Monday, June 18, 2012

The Free Jungle

There is so much hype and news about the Free to Play model for games these days. Like anything else, it has its pros and cons but I'm afraid there is a serious issue with this model when you observe it from a grand scale.

Yes it is good to provide a free test for players so that they can see if they like the game or not, which is something that was always possible with free demos. It can fight piracy and make the players pay for things in the game by risking strange game design decisions sometimes, shoving different monetization methods into the players face. (I can not think how a game like god of war can use the new monetization methods).

The thing which is not usually talked about is the consumers time. Every potential target purchaser (spender might be a better term in the F2P model) has a limited time every day in the week. If this time is filled with useless noise, then thats it, no more time left. Browsing the infinite catalogs of free to play games, downloading them, checking them out for 30 minutes just to find out that you do or do not like them is the noise, you have already spent the time you had. The next day, lots of other new free to plays, you check them out, times up! The tendency to pay for a game is highly reduced for such a consumer while there is hope for a good free to play to show up one of these days and while there is a significant time consuming hunt in the free game world everyday.

In the traditional model, the consumer would browse game information, maybe watch a few videos and then decide about a game to purchase but in the new F2P model, the same consumer would try out the free game, try out the other one, try out the one after and then continue on the next day. Wandering in the free jungle.

I'm curious to see how things end up in a few years.

1 comment:

Ashkan said...

You are clearly one of those who view things from the side that noone else does.
Maybe some kind of testing services rise that test and rate free to play games based on different measurements and charge for sharing their lists with people :) RPG list is free for 100 best games without any more data , full list every week with sorted lists based on graphical quality, story, .... $0.1 per month. :)