its ruining anything they are just wrong. F2P will never die, and it will keep improving with time. P2P wont die either, but as time passes we will see more and more mixed models but much more improved than what we have today (crappy cash grab freemiums, p2w garbage, and non quality and incomplete p2p crap thats unworth of any sub) providing better service for both players who support the game through subscription and players who support the game through cash shop.

    Companies make more money when they give the players more options to support them without forcing the wallet open and that has been proved with failed sub mmos that become successful with decent free + sub options. While others (cough swtor cough) didnt do well with sub only and made the free option a nightmare to make players sub or gtfo their game. Well, they keep doing it wrong, they keep losing even free players that are potential cash shop supporters. 

    Also, everyone is free to prefer and support a specific model, but when people get blind and cant understand the benefits of having more than one option it just not worth the time to even talk to them. Be open minded about it. MMORPGS with sub-only model will keep struggling because the group that supports sub-only models is much smaller than the group that would support free or mixed model. Also been proven by the fate most of the sub only games have gone through in the last years. If the sub-only userbase was bigger then WoW wouldnt be the only sub mmo out there thats successful (unless companies finally admint that they dont need 10 million players to be profitable)

    image
  • ScottgunScottgun Williamsville, NYPosts: 356Member
    Minds so open their brains have fallen out.

    Now we're calling prostitutes "sex workers". What's next? Calling hit men "end-of-life technicians"?

  • thinktank001thinktank001 oasisPosts: 2,027Member Uncommon

    The question of how we got here is an interesting one, and our resident free-to-play columnist, Richard Aihoshi, does a stellar job of delving into the details of market shifts and trends in The Free Zone.  One overarching theme, however, that deserves attention is the alignment between the propagation of free-to-play payment models with marketing efforts that give primacy to consumer choice.   The MMO subgenre may be a relatively small one in the greater video games industry, but it nonetheless reflects a wider consumer market, at least in "Western" locales like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and several continental European countries, that puts individual choice at the forefront of monetization.

     

    The problem with this statement is music, television, and movies don't have any similarity to the way cash shop games sell content.   Those industries sell complete, individual pieces, but cash shops break down a whole piece and give half of it away for free and ask a premium price to unlock the rest of it.  

     

    Do you know anyone that would enjoy 1/2 a movie, a song, or television show?

     

     

  • ksternalksternal Hainesport, NJPosts: 81Member
    I completely agree with your assessment of what F2P games are doing to the MMO games and its community. I understand its a business for the devs, but like in real life like in the game, only the people who actually work for a living and pay taxes cheap the country going just like people who sub to a game keep the game fun of interesting stuff while the F2P do nothing but mouch off of the actual important people in the MMORPG.
  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,918Member Uncommon

    Nothing is worse than an empty game (or in SP, a game with very low sales).  F2P solves that, and in my opinion this is its largest strength.

     

    Also, F2P is effective in holding at least a scrape of market share with the genre (and gaming in general) heavily saturated with new titles.  The lower the development and operational costs the better due to increased profit margin.

     

    It's a pretty safe bet for publishers.  If you can't sell the game, maybe it's smarter to give it away and pick up revenue where you can.  Create a need (bags, bank, potions, etc) and then provide for that need.

     

    Choice?  I don't see it as a factor.  It's all about revenue.

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • apocolusterapocoluster newport news, VAPosts: 1,321Member Uncommon
    I like free to play. All I really gotta say since nothing I say will change anyone's opinions on the matter. :)

    No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

  • jackob511jackob511 where here, ALPosts: 1Member

    i don't know why you people are bullshitting about free-to-play

    obviously it is the most preffered as of now

     

    more games are turning toward F2P

    but of cource im not a dumb fuck and waste my money on games that will fail and convert into Free-To-Play in the future anyway

     

  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,946Member Uncommon
    There are good sub games and bad sub games, good f2p and bad. Good f2p beats all, it gives all the power to players. I can only guess those defending subs have some kind of misplaced loyalty. Good games get loyalty through the quality of the product.

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

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