| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Reader Comments (43)

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 9:09AM smartstep said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
Obviously that game company producing F2P games will defend F2P model.

It would be totally odd if they did not.


Great news.

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 10:48AM SnarlingWolf said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@smartstep

It's great that he says 95% of the people spend nothing. Companies keep trying to find ways to make a bigger percentage pay so it isn't like they're actually happy about that or want it to work like that. World of Tanks just said it had a significant percentage pay as well.

Basically that makes the guy a liar.
Reply

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 12:08PM SnarlingWolf said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@SnarlingWolf

Let's also ignore all of those casual f2p iPhone games that were specifically designed to trick kids by having the constant "Buy this for 0.99" popups occasionally replaced with "But this for 99" and people were being exploited into buying 100 dollar items.

Let's also ignore all of the pay 2 win games which specifically release items that improve stats and once the sales of those drop off, release a new item that is better than the previous so everyone has to buy it again.


There is definetly no exploitive behavior in the f2p gaming market....

Naturally there are games/companies that have not gone to that behavior yet, but it certainly exists and isn't rare. So to say otherwise is ridiculous.
Reply

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 5:20PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@SnarlingWolf 'Significant' in F2P standards is anything more than 10% of the playerbase.
Reply

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 11:31PM jmerriex said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@SnarlingWolf Having actually worked in the F2P industry I can say for a fact that Cousins is 100% correct. I personally know about 100 different players from 10 different games who spend more than $500 a month on their favorite F2P game. They are not broke, they are not the rulers or their respective games and they are very aware of what they are doing and feel the investment they make is well worth the fun they receive.

As for his numbers, I've worked on Sword of the New World and Sword 2, War Rock, Global MU Online, R.O.H.A.N. Online and APB: Reloaded. I can say with confidence that those numbers vary widely with the audience. But it is true, the VAST majority (well over 75% in almost every case I've seen) of players in those games have NEVER paid to play the game. But they log in and play every day.

Now as business people, do we actively try to convert those who do not pay? YES, ABSOLUTELY. We know for a fact, the moment you make your first purchase, you will pay us for the rest of your time with the game. We'd be dumb not to try to convert those players who have not yet made a purchase. But we also know that about 25-30% of the players playing the game will NEVER pay us AND without those players the game is no longer fun for the other players. So there is a fine line that has to be drawn between FORCING someone to pay and ensuring you can stay competitive without having to ever pay.
Reply

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 9:15AM Kalex716 said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
I'm not against free to play at all, in fact, i care very little about how a game is monetized.

If its fun, i do not mind giving them my money as i see fit, whether its subscription based or has cash shop hooks.

If its not fun, I don't play.

That being said, I think this guy is kind of full of it, if he can't even admit theirs users at the unhealthy ends of the extremes were someone is making some poor choices and either playing entirely too much for their own good, or spending entirely too much for their own good.

This is okay to admit IMO, and much more realistic. But the fact that he can't even concede that suggests he's just trying to pat a bunch of like minded people in a room on the back, and not talk about his user base very seriously.

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 10:46AM aurickle said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
@Kalex716
Yet his comment about the hobby is accurate.

How about the Super Bowl? Every year several thousand people descend on the host city and shell out thousands of dollars each to watch the game. They're paying all this money for something that the vast majority of people (I'd say 99.9% or more) watch from home for free. Funny thing, though -- I've never heard anyone say that the live spectators are being exploited. They're just fans who happen to be willing to spend a lot of money for a few hours of entertainment.

I have a hobby where I put on elaborate musical light shows in my yard for Halloween and Christmas. In the last three years I've spent upwards of $10,000 on that hobby. People call that being eccentric. I don't hear anyone saying I'm being exploited even though there are only a few companies in the world that manufacture the controllers or software that let me do what I do and so those items are quite expensive.

I know other people who spend similar sums on everything from fishing to stargazing to winemaking to car restoration. In all cases, it's a hobby. It's something that they enjoy doing in their free time and enjoy it enough that they are willing to spend a lot of money. I've never heard anyone claiming that these hobbyists are being exploited.

Game playing -- including MMO's -- is for most of us a hobby. Some of us are willing to spend $15 a month on it and think that's fair. Some of us want to spend nothing and think that's fair. Some are willing to spend hundreds of dollars a month and think it's fair. I'll also bet that people in Asia think we're completely bonkers -- or even being exploited -- here in the West for being willing to pay a subscription.
Reply

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 11:04AM AlienFanatic said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@aurickle

Nobody is talking about fairness. The article was about whether or not F2P models are inherently exploitive. Many of us believe they are because they rely upon a very small number of players subsidizing the rest. As others have noted, this happens with smoking in the real world.

A ridiculous number of government programs are reliant upon the funds generated by sales of cigarettes. Many, if not most, of these programs have nothing to do with helping the smokers overcome their addiction, rather they rely upon a certain percentage of the population remaining hooked in order to continue funding those programs. That's not charity, that's exploitation.

Gaming is addictive and only the most addicted can justify spending the hundreds if not thousands upon the vanity gear and items in games. Just because they can afford it, just like smokers can find ways to afford $50 cartons of cigarettes, doesn't make it non-exploitive.
Reply

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 12:00PM aurickle said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@AlienFanatic
Some people are alcoholics. Bars are therefore evil and must be shut down because they exploit those people.

Some people are addicted to gambling. Casinos must be shut down because they exploit those people.

Some people are addicted to exercise. Gyms must be shut down because they exploit those people.

I could list a whole lot of addictions. Try Googling it sometime. By your argument, virtually every facet of life needs to be shut down because apparently the well being of the few outweighs the enjoyment of the many. Ben Cousins stated that only 5% of all their f2p players ever spend any money. Your argument is essentially that those 5% are addicts and that the game companies are exploiting them. That's a straw man argument - a fallacy.

Your argument also leaves out the factor of time. So someone spends hundreds or even thousands of dollars on their hobby. But what time frame is that over? Is someone who spends $200 on appearance items for his character an addict? Maybe. But what if that was over the course of the two years that he plays the game? That works out to less than $9 a month. You, meanwhile, would have spent $360 on subscriptions over that same time frame (assuming you sub to just one game at a time). Get thee to rehab!
Reply

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 9:29AM Irem said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Ideally, that would be the case...but some companies don't understand what he's saying, and they implement exploitative or coercive cash shop designs.

I think the fact that the industry has swung away from that being the norm, to the point where everyone's mostly settled on cosmetic items being "okay" and everything else sitting in a gray area that goes from "okay depending on implementation" to "not okay, period" speaks to what he says here: people don't want to support games that make them feel like their real opponent is the cash shop, with the goal being to eke out as much fun as possible before it penalizes you. However, there are still games that toe that line more and more as they age, leading to the impression among many gamers that F2P can't help but be a slippery slope.

Maybe that style of F2P design will disappear for the most part now that we've entered a state of the industry in which even AAA games are launching without a sub fee. With bigger budgets and more confidence, developers can afford to spend more time and money developing compelling paid content instead of just repackaging bits of the game for sale. Still, though, it's rare that I find cash shop items I actually want to pay for, even if I want to support a given game. It may not be "exploitative," but it sure as hell isn't any fun to find nothing you particularly want to buy, yet have the game itself issuing constant reminders that you really really really REALLY ought to be spending some money.

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 9:52AM (Unverified) said

  • 1 heart
  • Report
THIS JUST IN!

Terrorists say terrorism is acceptable.

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 10:39AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified)
In all fairness terrorism is highly subjective, in South Africa a few years back we had these fellows who were actively funded and trained by the Soviet Union and spent most of their times in border skirmishes or planting bombs in crowded placed. They're currently the government.

It's always important to remember that the terrorist does not see himself as a terrorist.
In fact few groups that we would call terrorists are actually terrorists, remember the word itself implies terror, the utilisation of terror and fear tactics to to achieve and end. No, most of those so called terrorists aren't out to make Americans / Europeans afraid, they're out to murder them. So murderist would be a technically more correct term.
Reply

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 10:58AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified)

My point was: Of course a F2P Publisher will say F2P isn't exploitative.
Reply

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 10:05AM Ceridith said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
In other news, cigarette companies claim that cigarettes are not addictive.

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 10:08AM Vgk said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
"Even the $5,000 spenders are not being exploited, they are just people who have found their big hobby."

And this is why I prefer the P2P system, it may seem more expensive at a glance, but it just tends to give you more bang for your buck. with $5,000 you can sub to an MMO for a little over 26 years. Especially considering how most P2P games aren't

" titles on the iOS and Android platforms"

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 10:26AM (Unverified) said

  • 1 heart
  • Report
Just like credit cards and home shopping channels were seen as "societies devil" decades ago, now they cry about f2p?

I hate that term, free to play. Hybrid model is better, because its NOT free to play. If it was, there would be no subscription option, no store, etc..

Real free to play gives everything. And personally, I looooove subscription becasuse you get EVERYTHING for one simple price. If its f2p, you already KNOW that if you pay for a subscription in a f2p game, there will be tens if not hundreds of items, costumes, etc that you will have to purchase in order to get. Yes some might be comsmetic, but in a sub game EVERYTHING you can earn in game.

People need to realize that even though a lot of mmorpg players are AWESOME PEOPLE, the other half of mmorpg gamers are either immature children or the worlds biggest piles of TRASH. Scumbags of society that play mmorpgs because of the anonymity and the lack of consequences to their acting like pieces of shat all day long.

Long live subscription games. The TRUTH of it all :

If all these mmorpgs spent the $$$ they used in converting to F2p, but used it on PROMOTING THEIR GAME - none would have to go f2p. There are hundreds of millions of GAMERS that dont even know what an mmorpg is!!!! And those that do, know the name of 1 or 2 - thats it!
Devs need to wake up soon, becausde the f2p "revolution" is going to die out as devs get greedy.

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 10:31AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
For me it seems like an exploitive F2P MMO would be one which isn't fun. If I get the feeling that I'm being nickel and dimed from the get-go I won't stick around. But that is my choice. If someone else feels like giving massive amounts of money than that is his choice.

I always found it funny when people treat the masses as ignorant fools. I've heard a lot of debates like this because of the US election season coming up and the debate around free-speech, money and buying elections. But at the end of the day isn't it a individuals choice what he wants to believe and what he wants to do?

So I'm kinda confused as to why this is such a big deal, sure there are some people with mental health disorders which put them at a disposition for obsessive and compulsive behaviours but these aren't the people we're talking about when we talk about F2P exploitation.

So I have to wonder if the average joe is being exploited isn't it his choice? Some people are into that sort of thing after all. And I'm sure that the large bulk of the MMO wouldn't support a game that did so, so its note like this can become a major F2P trend and crush out all other monetization models.

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 10:32AM ntellect said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I dont know. I dont buy "the game made me spend all my money" Whatever happened to personal responsibility? I play F2P games almost exclusively and never spent over 50 dollars in total. If you cant stop spending money on a game, its the persons' fault not the game. Dont see how a game company should be responsible for that. By that argument, if I sub to a P2P game and I play 24/7 does that mean MMOs are exploitative? Where does it stop?

Having played both P2P and F2P, I am leaning more towards the F2P model. I dont like paying a constant fee every month because sometimes I dont play a game everyday. In my head there is an amount of time that I must play in order for me to justify the 20/month cost. This then becomes work and takes away from the fun.

I dont have this concern in F2P. I just play and enjoy it, and surprisingly I play F2P games more than I do my premium titles. I like the fact that I can essentially "test" the game without paying. If I dont like it. Delete. No cost. But if I do like it, I can continue playing without limitation. I typically never even look in the cash shop. And when I do Im typically purchasing bag space (which by the way I have to do even in my premium titles - like EQ2).

I have heard arguments of P2W and games stopping you from playing without buying a particular item, but I must be lucky because I havent experienced that yet... well with City of Heroes I have. Made me pay 5 dollars to recieve the 'Next' button so I could play.

Content today doesnt justify 180/month from me and will stick to my free titles, including Guild Wars 2 and Lime Odyssey when released.

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 10:35AM Scuffles said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@ntellect

I tend to agree 100%, with P2P I feel obligated to play because I have shelled out ahead of time. Where as F2P gives me more of a feeling that I can come and go as I please.

Reply

Posted: Mar 28th 2012 10:33AM Scuffles said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
F2P does not inherently suggest an exploitative experience.
Companies actively choose to make or not to make their F2P game as such.

Unfortunately bad companies and blatantly abusive/exploitative practices give all F2P games a bad rap.

A well balanced F2P game will be enjoyable and the cash shop will be an added perk not a necessity to turn a bleak gaming experience into an enjoyable one.

Featured Stories

Betawatch: December 13 - 19, 2014

Posted on Dec 19th 2014 8:00PM

Massively's Best of 2014 Awards: MMO of the Year

Posted on Dec 19th 2014 11:00AM

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW