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[Column] General: Paying for the Game

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,610MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

As the trend for free to play games grows, so does the discussion about the direction in which funding MMOs is going. In her latest column, Genese Davis offers her unique perspective on the movement to F2P and much more. Read on before heading to the comments to chat.

While discussing the future global gaming market with business analysts and developers, I listened to their thoughts about the growing popularity of the free to play, freemium, and micro-transaction models. One thing they continued to bring up was the quality of game play. Advertisements and DLC-peddling NPCs can easily ruin immersion and spread a sour taste throughout a game regardless of the rest of the content. When we’re in the game, we want to be in the game. If developers have to constantly think about what roadblocks to design in order to encourage the player to purchase something, the game’s experience could be neglected in the process, with quality and immersion being lost.

Read more of Genese Davis's Paying for the Game.

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

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Comments

  • LadyAsh1LadyAsh1 Athens, GAPosts: 8Member
    I don't think that Micro transactions and whatnot are bad, as long as it doesn't break the game or as long as they're not selling power. I actually really like the way GW2 and LOL do their F2P models. 
  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko RotterdamPosts: 3,845Member Uncommon

    So far, we haven't seen a single "made-for-F2P" AAA MMORPG title. EQNext will be the first.

     

    The games that have launched as F2P up until now have all been sub-par in my opinion. I have casually played a few of them, only because I couldn't find a "real" MMO to dig my teeth into at that time. Because I knew I was playing temporarily, I didn't bother spending any money, because it wasn't worth it for a week or two of play.

     

    In all these games, it was perfectly obvious that they were made fairly quickly and with small budgets. It was also crystal clear that the game was built around the Cash Shop. If games like that become the only thing on offer, I'm done with MMO's.

  • dalewjdalewj woburn, MAPosts: 86Member Uncommon
    it all comes down to if you write the game for micro-transactions and roadblocks or you wrote a game and have micro-transactions also.

    HomePage/Gaming Blog - http://dalewj.com . MMORPGer - Current game: http://AfterWorld.ru .
    Author of Diaries of Afterworld- http://www.jconsult.com/afterworld and the Outside Sci-Fi series- http://www.jconsult.com/outside

  • EtherignisEtherignis philadelphia, PAPosts: 246Member
    I will stick with p2p.
  • NildenNilden null, NBPosts: 1,284Member Uncommon

    So the feeling they want is that your is a game with a store not in a store with a game. Ok but there's still a store. IMHO any cash shop with items in it, even if they are vanity items, takes away from the content in the game. Exclusive buy now crap that could be in the actual game as a quest to obtain is now $19.99 oh joy and best of all they are going to market this cash shop as free-to play.

     

    I'm sorry but if you buy a book you pay one price and get the whole book. I wouldn't go into a book store to buy a book by the chapter, or by the page, or by the word. Better yet let's have the final chapter be day one DLC.

     

    Maybe I'm some minor group of people who would pay a monthly sub and pay for expansions and be wonderful never having a cash shop at all.

     

     

    How to post links.

    "classification of games into MMOs is not by rational reasoning" - nariusseldon
    Love Minecraft. And check out my Youtube channel OhCanadaGamer

  • Attend4455Attend4455 BirminghamPosts: 161Member
    nilden makes an interesting point - book publishing is more like the Buy to Play model of Guild Wars

    I sometimes make spelling and grammar errors but I don't pretend it's because I'm using a phone

  • Four0SixFour0Six Missoula, MTPosts: 1,181Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by nilden

     

    I'm sorry but if you buy a book you pay one price and get the whole book. I wouldn't go into a book store to buy a book by the chapter, or by the page, or by the word. Better yet let's have the final chapter be day one DLC.

     

     

     

     

    Know anyone who collects comics?

     

    I am glad to see more of these articles, and threads about the "business" side of Free2Play. I think too many gamers only look at it with "barrier to entry" glasses, and fail to see that it is a business model, and it is their pocket books they are after. Not trying to be more "Zen" and give them games just because.

    As far as Pay2Win goes, without trying to stir the pot too much, I would like to remind everyone in the "West", where it isn't accepted, that Rift launched it's F2P conversion with "Tier 1 Raid Gear" in the cash shop. If, even SWTOR had tried to do this that short period of time ago, there would have been pitchfork and torches all around. So fear not Pay2Win is coming to the "West" and far sooner than you would expect.

  • JaedorJaedor Denver, COPosts: 1,140Member Uncommon

    Having just gone through Rift's change to the F2P model, I can say that I miss the level playing field we all enjoyed. If you had uber gear, you'd earned it. If you had a rare mount, you were lucky. And everyone had the same opportunity for earning and luck.

     

    Today, most of the hollering has calmed down and F2P appears to have been a resounding success. I'm glad for Trion and Rift, as I enjoy the game. But the playerbase has separated a bit into the haves and the have nots, just like real life. For those who play games to escape real life, it's a bit of a bummer.

     
  • RinnaRinna Las Vegas, NVPosts: 388Member
    I have played everything from SWG to Neverwinter, a variety of different pay models. I still like paying for the game and paying a sub the best. I don't care what anyone says, I feel like F2P gives the developers an excuse. You always hear "not bad for F2P" or "what do you expect for F2P?" I expect the same unbroken, fascinating, fun times that I expect from a P2P, and so should you! It's kinda like all the Zynga games being in perpetual BETA. The company is worth billions, they can't get a game out of beta? No? They use that crutch to justify broken shit. I prefer to hold companies to a higher standard. Plus, I like a "barrier to entry" - it means the people who are there are there for the love of that game, so much so, they're willing to pay for it. If you pay for something, you usually care enough about it to not want to destroy it. People that are given everything have a tendency to not appreciate anything.

    No bitchers.

  • DihoruDihoru ConstantaPosts: 2,731Member
    Originally posted by Four0Six
    Originally posted by nilden

     

    I'm sorry but if you buy a book you pay one price and get the whole book. I wouldn't go into a book store to buy a book by the chapter, or by the page, or by the word. Better yet let's have the final chapter be day one DLC.

     

     

     

     

    Know anyone who collects comics?

     

    I am glad to see more of these articles, and threads about the "business" side of Free2Play. I think too many gamers only look at it with "barrier to entry" glasses, and fail to see that it is a business model, and it is their pocket books they are after. Not trying to be more "Zen" and give them games just because.

    As far as Pay2Win goes, without trying to stir the pot too much, I would like to remind everyone in the "West", where it isn't accepted, that Rift launched it's F2P conversion with "Tier 1 Raid Gear" in the cash shop. If, even SWTOR had tried to do this that short period of time ago, there would have been pitchfork and torches all around. So fear not Pay2Win is coming to the "West" and far sooner than you would expect.

    Pay2Win is for games where there are items (superior to regular ones or which allow you to craft superior ones) in the cash shop which cannot be obtained any other way than by paying real hard money for them.

    Nice try at seeming neutral but fear mongering kinda tips your hand here ;).

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  • RyowulfRyowulf Greensburg, PAPosts: 668Member

    "For many developers, focusing on creating those great experiences has been their highest priority"

    Which ones would those be? EA and Bioware thought Star Wars + WoW = $$$.  I don't believe a great experience was their highest priority.  Even if it was for some Devs, they have all-to-often failed due to money and time constraints to reach that mark.

    As far as a shift toward freemium. Umm hello?  The shift has all ready happened.  Its a low entry barrier world right now.  At least for any title calling itself an AAA mmo.

    Ptp is for the most part dead.  Even games that try going sub are likely to have some form of cash shop or ftp option.  As far as the fond memories for ptp goes, lets remember that sub games had/have their own tricks. Such as padding the player's experience with grind and whatnot for no other reason than to keep the player around longer so he pays more.  

     

  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,444Member Uncommon

    I absolutely never like anything misleading or sneaky.I like to know exactly what i am spending up front and i don't want that to change ever.

    When consumers of a game support with paying a sub fee,they are doing just that supporting the game with money fully expecting that money to be well spent.Players supporting a game wish to see the returns,they want to see that the developer appreciates the support and keeps the game growing and gives something back to the players that make them rich.

    There is something inherently wrong with a developer who thinks "Well let's take their money and spend it making items they have to buy".Let's disrespect our customer by spending our resources making cash shop items and not putting those resources and money into the game that the players are already supporting with money.

    I have no problem with any developer that just comes right out and tells me they have to charge more to make enough profit.

    Ok so you need 20 bucks a month,i am fine with that,at least i know ALL the money we support your game with is going back into the employees and the game,not to outside ventures that are trying to grind more money out of us.

    When i sub a game,i want 100% of the game,i don't want to know you have some new vanity item or whatever misleading term you want to tag it with.You made that vanity item with resources the players spent money to produce.

    When those CEO ,board members go out to the parking lot and jump in their Mercedes and drive back to their country mansion,they should remember where that money came from>>>the fan base that support your game.


    Samoan Diamond

  • MikeMossMikeMoss Ada, MIPosts: 62Member Uncommon

    Hi

     

    I like the F2P model, on most of the games I play.

     

    If I was paying I would only play one game, but I have a number of games that I can play with no pay and still not feel that I'm missing out too much.

     

    Guild Wars 2.

     

    The Secret World, I do pay for the new content a couple of time a year,  but not the visual stuff.

     

    Lord of the Rings Online, I started out as P2P but play only the free to play now.

     

    DC Universe, I play once in a while, probably wouldn't if I had to pay.

     

    Rift, I played in beta, and have just reinstalled it since it went F2P.

     

    The thing is that I do occasionally give them some money, at least The Secret World but very little.

     

    All of these games you can play without spending any money and still enjoy them, if you can live with the restrictions on storage or whatever the limits are.

     

    You probably wouldn't want to do that if you played one game day in and day out, but if you play the way I do, with the same friends in all the games it works great.

     

    Mike

     

     

    If you shoot a mime, do you have to use a silencer?

  • IrakandjiiIrakandjii ottawa, ONPosts: 1Member
    I have found most F2P end up being cheaper with their subscription option.  In some cases I have found F2P far more expensive than subscription games.
  • LeirosLeiros Nashville, TNPosts: 238Member Uncommon

    In my experience, paying $15 per month for a p2p game is generally more affordable than when I've played "f2p" games with cash shops and micro-transactions. People can argue this all day long, but think about it... why would companies be switching to this model if they weren't making more money from it? It's because people end up spending more money to have those "xp boosts" and/or shiny cosmetic items than they would have spent on a $15 per month subscription. The sad part is that they think they're getting a deal because the game is "free to play".

     

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'd rather purchase a game and pay $15 per month for a AAA mmo that I can enjoy for years to come than have 5 F2P games that are sub-par, that I have to continually jump between because they are shallow and have no immersion factor.

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  • GrahorGrahor aaaPosts: 828Member

    F2P and B2P are inherently superior models to P2P, in my opinion. I've played P2P for many years, and I'm through with it; with all dirty tricks developers use to slow you down, boggle you in grind and trash mobs so that you'd have to spend lots of time pushing through it to interesting bits and thus paying subs for more, more, more months. Time sinks, time sinks, time sinks... Well, I'm through with it. I'm not playing another P2P game, ever.

     

    Sure, there are lots of trash F2P games. But that's the point: you check them out, you see the cr!p, you uninstall. Nothing lost.

     

    And if you enjoy this particular F2P? Why not spend as much as you enjoy? I sure spend a LOT less on F2P games than I've spent on P2P, and enjoy them a LOT more.

     

    I'm not against P2P. Let developers make them! Let those who like P2P play them! I'm okay with it - let everyone be happy! But I'm not playing them, ever again.

     

     

     

     

  • AdultGamerAdultGamer Lytle, TXPosts: 1Member
    Originally posted by SpottyGekko

    So far, we haven't seen a single "made-for-F2P" AAA MMORPG title. EQNext will be the first.

     

    The games that have launched as F2P up until now have all been sub-par in my opinion. I have casually played a few of them, only because I couldn't find a "real" MMO to dig my teeth into at that time. Because I knew I was playing temporarily, I didn't bother spending any money, because it wasn't worth it for a week or two of play.

     

    In all these games, it was perfectly obvious that they were made fairly quickly and with small budgets. It was also crystal clear that the game was built around the Cash Shop. If games like that become the only thing on offer, I'm done with MMO's.

    I agree with the overall general feeling of this Posting; but, I have to disagree with the Casual Gameplaying.

    = = = = =

    RuneScape was my First MMO back in 2003/2004.  I was 30-Someting Years Old; and, everyone else was a Middle, or Junior High, Schooler.  Those Players who claimed to be 17 or 18 Years Old via Chat, claimed that they started playing RuneScape back in 2001/2002.

     

    The Home Computer Systems that I had access to weren't powerful enough for Internet Access, or for Offline PC Gaming.  So, I played RuneScape at a Public Library until 2005; when, I acquired a Laptop Computer System that could handle Low-End Internet Game Systems like RuneScape.

     

    Thus, I have no Gaming Experience with World Of Warcraft; but, I have played the Offline PC Games Warcraft: Orcs Versus Humans and Warcraft II: Tides Of Darkness.  Based on my understanding of the World Of Warcraft Game System, World Of Warcraft is an Adult Version of RuneScape; or, more accurately, RuneScape is a Kiddie Version of World Of Warcraft.

     

    Currently, I am looking for F2P Game Systems; because, I can't afford to pay for P2P Game Systems.  I had a P2P Account with RuneScape; and, a P2P Account with FunOrb; both, of which were Online Products by JAGEX.

     

    Actually, the only reason that I have any interest in Online Gaming is because I can't find any Offline PC Games that interest me.  GameCube is the only Console System that I have owned; but, it is Dead; so, I can't play any of my games on that anymore.

     

    I actually have GW-BASIC Computer Language Programming Skill; but, Y2K+ Computer Systems don't RUN the TANDY 1000SL GW-BASIC Compiler that I am using for my GW-BASIC Computer Programming Projects.  Even so, GW-BASIC is too weak for my Computer Programming Projects; and, I can't find Y2K+ Computer Programming Languages that allows me to do the Graphics & Mathematics & A.I. Logics that I could do with GW-BASIC.

     

    Game Maker from YoYo Games does allow me to create Video Games; but, the current Studio version requires frequent Online Updates that eat up my Wireless Internet Usage.  Also, Non-Browser MMO Gaming eats up my Wireless Internet Usage.

     

    The problem that I have with MMOs and Offline PC Games and Console Games is that they don't offer the Types Of Gaming Experience that I want to have; or, the Types Of Games that I want to play.

     

    And, my Computer Programming Skills aren't sufficient enough for me to create my own Computer Games; and, I have no Real Life Social Contact with people who can help me create a Computer Game System.

     

    I really don't care about the Issues of F2P Models & P2P Models & Box Ownership & A La Carte Service or Subscriber Service as a Computer Gamer.  If I like the Game enough, and I have the money; then, I would be a P2P Player like I was with RuneScape and FunOrb.

     

    RuneScape became RuinScape with the establishment of the Bank in Lumbridge & the removal of 1 Giant Scorpion in Al Kharid & the establishment of Class Trainers in Lumbridge & the establishment of the General Exchange.  All JAGEX had to do was just put a Bank in Lumbridge where everybody's Avatar Respawned after dying.

     

    I don't mind Sword-N-Sorcery Game Systems like RuneScape & World Of Warcraft; but, I also want to play Outerspace Sci-Fi Genre Game Systems and Comic Book Superhero Genre Game Systems.  As an Adult (40-Something Years Old), I am also interested in playing Video Games that include Nudity and Sexual Activities.  Being a Semi-Christian, I do view USA Pornography as being offensive; and, degrading to the Sex Performers.

     

    I own Warcraft II: Tides Of Darkness and Command & Conquer: Red Alert and Rise Of Nations and Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords and Wing Commander: Privateer.  If I could play all of those Game Systems on my Desktop/Laptop Computer System, and/or on a Game Console, I would.

     

    I also like playing USA Football Game Systems in which I could Custom Create my own Plays & Playbooks.  In fact, I own and played NFL QB Club 2002 and NCAA Football 2005 and Madden 2005 and Madden 07 and Madden 08 on my GameCube.

     

    I own, and have played, other Game Systems on my GameCube; and, on my GameBoy Advanced SP.

     

    I liked, and played RuneScape for so many years was because I could engage in Non-Combat Actives.  In fact, most of my RuneScape Gameplaying Activities didn't involve Combat; thus, my P2P Avatar reached Level 60 after 4 years of Gameplay.  In fact, I started getting harrassed by other RuneScape Players because I was a Male Player playing with Female Avatars; and, because my Avatars were Low-Level due to my not engaging in PvNPC & PvP Combat.

     

    I quit playing RuneScape; because, RuneScape became RuinScape; and, because my P2P Account became totally messed up due to my own Gaming Activities; and, because Player Harrassment became unbearable; and, because I outgrew the RuneScape Combat System; which, was designed for Players who are new to Computer Gaming like myself back in 2003; and, because I wanted to play something other than Sword-N-Sorcery Fantasy Genre Game Systems.

     

  • xXMapcoXxxXMapcoXx Parsons, TNPosts: 9Member
    This to me seems like a load of crap. If you got to justified playing a game by saying "well I pay 15 dollars a month to play this shit, I better keep playing it." is a horrible reason to play any game. Some of us don't have 15 dollars to spend every month on a game that we already spend 60 to have to begin with.  People who say those who are willing to pay to play are the only people who should have the right  to play is another horrible reason to justified p2p models. Anyone who says pay to win will soon come to the west and people no matter what will be will to give up their hard earn cash just to play a game didn't see how people handle the xbox crap restrictions. At the end of the day its all about if you are having fun. Isn't that why we play games to begin with? All this talk about how the game should be or why this should be like this. I don't play games for emerging, I play them cause they are FUN. If you are playing games for any other reason than I am sorry, but there is something seriously wrong with you.
  • VocadiVocadi SH, MIPosts: 205Member

    The only way I see FTP as acceptable is if there is a subscription option available. I would prefer to pay monthly for access to all game features and never again be bothered by any store content.  I dont want to have to pay for extra bag or bank or inventory slots. I want that to be included in my game subscription.

    I am not interested in experience potions or any other cosmetic item that a game store may offer. I want  gameplay and game world access and the freedom to concentrate on the game content not the store content.

    I would like to add, when I choose an MMORPG to play it is my main game of choice and therefore one I prefer to sink time into, not money via microtransactions.

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  • BrialynBrialyn Winder, GAPosts: 184Member
    I'm sorry but I loathe F2P and freemium non-sense.  Guild Wars B2P model is pretty good but I am still happier paying a sub for a good game (and I realize that the definition of good differs for gamers) than doing the freemium racket. Change keeps things interesting but it isn't always for the better. 


    image
    Currently Playing: FFXIV:ARR
    Looking Forward to: Wildstar
  • blutigfaustblutigfaust Granite City, ILPosts: 98Member Common

    I hate to say it, but I feel the community suffers from F2P games. Anyone can get in, any amount of times, so they act the jerk crossing forbidden lines much too often, without fear of losing anything of value because it was free. There seems to be a certain crowd that wouldn't pay for a game because they just can't follow appropriate behavior guidelines. They revel in the thought they are able to cause others grief or disappointment.

     

     And don't kid yourself, there hasn't been a developer that thought of the community before the almighty dollar in quite some time, if ever.  After all, they are there to make money, the whole reason to exist for them. Making a game is just their way of doing it.

     

     I have high hope for Divergence, as it looks as though it's being developed by a guy who wanted to make "his" game, and let others play it. But we shall see.

     

    So there's my 2 cents on the matter, not that it's worth that much  :)

     

     

     

     
     
     

    Current games playing: Archeage
    Games being watched: Repopulation, and Divergence
    Favorite played games: SWG, RomaVictor, and Xsyon

  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,747Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by LadyAsh1
    I don't think that Micro transactions and whatnot are bad, as long as it doesn't break the game or as long as they're not selling power. I actually really like the way GW2 and LOL do their F2P models. 

     You need to understand that GW2 is NOT a f2p game....Its a b2p game...They get their money up front....They understand that most MMO gamers dont sub for more than three months.....With a 50-60 dollar box price they are basically charging you 4 months sub right off the bat...sure yo ucan play as long as yo uwant after that (or until there is an expansion) but in general msot people dont play much longer than that nowadays.....F2P means that there is no initial cost to play the game.

  • Attend4455Attend4455 BirminghamPosts: 161Member
    Originally posted by Leiros

    In my experience, paying $15 per month for a p2p game is generally more affordable than when I've played "f2p" games with cash shops and micro-transactions. People can argue this all day long, but think about it... why would companies be switching to this model if they weren't making more money from it? It's because people end up spending more money to have those "xp boosts" and/or shiny cosmetic items than they would have spent on a $15 per month subscription. The sad part is that they think they're getting a deal because the game is "free to play".

     

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'd rather purchase a game and pay $15 per month for a AAA mmo that I can enjoy for years to come than have 5 F2P games that are sub-par, that I have to continually jump between because they are shallow and have no immersion factor.

    quoting for great justice, emphasis added.

    free-to-play is not charity mmos for people that can't afford to pay a sub

     

    I sometimes make spelling and grammar errors but I don't pretend it's because I'm using a phone

  • DejoblueDejoblue Youngstown, OHPosts: 296Member Uncommon

    The free to play market originates from the Asian laws that regulate how long you can play a game online and the social norm of computer cafes. This is why it is accepted in Asia.

    In the West we see if for what it really is, advertisement for a money grab, and we see all of the same type of advertisement within game and without.

    It is a bit facetious to claim that in game advertising or buying a DLC from an in game NPC is immersion breaking. On the contrary, I feel that having to go to Wal Mart or download a game is not immersive at all. Neither are patches or game updates, purchased or free, immersive. It is simply the media in which it is delivered.

    The new paradigm is free to play, like it or not, and the latest version, under the guise of buy to play, is Guild Wars 2 and their limited availability stories and quest lines. This is the same type of "limited time offer" that induces the same aversion of loss that makes one impulsively buy a television because it is on sale.

    You can sell that book by putting it online or making it episodic on Amazon or wherever you choose. You can release short stories or entire novels and have sequels. We do not complain that having to buy a novel and hold it in our hand ruins the immersion. And with all of these comes a new required purchase.

    Human psychology and advertising have gone hand in hand for a long time, they are old friends, it took a while for the gaming industry to catch up, but it is here to stay. Now we just have to find the best deal and check our egos, self esteem and impulses at the door. Just like we were buying that TV. Then we can dive in and enjoy everything for which we bargained.

     

  • Aldous.HuxleyAldous.Huxley Monticello, MNPosts: 418Member
    I pay for a DVR so I do not have to watch the advertisement. I have netflix so I don't have to watch commercials. I watch movies on HBO to avoid being sold something. And yes, if you interrupt a movie, it does break immersion. Also, I find advertising annoying.

    Just saying...
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