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So what exactly are F2P games supposed to charge for?

TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

I'm sure everyone has seen at least one thread on at least one F2P game where whatever the developer or publisher is charging for is somehow P2W, underhanded or just a flat out rip-off.

So given that people are willing to go into such granular detail on what developers shouldn't charge for, what exactly should they charge for in a F2P game?

In your hypothetical scenario, keep in mind the following:

* The game must actually make money. Yes, this is a consideration. Even for your favorite game, they must make money. Not only must they make money to cover expenses, they have to make a profit, or the game will not continue to exist.

* "Subscription" as the answer will not work here. The game is F2P, and must sell stuff in their cash shop, either in or out of the game.

* Nothing is off limits. The only wrong answer is "Subscription".

**

"Some F2P Options OR Subscription" would be a fine answer. "Subscription" by itself is the only wrong answer here. It's a F2P game, so something has to be charged for in the cash shop.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

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Comments

  • MibletMiblet BognerPosts: 333Member

    Most people are perfectly happy with F2P charging for cosmetic items, exp boosts and expansion / additional content.

    The selling of power is usually frowned upon, however it makes a lot more money than the aforementioned services and is usually as easy (or easier) to implement.  Games have survived without selling power before however the profit is, as I said, not as big ...and why survive when you can make a killing?

  • immodiumimmodium ManchesterPosts: 1,578Member Uncommon

    With F2P the developers can charge for what ever they like, including hotbars :).

    Have the game completely open for the first say 15% of character development. Through combat, crafting, whatever. All content after that should be paid for. In that scenario charging for UI is a bit strong.

    If your allowing players to get to max level and end-game content for nothing I don't see charging for UI an issue. Or even OP items.

    Anything can be charged for in a game like that IMO.

     

    image
  • RaysheRayshe London, ONPosts: 1,284Member

    Simple really, Anything that does not directly effect gameplay can't be labeled as P2W.

     

    SWTOR hits a middleground when they bar endgame from anyone who doesnt pay them. i still dont find SWTOR P2W. i find SWTOR "P2 Stop annoying me at every little turn with a pay wall".

     

    so its P2SAMAELTWAPW Sounds kinda catchy.

    Because i can.
    I'm Hopeful For Every Game, Until the Fan Boys Attack My Games. Then the Knives Come Out.
    Logic every gamers worst enemy.

  • HanthosHanthos Antelope, CAPosts: 226Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones


    * Nothing is off limits. The only wrong answer is "Subscription".

    Nothing like eliminating answers you just don't want to hear.

  • JJ82JJ82 Chicago, ILPosts: 1,177Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Hanthos
    Originally posted by lizardbones


    * Nothing is off limits. The only wrong answer is "Subscription".

    Nothing like eliminating answers you just don't want to hear.

    The thread is about F2P and thus cannot include subscription. It would be like starting a thread about what is the right price for a subscription game and telling people F2P is not the right answer which would also be correct.

    To the OP.

    if a game is selling anything that increases a characters stats in any way other than a buff that doesn't apply to PvP, it becomes P2W.

    I personally prefer to only see vanity items in a cash shop. Costumes, mounts, potions, buffs, account services like name changes, server changes. These things made Nexon one of the largest gaming companies there is with only a few of their games being P2W and those aren't their most popular.

    BTW, the only western made game that I have seen that is actually F2P is Neverwinter and their latest update just added a major jump towards the P2W side of things. Its also the only one that has come close to the revenue success of Asian F2P games. That is what happens when you make F2P and not Freemium. Charging for UI...lol.

    "People who tell you you’re awesome are useless. No, dangerous.

    They are worse than useless because you want to believe them. They will defend you against critiques that are valid. They will seduce you into believing you are done learning, or into thinking that your work is better than it actually is." ~Raph Koster
    http://www.raphkoster.com/2013/10/14/on-getting-criticism/

  • collektcollekt Meridian, MSPosts: 273Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Hanthos
    Originally posted by lizardbones


    * Nothing is off limits. The only wrong answer is "Subscription".

    Nothing like eliminating answers you just don't want to hear.

    That's what I was thinking. Personally I think everyone should just man the fuck up and be willing to pay for a game if you want to play it. I don't see why everyone wants to be on uneven footing with the in-game purchases, other than the kids with no jobs who just want free games handed to them.

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    You're not really going to get any type of resolution because the people calling everything p2w either hate f2p or want everything for free. So obviously the game couldn't/wouldn't survive if they had it their way. Everyone else will give reasonable answers because they are already comfortable with how f2p works or don't make posts like that to begin with, and not part of the "problem "

     

    But to answer your question... Tera in my opinion is the ideal f2p model

    There is no restricted content/class/race. You can play the game 100% free and do anything a paying player can do.

    Everything they sell is able to be put up on the in game AH and you can buy it from a player for gold. Even character and bank slots or race change tokens can be bought this way.

    They have a sub option that offers you benefits but all of them really just focus on time. More dailies, more gold, faster travel etc.

    The cash shop sells your typical xp boost, gold boost rep boost but the main focus of it is cosmetic items and enchanting materials. The cosmetic items are all skins. The stats are all on items you have and there is a " cosmetics " tab that the skins go on. You have the ability to ether farm a weaker version of the enchanting mat in game ( lower chance of success, not end result ) or there is always lots of it for sale on the ah by other players.

    They have rng boxes which I'm, not really a fan of but again nothing that comes out of them can't be put on the AH and everything I ever wanted from them I got from the AH instead.

    The problem of course with any game focused on cosmetics is, the game has to be designed for it. Graphics matter, style matters and the types of players you attract to your game matter.  Tera is obviously making enough money to talk about doing a part two, so it's working for them.

  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Oxon Hill, MDPosts: 1,147Member Uncommon

    F2P sucks when...

    • Your cash shops interrupts or used  game play/quest/whatever.  
    • When you sell unfair advantages.  P2W.
    • When you make your game worst in order to make people spend money.  Sure its free but prepare for the grind!
     
    I say sell what you can.  But I've never spent a dime on a F2P game.  I would be more inclined to just buy the content upfront like B2P.
  • CazNeergCazNeerg Puyallup, WAPosts: 2,198Member

    They should sell anything that people will buy which doesn't impact performance in PvP.  "Pay to Win" is bad, but if we're being realistic it only applies to PvP, because there is no competitive element to PvE.  Even if you pay for items that get you through PvE content faster, you aren't "winning" anything.  

    Most games that people label as "P2W" actually aren't, there are just people who can't get it through their heads that how somebody else experiences the PvE aspects of the game really has nothing to do with their experience, and there is zero harm in cash shops selling performance enhancing items as long as they only enhance PvE performance.

    Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.

  • evilastroevilastro EdinburghPosts: 4,270Member

    Out of all the games around, I like TSW's payment model the best.

    I like Buy to Play with paid updates. I think that's fair, and doesn't take away the base game once you stop subscribing, but to do the latest content you'll need to dish out some cash.  It gives me the ability to choose which content packs that appeal to me, and stops developers getting lazy.

    So many subscription games did not produce enough content to actually warrant a subscription. It would be nice to see the market moving to systems which hold developers accountable for each update.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,784Member Uncommon

    It's very similar to real-life debates on taxes:  we want other people to be taxed but not us.  As one politician summarized the popular view:  don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree.

    So basically, the stuff that other people want but I don't care about is the stuff that F2P games should charge for.  People who don't care about cosmetic stuff want a game to be funded largely by selling fluff, but people who do are about cosmetic stuff don't like that.  People who aren't going to get very far into a game think that you should fund the game by charging for higher level content, while people who quickly burn through lower levels don't like that.  People who are strictly single-character guys think a game should charge for character slots, while people who play a lot of alts don't like that.  And so forth.

  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,451Member Uncommon

    It is VERY simple really,they can charge for everything but at the same time everything should be had via the game as well and not without pulling teeth to get it.

    Basically cash shop should cater to laziness and NEVER allow an edge in any fashion from one player to another.

    There is still one very important problem and that is FIRST usually means benefits,so nothing should cater to players being first.By that i mean you can't allow instant leveling because the first player to get an important drop can demand the best price before the market is saturated.I should not have to go into detail really because i already stated there can be NP advantage except laziness.

    A perfect example is the familiar baggage space.if you want to charge for space then there should be quests or similar to achieve the EXACT same baggage space.It has nothing to do with convenience,that is merely charging players for superficial things that should never be charged for.

    When players buy a game and begin to play they EXPECT certain things in the gamer,they would never expect to pay extra for those items such as space.make a quest or 5 and if players are too lazy to quest the bag space,then they can buy it,others will lol@ them but whatever.


    Samoan Diamond

  • BjelarBjelar RullumpPosts: 384Member
    Originally posted by Wizardry
    others will lol@ them but whatever.

    Yes, we demand that the ridicuous and lazy people pay for our free entertainment. It is only fair.

  • koboldfodderkoboldfodder Danbury, DEPosts: 390Member Uncommon

    There are millions of MMO players who would gladly pay 15 dollars a month for a quality MMO.  The problems is not F2P, the problem is the games are bad.

     

    I do not have a problem with Bioware F2Ping hotbars and locking content, I would subscribe.  I have the money, not a big deal.  The problem is the game is awful.  Whether it is a subscription only, or a F2P game...it's awful.  I will not play it.

     

    Make a great game, and you can have a subscription.  WOW and EVE are still making money via subscriptions and those games are not going away any time soon.

     

    But if all you are making is generic MMO #423, who really cares about that.  If I am playing generic MMO #422, why play #423...it's probably the same game.

     

     

  • TribeofOneTribeofOne Wellford, SCPosts: 1,006Member Uncommon

    subscriptions were good enough and if your game and service was worth it, people didnt mind paying a subscription at all.

    F2P w/ cash shop is a greedy money grab aimed at people with no impulse control, its game devs exploiting human nature for profit.

     

  • GeezerGamerGeezerGamer ChairPosts: 5,590Member Uncommon

    I hear "It's fine if it's only cosmetic" all the time.  This is a statement made by people who do not intent to spend money. No game is going to do that. Get over it. If you want to play you have to pay.....Or you become "content" (in some form or another) for those who do.

    People will spend money in order to somehow have a better overall game experience then those who don't pay. Games put all these spins on it. But in the end, they are almost all P2W to some degree. Most have just hidden it.

  • CazNeergCazNeerg Puyallup, WAPosts: 2,198Member

    Originally posted by evilastro

    So many subscription games did not produce enough content to actually warrant a subscription. It would be nice to see the market moving to systems which hold developers accountable for each update.

    That depends entirely on where you place the bar for what "warrants a subscription."  To me, if I get an hour of fun for every dollar spent, I feel like I am ahead of the curve.  So if I can manage to enjoy a MMO for more than fifteen hours out of the month, it warrants a subscription.  Even if it has a F2P option.

    Originally posted by koboldfodder

    There are millions of MMO players who would gladly pay 15 dollars a month for a quality MMO.  The problems is not F2P, the problem is the games are bad.

     I do not have a problem with Bioware F2Ping hotbars and locking content, I would subscribe.  I have the money, not a big deal.  The problem is the game is awful.  Whether it is a subscription only, or a F2P game...it's awful.  I will not play it.

     Make a great game, and you can have a subscription.  WOW and EVE are still making money via subscriptions and those games are not going away any time soon.

     But if all you are making is generic MMO #423, who really cares about that.  If I am playing generic MMO #422, why play #423...it's probably the same game. 

    I really wish people would get away from the intellectually bankrupt rhetorical practice of equating "game that doesn't fit my preferences" with "bad game."  Going with your example of TOR, the story in that game is so far above the average in MMOs that it isn't even really fair to the other games to compare them to it.  It offers more ability for the player to *feel* like he is impacting the narrative (though the more characters you play, the more you realize this feeling is largely illusory) than any other MMO currently released.  Are the non-narrative aspects as good?  No.  But I'm not sure what objective measure you could possibly be using to say they are any worse than WoW.  If you remove all the narrative flourishes, and look strictly at game mechanics, they are basically the same game. In other words, if you play TOR, you get everything WoW offers, done just as well, plus a superior story. ;)

    First and foremost, games are products.  If a MMO has a large enough paying audience to keep the servers running, it isn't a "bad" game, no matter how much you may personally dislike it's design direction.  F2P is just a means by which a game can continue to flourish by taking more money from fewer customers, and we should all be very happy for it's presence.  All games are niche games, and anything that allows games to continue to exist for those that do enjoy them even when their niche shrinks is a good thing.

    Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.

  • CazNeergCazNeerg Puyallup, WAPosts: 2,198Member
    Originally posted by GeezerGamer

    People will spend money in order to somehow have a better overall game experience then those who don't pay. Games put all these spins on it. But in the end, they are almost all P2W to some degree. Most have just hidden it.

    This just isn't true.  If it doesn't impact PvP, it isn't P2W, because outside of PvP there isn't anything to "win."

    Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.

  • AkulasAkulas GoldcoastPosts: 1,617Member Uncommon
    Bag space, bank space, travel time, sub fee. 

    This isn't a signature, you just think it is.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Hanthos
    Originally posted by lizardbones * Nothing is off limits. The only wrong answer is "Subscription".
    Nothing like eliminating answers you just don't want to hear.


    You're not getting it. One of the ongoing talking points is the things that get charged for in F2P games. Well, since one of the issues is what gets charged for, what can be charged for that isn't an issue?

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • muppetpilotmuppetpilot Fort Wayne, INPosts: 163Member Uncommon

    The OP raises a really good question, and honestly this is something that may never truly be answered.

    I've had the distinct pleasure of playing both p2p and f2p games for years now, so here's my three cents:  I completely understand that an f2p game is still ultimately designed to make money.  My issue with many of the offerings I have played is that often times, it feels as though players are being herded towards the cash shop for bare necessities, and I can't help but think that such a business model is wrong.  Not earth-shakingly, human-rights-violation wrong, but wrong nonetheless.

    I suppose one example that is undoubtedly going to be tossed around here is SWToR's limitation on action bars.  Now, here's the thing with that:  to actually unlock the bars is a small expense - I believe around five bucks?  I may be wrong on the actual amount; one of you vets may have to straighten me out on that.  My issue with this is that action bars are ultimately necessary in order to properly enjoy a game.  I've always been of the opinion that a cash shop should be mostly cosmetic and booster-oriented, or perhaps offer helping-type items that make a player's quality of game life a bit better.  I realize that five dollars or so is a very small number, and pales in comparison to the amount I paid in WoW sub fees over the years, but it's the nature of the necessary item or feature that makes such a thing seem off to me.  If I'm going to put money into an f2p game (and I have done so quite a bit over the years), it's because I was able to play the game enough to decide that I enjoyed it, and so my purchases are a form of support for the devs, a "job well done", if you will.

    My problem is that if you're cutting out necessary game features and locking them behind paywalls, I don't think you're letting people decide whether or not they like your game enough first.  I know there are plenty of SWToR fanbois who will deride me for saying this, but let's face it:  action bars are necessary for your enjoyment of a game.  Reducing the number of available bars is reducing player choice, and that is never a good thing in an MMO.

    Another case in point:  Blade and Soul.  I waited two years to play that game, finally got my chance right before Thanksgiving when the Chinese open beta let everyone in.  Wonderfully beautiful and fun game, and I was having a blast until I discovered that simply opening up my inventory and warehouse beyond a certain point required - yep, you guessed it - a cash shop purchase.  Again, I just found this to be excessive.  Anyone who's played MMOs knows how important inventory management is, especially when you're gathering and crafting and hanging on to items you  may need down the line.  I was only able to open a small portion of my inventory and warehouse with in-game gold, and then the game began requiring a cash-shop item to unlock any more.  By level 23 I was literally and completely out of space in my warehouse, and honestly with the lack of content in BnS I wasn't going to shunt money into it just to have access to some bag space. 

    THAT is the sort of thing that can run people hot.  Things like action bars and bag space should at the very least be unlockable with in-game funds.  Denying players access to core needs like space and skill slots is just too much, if you ask me.  I'm sure plenty of folks are just fine with that, because as I said, f2p devs need money too, but herding players towards their credit cards simply because they need something they can't get any other way is just bad business, if you ask me.

    "Why would I want to loose a religion upon my people? Religions wreck from within - Empires and individuals alike! It's all the same." - God Emperor of Dune

  • GdemamiGdemami Beau VallonPosts: 7,865Member Uncommon

    Isn't it obvious?

    They can charge for w/e particular person does not care about so he can play without spending a dime while enjoying all he likes, for free...


    In reality, campanies are supposed charging for what customers are willing to pay for. If people are not willing to pay for sub, there is no reason to make a P2P games(apart from racking up initial sales).

    And in the same manner, if players are willing to pay for game play affecting/power items, why shouldn't they sell them?

    Money and items sold are the best representative of what people want, unlike these boards.

  • Panther2103Panther2103 Edmonds, WAPosts: 2,356Member Uncommon

    It's a torn discussion, there are some people who believe that it is okay to have power in the shops, they usually don't pvp or do any endgame raiding or dungeons or anything like that so it doesn't really affect them. Then on the other hand there are the people that believe that cosmetics are the only thing that cash shops should have. 

    Personally I think cash shops should only have cosmetic and exp based items, maybe character reroll tokens or name changes or anything like that. IDEALLY I think the shops should allow you to sell said items to other people, sure it inflates the market but it makes it possible for people who don't or cannot spend money to earn the items still through gold. Tera made it work, I had friends who never spent a dime but had enough gold to buy any of the cash shop cosmetics, it worked well.

  • evilastroevilastro EdinburghPosts: 4,270Member
    Originally posted by CazNeerg

    Originally posted by evilastro

    So many subscription games did not produce enough content to actually warrant a subscription. It would be nice to see the market moving to systems which hold developers accountable for each update.

    That depends entirely on where you place the bar for what "warrants a subscription."  To me, if I get an hour of fun for every dollar spent, I feel like I am ahead of the curve.  So if I can manage to enjoy a MMO for more than fifteen hours out of the month, it warrants a subscription.  Even if it has a F2P option.

    I would place the bar at 'actually introducing new content every month or so'.  Some games would go up to 6 months between actual content updates and still expect people to be paying a subscription.  The shift to F2P / B2P means you only pay for things you want at that time, you aren't paying for the promise of content 4 months from now.

  • DistopiaDistopia Baltimore, MDPosts: 16,912Member Uncommon
    I think they should charge for whatever guarantees sales. As long as they add other options (like a sub) to get those thing for a flat fee I have no problem with whatever they decide to sell piecemeal.

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

    It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

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