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I have often wondered about this free to play model... why is everybody adopting it? What makes them think it's such a great idea? I could point you to an article where a girl spent over $400 on Candy Crush because of the model and most people know somebody that's spent over £100 on a game.
Is that the target audience, though? The people who can't control themselves, or are spending other peoples money. I think I've paid once in a free to play game and that was more about feeling I should contribute to the game because I enjoyed it.
When I see a game is being released and see that it is free to play, I inevitable give a sigh and a shake of the head. The advantage, of course, is that you can potentially get more gamers trying out the game because it's free. The disadvantage is that most of these games incentivise paying money.They're there to make money - which is fair enough, but an in-game currency almost always results in it having an effect on the gameplay.
Examples are buying items which make you stronger (Pay to Win), or paying to improve the speed of progression. This wouldn't be too bad, but they almost inevitably slow down the standard progression to an absolute chore making it almost a requirement to pay.
My overall feeling is that these free to play games become weaker games because of the payment model. There must be millions out there like me that do not like that and, in the end, it discourages you from playing the game. I have always stopped playing these games (except the time mentioned above) because the enforced gameplay changes/weaknesses and future costs make it so unappealing. In the end, logic tells you that their free to play model is aimed at taking a LOT more money from some customers than all customers who buy a game at the start. That immediately highlights a free to play game as a bit of a con right from the beginning!
I don't want to sound like someone who wants something for nothing - quite the opposite! My preference is to buy a game and get the full game with no in-game shops affecting the play. No more payments, no refunds - just buy it and play it if you like it. I have wasted a fair amount of cash on games that I didn't enjoy, but also got more than my money's worth from other games.
I can't help but think that offering a demo or trial of a game and then buying the full game is the best option for a quality product. Even the sub-model is something worthwhile - if you've got past the first month and still want to play then maybe it is worth your money - at least you know what you're getting and that nobody with a bigger wallet is gaining an advantage over you.
The fact is, though, that so many companies are going free to play. It doesn't make sense to me, though. How can it be better to allow everyone to play for free and perhaps make an income from 10-25% of people than to charge everyone £20-40? Do the ones who cannot control themselves end up spending £100+? The only advantage that I can see is that you would get revenue long after release, but will it come to anywhere near the initial purchase of the game at full price?
So has anybody actually released results? A comparison between a full priced game and a free to play game on the PC? Tablet/Mobile games are different in their nature.
To me, it seems like companies will go full circle and stop doing free to play games and just start selling them at full price again. I can only hope that they don't do an EA and do BOTH. £50 for a game and then you have to buy more in-game to compete or keep up-to-date. A terrible abuse of their position.