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What Ever Happened To The F2P Cash Shop?

ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 12,999
edited April 2019 in The Pub at MMORPG.COM
I have seen a few threads recently, talking about the huge amounts being spent and the play to win aspect of MMOs. The baulk of cash shop games are like this, but I am sure our old timers can remember what used to be said about F2P games, indeed we still get this today:

"F2P means you play for free, not like subscription!"

"With subscription you are paying even when you don't go online!"

"Subscription is unfair anyway as players who put more time in get all the rewards!"

"It is only a tiny percentage of whales who pay the vast majority pay nothing!"

...and here we are today, I had better laugh or I would cry. :)

Now we have cash shops where you pay every which way; from the pre-order/kickstarter through AAA released-to-soon/early access and ending in the gold club/season pass 'blah blah' lets have some more money. And lets face it, this is not new, I am just pointing out how much worse this situation is than five years ago. 'F2P' MMOs are a never ending stream of innovative ideas to give you reasons to buy more and more...and more.

Free to Play games are so venal they make a mockery of the name, sure if you want to grind your life away you can accomplish something but never as much as someone paying even a modest amount. Compared to subscriptions they create an unfair playing field, distort gameplay and if you are the sort of person who pays more than £10 a month in a F2P game you are certainly paying more.

Also we are told the proportion who pay is tiny, so you can under stand my puzzlement that we get so many comments about bad cash shops in F2P games and what people have paid. I have even done so myself a couple of times, anyone can get suckered in. So I recon one or maybe a few payments are far more common than players think, hence the poll. Lets see how many minnows are swimming with the whales.

 25 Agrees

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Have you ever put money into a F2P game?
  1. Have you ever put money into a F2P game?39 votes
    1. Yes, I have made a payment to a F2P game.
      84.62%
    2. No, I have not made a payment to a F2P game.
      15.38%
GdemamiRhoklawbcbullyStoneRoses
«13456

Comments

  • anemoanemo Member RarePosts: 1,891
    edited April 2019
    Pretty much my spend point is usually speeding up collectables (LOL, MTG Arena) or faster advancement (K-MMOs usually).

    I'm actually starting to get less and less happy at "Cosmetic Only":
    • Since this normally means that they're ripping out quest rewards and keeping you with crappier looking gear longer.
    • That the publishers will probably see more money in monetizing some silly dress, rather than making post game story updates. 
    • Hints that those cosmetics will probably be tradable directly to other players which will utterly screw the economy in quite a few cases. 
    • Are frivolous enough of a thing, that the items can be put into RNG/Loot Box systems (since battlefield like rewards that change character abilities still get too much outrage).
    _____________

    Also worth mention that I consider Crowd Funding and Early Access to be "shop" buys.    While I'm fine with actual small developers going with Early Access or Patereon. I don't bother with Crowd Funding and think it's silly, you just need to read into how many rights those sites reserve for themselves and liabilities that they get you to agree to waive.
    GdemamiScotAlBQuirky

    Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

    "At one point technology meant making tech that could get to the moon, now it means making tech that could get you a taxi."

  • RhoklawRhoklaw Member EpicPosts: 7,029
    Now, I just want to clarify something. I've probably spent more in ESO's cash shop than any other game I've ever played. Only because it's cash shop does not affect the overall arc of the game play. I've bought houses, costumes, pets, horses and furniture. I don't have a problem with cash shops so much as I do with PvP focused games that abuse them by preying on human's inability to avoid being competitive.
    GdemamiScotgervaise1

  • CryomatrixCryomatrix Member EpicPosts: 2,939
    Honestly Scot, i like F2P games.

    It doesnt mean they are necessarily all p2win or p2progress or free 2 progress.

    I like f2p model as it is a nice way to try out games without forking over cash.

    I generally dont play p2w games as im not into pvp that much and dont care, but i do play p2progress and cosmetic games because i am fine with it.

    P2progress gives you control of the grind and honestly if you play a f2p game for like 5 to 10 hours, you owe it to the company to at least fork something over. They need to be paid for their product.

    With war thunder, i have no real desire to speed up my progression as i enjoy the game as is and dont mind the grind.

    Overall, each monetization scheme has its pros and cons, a buy 2 play game may suck balls and you are left with a sour taste in your mouth like bless or atlas or NMS in the beginning. 


    Catch me streaming at twitch.tv/cryomatrix
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  • KnightFalzKnightFalz Member RarePosts: 1,039
    edited April 2019
    What happened is they discovered the market would bear a great deal more than they thought possible, so they started to test just how much weight would be tolerated.

    Essentially, if they buy it more will come. So they did, and so it has. Classic vicious circle.

    So long as consumers support this expansion trend it will continue.
    ScotAlBQuirkyKyleranGdemamilaserit
  • AlbatroesAlbatroes Member LegendaryPosts: 7,207
    F2P is really just 'try before you buy' imo. Honestly, I tend to not seriously invest in f2p mmorpgs since there's no 'bottom' so to speak. With something like a moba or arena shooter (br for some), I can justify the f2p a lot more since 0 of the stuff you buy influences anything going on in the particular match you're involved in (most of them anyway). Archeage is a prime example of a f2p mmorpg with no 'bottom.' As a brand-ish new player, you can sink the amount of a brand new car into the game just for one high-ish item (via apex of course, not outright). The real problem isn't really with f2p as much as it is with all the others than want to be b2p/p2p but also have cash shops that get updated as often as f2p ones (I'm looking at you FFXIV). As Jim Sterling would say "They want to have their cake and fk it too!"
    GdemamiScot
  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 12,999
    edited April 2019
    anemo said:
    Pretty much my spend point is usually speeding up collectables (LOL, MTG Arena) or faster advancement (K-MMOs usually).

    I'm actually starting to get less and less happy at "Cosmetic Only":
    • Since this normally means that they're ripping out quest rewards and keeping you with crappier looking gear longer.
    • That the publishers will probably see more money in monetizing some silly dress, rather than making post game story updates. 
    • Hints that those cosmetics will probably be tradable directly to other players which will utterly screw the economy in quite a few cases. 
    • Are frivolous enough of a thing, that the items can be put into RNG/Loot Box systems (since battlefield like rewards that change character abilities still get too much outrage).
    _____________

    Also worth mention that I consider Crowd Funding and Early Access to be "shop" buys.    While I'm fine with actual small developers going with Early Access or Patereon. I don't bother with Crowd Funding and think it's silly, you just need to read into how many rights those sites reserve for themselves and liabilities that they get you to agree to waive.
    But cosmetic only can fund a game in its entirety, take a look at Fortnite. I am not sure about Fortnite though it may have a skin economy? Bind to account is obviouly the way to go for a fair playing field in any game.

    ***Currently 100% of those who answered the poll have paid into a F2P game before, I guess we are expected to believe they are all whales? This is what I am getting at, many minnows are paying with the whales, F2P is not just funded by those with enormous pockets.***
    KyleranGdemamiRhiow-Darkstep

     25 Agrees

    You received 25 Agrees. You're posting some good content. Great!

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    Now Doesn't That Make You Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside? :P

  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 12,999
    edited April 2019
    Honestly Scot, i like F2P games.

    It doesnt mean they are necessarily all p2win or p2progress or free 2 progress.

    I like f2p model as it is a nice way to try out games without forking over cash.

    I generally dont play p2w games as im not into pvp that much and dont care, but i do play p2progress and cosmetic games because i am fine with it.

    P2progress gives you control of the grind and honestly if you play a f2p game for like 5 to 10 hours, you owe it to the company to at least fork something over. They need to be paid for their product.

    With war thunder, i have no real desire to speed up my progression as i enjoy the game as is and dont mind the grind.

    Overall, each monetization scheme has its pros and cons, a buy 2 play game may suck balls and you are left with a sour taste in your mouth like bless or atlas or NMS in the beginning. 


    I have played War Thunder myself, like you felt no need to put any money in, it is my favourite game of that ilk. Where I have it was more as a thank you to the devs who I thought had made a decent game. It is very difficult to do that though without getting P2W items, especially if you are like me and do not care for outfits. :)

     25 Agrees

    You received 25 Agrees. You're posting some good content. Great!

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    Now Doesn't That Make You Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside? :P

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member EpicPosts: 6,154
    I have paid money into ONE F2P game, Wizard101. Over the years (about 8?) I have played I've paid about one year of subbing (12 * $9 = $108) plus 4, maybe 5 months where I spent $60 to buy the zones in the game, where once bought, I never need to worry about them anymore. I think I have another $60 purchase to finish out the basic game's zones (Wizard City, Krokotopia, Marleybone, Mooshu, and Dragonspyre).

    I understand some players like F2P, but I will never "accept it" as normal, having bought whole games from the start for me. The "risk vs reward" of due diligence before buying the game  I accept. I do miss free trials and demos, though.

    KnightFalz was right. We have this system because it works for the companies. I guess video game players are so flush with cash that spending, many times more money on a game through a cash shop than a subscription, seems negligible. I no longer believe (no proof) that "only whales" keep F2P games afloat. $1000 or more a month is a rarity where the $20-$80 a month is the norm.

    Also, if I may, "Pay to Win" totally depends on what that player seeks "to win." The best house? By it for a "win." The best costume/outfit? Buy it to "win." The best weapon? Buy it to "win." Being "unique" (in a game of many thousands)? Buy it to "win." Server first? Buy it to "win." It all depends on what that player thinks, not some hard and fast arbitrary mega-weapon or armor, though that could also be P2W. Heck, if I played a game with PvP in it would it be P2W for me if I never partook in PvP, just played the PvE side?

    Now let the "I pay nothing and enjoy it!" responses come in. There are some, but they are not the norm.

    PS: "Only cosmetics" (or "only anything") is NOT OK with me :)
    Gdemamilaserit

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR


  • Agent_JosephAgent_Joseph Member UncommonPosts: 1,340
    F2P  games are more expensive than sub 
    ScotKyleranPhryGdemamiRhiow-Darkstep
  • cheyanecheyane Member EpicPosts: 7,103
    I have in Path of Exile but that game deserves it. Also in Fallen Earth.
    Gdemamipaulytheb
    Crichton: 'If he masters wormhole technology, what will he use it for?'
    Scorpius: 'Faster delivery of pizzas.'

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 36,139
    What happened is they discovered the market would bear a great deal more than they thought possible, so they started to test just how much weight would be tolerated.

    Essentially, if they buy it more will come. So they did, and so it has. Classic vicious circle.

    So long as consumers support this expansion trend it will continue.
    Long ago and far away when MMOs began incorporating cash shops people would often decry no matter how benign it was a slippery slope which once started down there would be no going back.

    How right they were, but the analogy implies gamers sliding downhill with little to no control which isn't really accurate.

    @TimEisen once wrote there was no monetization "hill" gamers weren't willing to climb, and I think its been proven many willingly embrace the different ways developers have found to separate them from their cash.

    ScotanemoGdemamiAlBQuirkyTierless

    "See normal people, I'm not one of them" | G-Easy & Big Sean

    "I need to finish" - Christian Wolff: The Accountant

    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, playing FO76 at the moment.

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™

    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon






  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 12,999
    edited April 2019
    Kyleran said:
    What happened is they discovered the market would bear a great deal more than they thought possible, so they started to test just how much weight would be tolerated.

    Essentially, if they buy it more will come. So they did, and so it has. Classic vicious circle.

    So long as consumers support this expansion trend it will continue.
    Long ago and far away when MMOs began incorporating cash shops people would often decry no matter how benign it was a slippery slope which once started down there would be no going back.

    How right they were, but the analogy implies gamers sliding downhill with little to no control which isn't really accurate.

    @TimEisen once wrote there was no monetization "hill" gamers weren't willing to climb, and I think its been proven many willingly embrace the different ways developers have found to separate them from their cash.

    I agree but do wonder how many of those of us who warned of what was going to happen ending up splashing the cash. I have spent less than £100 in total for every F2P MMO I have been in, not exactly a whale. :)

    I tend to think of this as more to do with the gamers who have joined us since then, after all when we were told we were doomsayers It was by people saying "I pay nothing its free, FREE" not by people saying "I love paying for cash shop goodies and P2W stuff!".
    KyleranGdemamiAlBQuirky

     25 Agrees

    You received 25 Agrees. You're posting some good content. Great!

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Now Doesn't That Make You Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside? :P

  • PhryPhry Member LegendaryPosts: 11,004
    Haven't F2P cash shops always been like this? these days its fairly unrealistic to expect a F2P game to have a cosmetic only cash shop, there are exceptions but there arent many out there mores the pity. :/
  • UngoodUngood Member EpicPosts: 4,127
    Actually things have gotten better or more mild with the F2P cash shops, when F2P was first coming out, the cash shops were rampant P2W, hence the terms arrival and it's negative connotations.

    Trubine, (which no longer makes MMOs),broke into the F2P arena with a new idea of selling the game into parts as opposed to selling power, IE: Buying character slots, classes, content, dungeons, etc.

    This sparked a lot of other MMO's to rethink how they could sell their game, but of course Turbines model worked for the way their game was set up, it would not work for how a game like say Aion or GW2 was set up, so they needed a new way to sell players stuff.

    Again, Bag Space, Cosmetics, Access to special places, Classes, Races, in short they sold things they knew players would want to augment their game experience.

    Personally, I think the Cash Shops have been getting better over the years, becoming more optional than mandatory. But this is also dependent upon the game, not every game is the same, not every shop is the same.

    Some are more benign than others.

    But overall I think we are still at a good place with the Cash Shops.

    GdemamiMendel
    Egotism is the anesthetic that dullens the pain of stupidity, this is why when I try to beat my head against the stupidity of other people, I only hurt myself.
  • CaffynatedCaffynated Member RarePosts: 753
    I am happy to spend money in F2P/B2P games that don't sell power. I was happy to throw some money at Warframe, and if the huge amount of plat that I bought on discount wasn't more than I would ever need to spend, I would have bought more.

    I spent a lot in GW2 right up until they launched their first expansion that was a massive P2W power creep. The day it hit live, I quit and never spent another penny on the game.

    BDO, I bought pets and costumes when the cash shop was limited. I was happy to support the westernized model they were advertising (lying about). Then they steadily pushed more and more P2W crap into the game and I haven't spent a cent in almost 2 years.
  • GdemamiGdemami Member EpicPosts: 12,071
    Kyleran said:
    there was no monetization "hill" gamers weren't willing to climb

    ...apparently there is a hill players weren't willing to climb - subscriptions.

    Mendel
  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 7,561
    F2P  games are more expensive than sub 
    It depends on the person....I subbed in EQ1 from 2000-05, WoW for a couple years, and EQ2 for a year or two and spent wayyyyyyyyy more than I ever have in a F2P......I hated being forced to pay a sub.
  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 36,139
    edited April 2019
    Gdemami said:
    Kyleran said:
    there was no monetization "hill" gamers weren't willing to climb

    ...apparently there is a hill players weren't willing to climb - subscriptions.

    Sort of true,  when left with no choice (WOW, FFXIV, EVE) some players will pay a sub.

    Many games (ESO, AA, BDO) also have designs meant to hamper and / or annoy players into paying an "optional" monthly patron fee.

    But it is true, in general gamers are loath to pay even a small amount of money on a sub if it "forces" them to play, or worse, they might not play at all.

    Yet if its something they absolutely want, the sky is the limit for many, just human nature I suppose. 
    GdemamiScot

    "See normal people, I'm not one of them" | G-Easy & Big Sean

    "I need to finish" - Christian Wolff: The Accountant

    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, playing FO76 at the moment.

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™

    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon






  • UngoodUngood Member EpicPosts: 4,127
    edited April 2019
    Scot said:
    Kyleran said:
    What happened is they discovered the market would bear a great deal more than they thought possible, so they started to test just how much weight would be tolerated.

    Essentially, if they buy it more will come. So they did, and so it has. Classic vicious circle.

    So long as consumers support this expansion trend it will continue.
    Long ago and far away when MMOs began incorporating cash shops people would often decry no matter how benign it was a slippery slope which once started down there would be no going back.

    How right they were, but the analogy implies gamers sliding downhill with little to no control which isn't really accurate.

    @TimEisen once wrote there was no monetization "hill" gamers weren't willing to climb, and I think its been proven many willingly embrace the different ways developers have found to separate them from their cash.

    I agree but do wonder how many of those of us who warned of what was going to happen ending up splashing the cash. I have spent less than £100 in total for every F2P MMO I have been in, not exactly a whale. :)

    I tend to think of this as more to do with the gamers who have joined us since then, after all when we were told we were doomsayers It was by people saying "I pay nothing its free, FREE" not by people saying "I love paying for cash shop goodies and P2W stuff!".
    I tend to think the people calling others "Doomsayers" were the people spending roughly a subs worth of money every month, saying "It's harmless" and they have, for the most part, been correct. Very few games put in direct Cash for Power systems in their games.

    I mean, when you really break it down, which I did with PoF and pondering GW2's cash shop, it came out to something like an average of 5 dollars a player per month. Which, to be honest is 1/3 what they could have made with a 15 a month sub.

    I did this, just to see at the time where I fell spending around $40 a month on the game, and apparently with just that little bit put me in the top 10% of people spending money on the game. Well, they needed to target where they thought was best, apparently my demographic was not it. Such is, what it is.

    So, anyway, going F2P is not a means to get more money per player, it is purely a means to get more out of your players that are willing to spend money. It also gives them more in return, after all, with a Sub, all you got was the privilege to access their game, which, as it turns out, was not enough to get people to keep shelling out 15 a month.

    Egotism is the anesthetic that dullens the pain of stupidity, this is why when I try to beat my head against the stupidity of other people, I only hurt myself.
  • GdemamiGdemami Member EpicPosts: 12,071
    edited April 2019
    Kyleran said:
    Sort of true,  when left with no choice (WOW, FFXIV, EVE) some players will pay a sub.

    Many games (ESO, AA, BDO) also have designs meant to hamper and / or annoy players into paying an "optional" monthly patron fee.

    But it is true, in general gamers are loath to pay even a small amount of money on a sub if it "forces" them to play, or worse, they might not play at all.

    Yet if its something they absolutely want, the sky is the limit for many, just human nature I suppose. 
    Why using common sense when you can just keep making up silly, flawed explanations all day long...

    /facepalm
    Kyleran
  • KnightFalzKnightFalz Member RarePosts: 1,039
    Kyleran said:
    What happened is they discovered the market would bear a great deal more than they thought possible, so they started to test just how much weight would be tolerated.

    Essentially, if they buy it more will come. So they did, and so it has. Classic vicious circle.

    So long as consumers support this expansion trend it will continue.
    Long ago and far away when MMOs began incorporating cash shops people would often decry no matter how benign it was a slippery slope which once started down there would be no going back.

    How right they were, but the analogy implies gamers sliding downhill with little to no control which isn't really accurate.

    @TimEisen once wrote there was no monetization "hill" gamers weren't willing to climb, and I think its been proven many willingly embrace the different ways developers have found to separate them from their cash.

    I was one of those in the decrying chorus.

    You can't sell what people won't buy.

    If gamers chose not to buy into f2p in those early days the concept would have had a quick and easy death. Instead they bought into it with such fervour it became the dominant MMORPG marketing model to the extent subscription only games are virtually extinct.

    The state of things now is the responsibility of provider and consumer both.
    ScotKyleran
  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 4,098
    Subs are a hard proposition.  180 a year is expensive. Not counting box and expansion price.  The content of being most heroic task master doesn't sound appealing or a good deal. 
  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 12,999
    edited April 2019
    Gdemami said:
    Kyleran said:
    Sort of true,  when left with no choice (WOW, FFXIV, EVE) some players will pay a sub.

    Many games (ESO, AA, BDO) also have designs meant to hamper and / or annoy players into paying an "optional" monthly patron fee.

    But it is true, in general gamers are loath to pay even a small amount of money on a sub if it "forces" them to play, or worse, they might not play at all.

    Yet if its something they absolutely want, the sky is the limit for many, just human nature I suppose. 
    Why using common sense when you can just keep making up silly, flawed explanations all day long...

    /facepalm
    Gdemami you have a track record of writing about ten words and then thinking you have totally covered any topic and thinking you have got it totally right. Life would be beyond simple if that actually worked. :)

    I think there has been a process, not just of new players coming in who did not have our ethos but of older players slowly being lured in by the changing gameplay. It is either play or get out of the kitchen. In MMORPG guilds I have been in we talk about playing on in spite of the changes, that includes the P2W elements brought in by cash shops.

    It is the sheer volumne of new ways to pay that got me to make this thread Phry, it is just neverending. From bringing back subscriptions under new names like season passes and gold membership to the loot boxes, the early access and all the money raking I have forgot to mention. Cash shops themselves have been on a journey leading MMORPG's to 'games as a service' that is so removed from what they once were as the subscription model was from the original cash shop model.
    GdemamiKyleranAlBQuirky

     25 Agrees

    You received 25 Agrees. You're posting some good content. Great!

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    Now Doesn't That Make You Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside? :P

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 36,139
    When one receives the "Seal of Quality" (the LOL) they know their response is right on target.

    :D
    RhoklawUngoodAlBQuirkyScot

    "See normal people, I'm not one of them" | G-Easy & Big Sean

    "I need to finish" - Christian Wolff: The Accountant

    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, playing FO76 at the moment.

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™

    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon






  • NycteliosNyctelios Member EpicPosts: 3,808
    I bought some tabs and cosmetics on PoE because their shop did not invade my gameplay in any way (at least I didn't felt it) while I had so much time having fun in the game. 

    And that's pretty much it. Not a single other F2P got me thinking "I'll give you guys some money". Not because they do not exists, but because PoE was the only one really.

    I would mentioning that Warframe also deserves apreciation. 
    AlBQuirky
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