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Reader Comments (97)

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 10:31AM Madrush said

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Obligation might be a bit of an overstatement, but I certainly don't mind contributing to the games that I enjoy.

I had this conversation the other day with a friend, actually. I noticed in League of Legends that I hit something like 80 games of Dominion mode played. I was a bit shocked because I didn't think I had put that much time into the game. But I guess I was wrong. So I dropped a few bucks in the store since they were able to keep me entertained for such a long time (and still going!).

Same goes for Dragons Nest and Vindictus. Allods was another story. I enjoyed the game, but the cash shop prices actually killed it for me. Also the fact that at the time the cash shop items were more necessity- which to me defeats F2P.

If you like it, play. If you want more, pay.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 10:33AM Rheem said

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I'm going to side step the whole issue of microtransactions in free to play games and present another way of looking at it.

The game needs the both kinds of people, not just the people who pay. Why?

Because games need people, and unless its worth their time to play without spending money, people aren't going to stick around. And the less people you have, the less fun it is for everyone, regardless of whether you pay or not.

In otherwords, the "free" community is nessasary for the "pay" community to remain happy and continue spending.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 2:46PM pcgneurotic said

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You're a humanitarian in a field full of Me People. I salute you! (and I mean this sincerely). :)
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Posted: Nov 4th 2011 10:41AM Sephirah said

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Frankly, in all F2P games that remind me (in game) too often how wonderful their cashshop is, I feel compelled to not buy anything (and likely uninstall the game soon after).

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 10:54AM Ulfgaar said

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MMOs are a racket for the most part, so no, I never feel obligated to pay anything.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 11:14AM jimr9999us said

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Everyone has a different idea of what value is in a mmog. I'm personally good up to $20/ a month. So if I'm playing a game, and it's my number one game and not a diversion for when servers are down, I'll pay.

I'll also purchase the game, if it's sub based, just to support the model I prefer.

Ultimately we vote with our dollars based on our value perceptions all of the time. The engagement ring I got my wife is a perfect example :)

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 11:35AM Wispur said

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Players = Community = MMO Content.

People play MMOs to play with other people. Even if you never pay a single cent, you are still content making the game more enjoyable for others, and when others are having fun, they may pay more.

There is a very real benefit to having more players in your mmo, even if they're not paying.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 11:51AM Ripper McGee said

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"Are we cheating studios by not paying for free-to-play?"

No. The F2P model is largely based on the 89/10/1 rule:

89% of players will never pay
10% will pay a nominal amount
01% will pay an extensive amount

The 11% who pay generate the revenue and, hopefully, profit for the game. Are the 89% freeloaders? No. As mentioned above, they contribute to the community in other ways, but I would also argue they directly contribute to the revenue stream. Why? For two reasons:

1) They help ensure a healthy server population, which encourages others who are willing and/or able to pay to actually do so. The larger the overall population, the larger group of paying players.

2) The overall 89/10/1 rule is largely based on player churn. While there will always be players who stick with a game for an extended period of time, there's also a large percent who play to some personal level of satisfaction/dissatisfaction and leave. By having a good F2P model, you encourage players to not only try out the game, but either play for longer than they otherwise may or to come back periodically when they otherwise might not. This contributes to health overall player throughput, which ultimate supports point 1 - the possibility of a healthy server population that my not otherwise exist with a P2P model for the same game.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 11:56AM DarthDan said

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As a consumer, I feel insulted that this question was even asked. In fact, the question just goes to prove why the Free-to-Play model continues to be very successful for these companies. Free-to-Play was employed because it is far more profitable for them, not because they were trying to do us any favors. The amount of money I spent in the Sony Cash Shop this week is proof of how these companies make more money by having games a la carte instead of paying a sub fee and getting the whole shabang for one low price.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 12:00PM Utakata said

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I am a big fan of Justin here...

...but what an absurd question.

I have no compulsion of moralist guilt or obligation to pay for anything a capitalist is offering for free. As I do not have the same for everytime I post here for free. What is freely offered is freely taken. Unless such can prove I am in fact am stealing from it, I feel no sense no should I for playing something absolutely for free if I am allowed too. Just saying.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 12:04PM Cassius81 said

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As previously mentioned, even if you don't pay a cent,myou are still part of the active community. When I log onto LOTRO for example, I want to see people around, be able find groups and buy items I'm looking for. Remove all the f2p people and it will have a big impact on that and therefore subscribers.

I have over the last couple of years spent a fair bit on LOTRO and I am a paid subscriber. Trying out DCUO right now though and it's not likely I will spend any money in that (maybe the $5 to up my account status). I don't feel I'm doing them a disservice though, me and the other bunch of f2p tyre kickers that went over have probably made the game feel more alive than it has in months.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 1:37PM smartstep said

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@Cassius81

+1

Yeah basically even if you play f2p game totally for free not spending a single cent, you're still hmm 'profitable' in non-direct way to game developer.

You serve as another player popualting game server thus increasing attractiveness of a game ('look it has alot of people nice!") and serve as a 'worse' and /or 'weaker' kind of player cause some people spending $ in a store want to 'feel' better / more special than non-paying masses - as stupid as it sounds.
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Posted: Nov 4th 2011 12:27PM SkyStreak said

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I don't think you should feel guilty for taking advantage of a free to play game for as long as you want, but I don't think you have much right to complain about any of it.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 12:35PM Evlionn said

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I don't feel the free rider problem is as problematic in F2P games as it is in other economic situations, since the free riders are also active players (if they're not actively playing, then they're also not using resources, except maybe a small amount of HD storage for characters). It's well observed that a higher active population is going to lead to a increase in new accounts per period, since people prefer to play a game with an active community than with an inactive community.

Now, there is a point at which, if too many people are free riders, then it does lead to a loss for the company, but from my understanding, this number would probably have to be a very high percentage (somewhere between 95-99%?), depending on the cost of server utilization and how active the free riders are.

I think there's probably some correlation between level of activity and probability of buying in. If this is the case, then even using the game more is likely to lead to some buy-in (content, unlockable options, unique wear for looks and not stats, etc). These people are also most likely to buy stuff just to continue supporting the game, since they are more likely to be enjoying the content (I think there probably are some people out there who play a game just to play it through and quit, but MMOs have such a commitment that I think that's rare).

To sum up, I don't think there's a real problem with free riders in F2P games, as they either don't use up much resources or they eventually pay in to the game.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 12:36PM Jorev said

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The premise is false.
If the MMO offers RMT of any kind then it is not "free to play".
The mechanics will be manipulated to coerce cash shop purchases and whatever format of RMT they utilize.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 1:04PM (Unverified) said

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Hmmmm I dont think many people would be TRUE ftp most peeps would pay something for something they want.

I sub for my mmo's but...

Your question might make a kid who wants to play say Clone wars or DCUO feel like a CAD.

Bad question is bad.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 1:53PM Spacegrass said

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Not at all. If they give us the option, there's nothing wrong with taking it.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 1:57PM ed511df3 said

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We are not cheating studios by not paying for F2P. Why not? Because if we like the game, chances are you'll recruit friends to playing with you. And the more people you recruit, the larger the chance there is someone will be paying a substantial amount. And if you don't like the game, you won't stick around long enough to make a significant impact either way.

Word of mouth is still the most effective advertising campaign for any product, whether it be a car, a refrigerator, or a video game. You can look at countless reviews and never buy, but be swayed by just one friend saying, "Dude, this is so cool, you need to try it!" The best part about word of mouth is that it's completely free advertising.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 2:22PM Scuffles said

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Short answer to "Should we feel obligated to pay at least something if we've played a F2P MMO for a good length of time?"

.... No

By simply being in the game you are a contributing factor to their bottom line. If they have converted their MMO from P2P to F2P then obviously they could not sustain sufficient players to maintain the interests of their remaining players.

You end up with a situation quite similar to thermal runaway.

Often times I have splurged on some cash shop items with games I have been enjoying but not because I feel obligated. Interestingly enough when games have tried to bully me into using their Cash shops I've happily uninstalled them and moved to other F2P games.

The unwashed masses of these games who never use the cash shop (and I can not seem to drive this home or stress this enough) keep your paying customers playing and by proxy keep them paying.

There is nothing worse than an empty MMO....

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 2:25PM Scuffles said

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Really When I play F2P games I consider myself an unpaid intern because I'm doing them as much a favor as they are doing me.
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