Free-to-play hate threatens health of the industry at large

Increasing negativity around F2P tars both good and bad games with the same brush

Free to play has an image problem. It's the most influential and arguably important development in the business of games in decades, a stratospherically successful innovation which has enabled the opening up of games to a wider audience than ever before. Implemented well, with clear understanding of its principles and proper respect afforded to players and creativity alike, it's more fair and even, in a sense, democratic than old-fashioned models of up-front payment; in theory, players pay in proportion to their enjoyment, handing over money in small transactions for a continued or deepened relationship with a game they already love, rather than giving a large amount of cash up-front for a game they've only ever seen in (possibly doctored) screenshots and videos.

While that is a fair description, I think, of the potential of free-to-play, it's quite clearly not the image that the business model bears right now. You probably scoffed about half a dozen times reading the above paragraph - it may be a fair description of free-to-play at its hypothetical best, but it's almost certainly at odds with your perceptions.

How, then, might we describe the perception of F2P? Greedy, exploitative, unfair, cheating... Once these adjectives start rolling, it's hard to get them to stop. The negative view of F2P is that it's a series of cheap psychological tricks designed to get people to spend money compulsively without ever realising quite how much cash they're wasting on what is ultimately a very shallow and cynical game experience.

"Unfortunately, the negative image that has been built up by free-to-play threatens not just the nasty, exploitative games, but all the perfectly decent ones as well - from billion-grossing phenomena like Puzzle & Dragons to indie wunderkind like Crossy Road"

I don't think it's entirely unsurprising or unexpected that this perception should be held by "core" gamers or those enamoured of existing styles of game. Although F2P has proven very successful for games like MMOs and MOBAs, it's by no means universally applicable, either across game types or across audience types; some blundering attempts by publishers to add micro-transactions to premium console and PC titles, combined with deep misgivings over the complete domination of F2P in the mobile game market, have left plenty of more traditional gamers with a very negative and extremely defensive attitude regarding the new business model. That's fine, though; F2P isn't for that audience (though it's a little more complex than that in reality; many players will happily tap away at an F2P mobile game while waiting for matchmaking in a premium console game).

What's increasingly clear, however, is that there's an image problem for F2P right in the midst of the audience at whom it's actually aimed. The negative perception of F2P is becoming increasingly mainstream. It gets mass-media coverage on occasion; recently, it spurred Apple to create a promotion specifically pointing App Store customers to games with no in-app purchases. I happen to think that's a great idea personally, but what does it say about the feedback from Apple's customers regarding F2P games, that promotion of non-F2P titles was even a consideration?

Even some of the most successful F2P developers now seem to want to distance themselves from the business model; this week's interview with Crossy Road developers Hipster Whale saw the team performing linguistic somersaults to avoid labelling their free-to-play game as being free-to-play. Crossy Road is a brilliant, fun, interesting F2P game that hits pretty much all of the positive notes I laid out up in the first paragraph; that even its own developers seem to view "free-to-play" as an overtly negative phrase is deeply concerning.

The problem is that the negativity has a fair basis; there's a lot of absolute guff out there, with the App Store utterly teeming with F2P games that genuinely are exploitative and unfair; worst of all, the bad games tend to be stupid, mean-spirited and grasping, attempting to suck money out of easily tricked customers (and let's be blunt here: we're talking, in no small measure, about kids) rather than undertaking the harder but vastly more rewarding task of actually entertaining and enthralling people until they feel perfectly happy with parting with a little cash to see more, do more or just to deepen their connection to the game.

Such awfulness, though, is not universal by any measure. There are tons of good F2P games out there; games that are creative and interesting (albeit often within a template of sorts; F2P was quick to split off into slowly evolving genre-types, though nobody who's played PC or console games for very long can reasonably criticise that particular development), games that give you weeks or months of enjoyment without ever forcing a penny from your pocket unless you're actually deeply engaged enough to want to pay up to get something more. Most of F2P's bone fide hits fit into this category, in fact; games like Supercell's Clash of Clans or Hay Day, GungHo's Puzzle & Dragons and, yes, even King's Candy Crush Saga, which is held aloft unfairly as an example of F2P scurrilousness, yet has never extracted a penny from 70 percent of the people who have finished (finished!) the game. That's an absolutely enormous amount of shiny candy-matching enjoyment (while I don't like the game personally, I don't question that it's enjoyment for those who play it so devotedly) for free.

Unfortunately, the negative image that has been built up by free-to-play threatens not just the nasty, exploitative games, but all the perfectly decent ones as well - from billion-grossing phenomena like Puzzle & Dragons to indie wunderkind like Crossy Road. If free-to-play as a "brand" becomes irreparably damaged, the consequences may be far-reaching.

"Wishing harm on F2P is wishing harm on many thousands of industry jobs; so don't wish F2P harm. Wish that it would be better; that way, everyone wins"

A year ago, I'd have envisaged that the most dangerous consequence on the horizon was heavy-handed legislation - with the EU, or perhaps the USA, clamping down on F2P mechanisms in a half-understood way that ended up damaging perfectly honest developers along with two-bit scam merchants. I still think that's possible; companies have ducked and dived around small bits of legislation (or the threat of small bits of legislation) in territories including Japan and the EU, but the hammer could still fall in this regard. However, I no longer consider that the largest threat. No, the largest threat is Apple; the company which did more than any other to establish F2P as a viable market remains the company that could pull the carpet out from underneath it entirely, and while I doubt that's on the cards right now, the wind is certainly turning in that direction.

Apple's decision to promote non-F2P titles on its store may simply be an editor's preference; but given the growing negativity around F2P, it may also be a sign that customer anger over F2P titles on iOS is reaching receptive ears at Apple. Apple originally permitted free apps (with IAP or otherwise) for the simple reason that having a huge library of free software available to customers was a brilliant selling point for the iPhone and iPad. At present, that remains the case; but if the negativity around the perception of F2P games were ever to start to outweigh the positive benefits of all that free software, do not doubt that Apple would reverse course fast enough to make your head spin. Reckon that its 30 percent share of all those Puzzle & Dragons and Candy Crush Saga revenues would be enough to make it think twice? Reckon again; App Store revenue is a drop in the ocean for Apple, and if abusive F2P ever starts to significantly damage the public perception of Apple's devices, it will ban the model (in part, at least) without a second thought to revenue.

Some of you, those who fully buy into the negative image of F2P, might think that would be a thing to celebrate; ding, dong, the witch is dead! That's a remarkably short-sighted view, however. In truth, F2P has been the saviour of a huge number of game development jobs and studios that would otherwise have been lost entirely in the implosion of smaller publishers and developers over the past five years; it's provided a path into the industry for a great many talented creative people, grown the audience for games unimaginably and has provided a boost not only to mobile and casual titles, but to core games as well - especially in territories like East Asia. Wishing harm on F2P is wishing harm on many thousands of industry jobs; so don't wish F2P harm. Wish that it would be better; that way, everyone wins.

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Latest comments (29)

Craig Burkey Software Engineer 7 years ago
I think their need to be a F2P code of practice, that protects gamers from being fleeced or treated as "Whales", could even have a badge that it sticks on the app stores showing that it adheres to it, if the industry were to create one off its own back, that may prevent other enitities like the EU & Apple imposing more draconian measures.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development7 years ago
This article is P2W...
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development7 years ago
You missed a category off in your comparisons Rob, and this isn't just a plug. Games like our Combat Monsters enjoy a middle tier of existence where they're crazily free with no oppressive monetising etc but just aren't doing well anyway.

The game has excellent ratings on mobile, reasonable and improving on Steam and I think it's fair to say that the people who get what our game is meant to be love it. And yet it earn bupkis (under $100 a day) due to a combination of invisibility and the default hate that this article is about. Frankly it deserves neither, but the reason I'm chundering on about it is that this is probably where most F2P games sit. And it's the hardest seat of all.

I'd love to wax lyrical about how to fix that, but I have no clue whatsoever! Even though we're still regularly updating and expanding Combat Monsters (not given up on it just yet), we won't be trying this model again for future work. It sucks.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 27th February 2015 9:35am

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Show all comments (29)
Nick Parker Consultant 7 years ago
I've just read the GI news item on Superdata console digital stats (PlayStation dominating share) and if you read it's report, it explains why FIFA '15 doesn't feature on the list but then goes on to reveal that FIFA '15 generated $28.3m (putting it 2nd in top sellers list) of which 93% of those revenues were generated by micro-transactions.

To work, free to play demands high quality analytics and resources to respond to those analytics. Many f2p games have high acquisition rates, not bad retention but terrible monetisation - people are playing but not paying. This is not because the model doesn't work, very often it's due to either an inability to read the analytics and respond on a day to day basis or poor monetisation mechanics in the game design.

The amount of investment pouring into f2p games from respected and intelligent successful ex-developers who should know what they're doing should also prove the model. We're the industry and indulge ourselves in these debates but it's the gamers who decide and they do, as over 80% of mobile revenues come from f2p.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nick Parker on 27th February 2015 11:00am

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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd7 years ago
I think Apple's historical leaning towards featuring premium games (not a recent development) says more about their confidence in picking winners than it represents a reaction to consumer dissatisfaction. Featuring a bad premium game will make them a chunk of almost guaranteed revenue (before word of mouth/user reviews kills it) and generally make the store look a bit classier, whereas an F2P clunker will just use up their bandwidth.
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Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop7 years ago
Featuring a bad premium game will make them a chunk of almost guaranteed revenue
The amount of money Apple makes from any app (even the big hitters) is pretty insignificant compared to the money they make from hardware. (Devs made $10 billion last year, so Apple made roughly $4 billion revenue from the app store all year - out of $182 billion revenue / $39 billion profit in 2014).

The app store is a means to an end for them - that end being persuading customers that they should buy iPads / iPhones because they can play games they have heard of / that they will enjoy on it.
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Stephen Richards Game Deisgner 7 years ago
The problem here Rob, is that there's little evidence to suggest that F2P games that nurture their players and become profitable by providing fun and engaging experiences will, in general, do better than addiction driven skinner boxes tied up in appealing graphics. That could change in the future, but it's far from inevitable.

Whether F2P has grown the industry is also debatable, when you consider how many thousands of indie devs could be supported on just the revenues from Clash of Clans alone.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
You can't ask consumers to stop hating F2P. Consumers got burned and they aren't going to suddenly stop hating on F2P until developers give them a reason not to. It's a chicken and egg problem and the developers laid that first egg and now consumers are playing chicken with developers income.
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Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop7 years ago
On a second read, the entire article seems built on the idea that Apple's customers as a whole don't like f2p, based on them adding a "pay once" feature. I would say the continuing total dominance of free titles in download volume, and f2p titles still regularly being featured as Editor's Choice, puts that argument on very shaky ground.

I mean, to say "customers hate f2p" - have you got any evidence at all that this is true for anything but a vocal minority of Apple's customer-base?
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Great article but sheesh! - I have to wonder how folks really are interpreting Hipster Whale's very straightforward interview as "performing linguistic somersaults to avoid labelling their free-to-play game as being free-to-play". HW pointed out that their F2P game does not use some *few* F2P mechanics that they believe reflected developer greed more than additional fun for their audience. Is this really abdication of a model? The guys justified all decisions on grounds of playability - they would be making a worse game if they included monetisation willy nilly so thought carefully about it at each point of decision. This is linguistic somersaults?

This just pays in to the notion, again, that F2P is monolithic, we must either love or hate it marmite style, accept or reject in toto. Like there is no Hearthstone or WoT on one end and Dungeon Keeper or much worse on the other. Apparently we must all choose a camp otherwise things are too confusing.

If somersaults *are* happening over F2P I see just as much coming from some hardcore F2P beliebers (those preaching the death of consoles/PC/paid gaming for 5 years now) doing moral, artistic and PR somersaults to save their highly successful, highly forgettable, highly uninspiring work from not being ignored and forgotten for the videogame filler that they are. And the reason that might happen to those games is because they didn't think about monetisation vs. player enjoyment like the Hipster Whale guys did.

Sorry to rant on a small point, otherwise this was a fine read on a great topic.
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Joel Hruska Analyst/Journalist 7 years ago
The problem with F2P as a design philosophy is that it's exceptionally hard to avoid turning a game from "Free to play" into "Pay to win." It also indirectly encourages the development of content and DLC that often sits at cross-purposes with the larger game.

We can see this problem even in games that have microtransactions. Consider a game like Dead Space 3: The previous games emphasized horror and action/horror, while DS3 was more of a straight-up action game. It also implemented micro-transactions for materials and weapons that Isaac could purchase. These purchases were not required and it was absolutely possible to build powerful weapons and still beat the game without them.

The problem is, the idea that Isaac can just *purchase* items and gear that he might need destroys any sense of a horror game where life and health are in short supply. Players can refrain from using these mechanics, but the game is still designed around the idea that those mechanics will be presented and used.

I tried dipping my toe into Star Wars: The Old Republic after it went F2P, but the constant, relentless nagging left a bad taste in my mouth. Everything is for sale, everything is limited in some fashion, and the game begs you to buy something, anything, CONSTANTLY. It felt like Star Wars: Ferengi Edition.

I realize that neither of these are mobile titles, but I think they hit on elements that still impact mobile development. If you're building a game with an eye towards F2P, it means you're identifying monetization opportunities in-game and trying to make them just annoying enough to encourage customer purchases without tipping over into "Screw it, I quit" territory. The more time you spend balancing that aspect of the game, the less time you have to experiment with innovative UI, or story, or gameplay mechanics. When every mission or map becomes a potential transaction, there's always the temptation to tweak play to encourage purchase as opposed to tweaking play to make the game *better.*

I'm not saying there are no good F2P games or that they can't be monetized properly without wrecking them, but it's a fine, fine line.
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Tom Hunt Game Developer, neocade7 years ago
ever stop to consider that maybe this so-called "image problem" might be deserved?

if you burn *people* (they're human f***ing beings with lives and imaginations and childhood memories, not "users" with wallets full of cash for you to poach that you "acquire") with things like endless 'monetization' for the sake of a continuous revenue stream with a minimum of actual creative output, they stop trusting you - and it's really difficult, if not impossible to gain that trust back. if this becomes a pattern across many companies, they will stop trusting the entire model you swear by.

so, i wouldn't call this an image problem. i'd call it a business model problem.

stop objectifying your customers.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tom Hunt on 27th February 2015 6:23pm

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Pete Thompson Editor 7 years ago
Timing would suggest that this article came about because of Lionheads decision to release Fable Legends as F2P and also because of the recent announcement that World of Tanks is releasing on Xbox One?.

I didn't know that F2P on consoles had a negative image or a hate problem, games such as World of Tanks (X360 / PS3) & Warframe (Xbox One & PS4) are excellent games, with Warframe having more appeal to some players than Bungies AAA Destiny. I understand why F2P on mobile has a negative image with the amount of reported stories of kids racking up huge bills after Mum & Dad gave their little cherub their password to keep said cherub quiet.. Surely AAA retail / digital titles with microtransactions such as GT5 / GT6, Driveclub and Forza 5 etc all have more of a negative image than F2P..

We'll see how Fable Legends, a game I've been looking forward to and had pre-ordered since announcement does as a free to play title..

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Pete Thompson on 27th February 2015 6:43pm

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Johnny Hsu Employee, EA7 years ago
I'm surprised that South Park didn't make fun of Roger Dickey's boasting about using "fun pain" as the crux of monetization in Zynga's free to play games. He's been giving speeches for years describing the use of pain and stressors as catalysts to receive payment.

I think he was recently on NPR bragging about how creating a fun (and free) game that stimulates adrenaline and dopamine is important to achieve engagement whereby the subsequent implementation of pain can result in the monetization of consumers who are susceptible to the tactic.

Video games aren't the first industry to leverage stress and pain as a profiteering tactic. Anyone who has purchased an automobile experienced a calculated application of stress, discomfort, and confusion to maximize dealer/automaker profit. P&G uses deceptive 3D animations of holes appearing in your teeth if you aren't using Crest toothpaste.

The unique spin for the video game industry involves many key figures frequently bragging about their clever implementation of "fun pain," "pinches," and "compulsion loops." We frequently reward those that are the most successful at inflicting pain and frustration on the player base since this results in the most profit. Receiving money to remove pain is an endless cycle since generating pain with video games is a low-cost proposition using a device that is tethered to the user.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Johnny Hsu on 27th February 2015 7:10pm

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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus7 years ago
Honestly, the vast majority of F2P games on the App Store - and even more on the Android - are the very kind of games that gave this industry a bad name to begin with, which was alluded to by the South Park cartoon above. This isn't an oddity; it's the vast majority of the market. Even so-called "good" developers such as FarSight are getting in on this crap (with their abominable Brunswick bowling game). Furthermore, the majority of the games that are getting legitimate attention through prime-time commercial campaigns - hello, Game of War - are not just in this category, they stretch it to the breaking point. Simply put, this type of game that we're talking about - BY DESIGN - is psychologically exploitative and designed to implement a compulsion loop of permanent spending. It also encourages peer pressure beyond stupid Facebook posts; if too many people bail from the game, the company running the game simply closes it, rendering all of a player's money and work into nothing. Zynga's perfected that art, but even the "good" games - Puzzle and Dragons was mentioned - are designed to get players hooked, then keep them buying, not because it's fun, but because they don't want to lose their work (I wrote about this, FWIW:

It sucks because it does tar good games - I can think of Path of Exile, Team Fortress 2 (formerly premium), and the Ghostbusters pinball game (which is very liberal with tokens) - with a broad brush. But that's simply too bad. It's not on us to temper our criticism of a bad design simply because it could hurt something. It's up to developers to stop treating their customers as walking ATMs, lest they stripmine the rest of the industry the way Atari developers did back in the early 80s.
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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship7 years ago
Personally I think Rob's point about Apple being the biggest threat to this model is bang on. Time and again they've stepped in and torpedoed someone's business model when it's clear it's either unwelcome competition, or they perceive it as bad for their own reputation.

We've seen it with the offerwall / pay wall companies (who seem to me to operate in a very grey area with regard to Apple's T&Cs), we've seen it with companies that transgress the 'no competing curation / store fronts' axiom, and we've seen it with any content that might offend middle America.

Given the relative sizes of the hardware / software profit margins, it would not surprise me in the least if Apple began to make life much harder for F2P companies, if the decision was taken that related negative publicity was damaging to Apple. Apple don't need King or Supercell, however much it might appear otherwise from inside the industry.
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Jordan Lund Columnist 7 years ago
The problem with the F2P games I've played is really simple... even if you took the monetization out of the game, what you're left with just isn't very good to begin with.

Start with a solid game first then figure out how to monetize it as F2P. For example... A game everyone remembers. Tetris.

Make a kick-ass version of Tetris. Everyone knows the game, plays the game, loves the game. Then monetize it. This much money for a skin pack. This much money for a music pack, that kind of thing. Nobody is complaining because it's a solid game. You might even have microtransactions. XX Tetris bux to guaranteee 5 straight pieces in your next game that you can use at will.

The problem isn't the F2P model, the problem is they are taking crappy games and making them F2P.
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Robert Mac-Donald Game Designer, Lethe Games7 years ago
I've had one of my paid mobile games featured on TV recently, on the History Channel and FYI Network.
Not even that was enough to generate sales. A few months ago I've made the game free for a week or two, and it generated about 20.000 downloads on its own.

It looks like when it comes to mobile F2P with ads or in app purchases is the only viable alternative. What users hate on mobile is pay to play.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Robert Mac-Donald on 2nd March 2015 1:43pm

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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development7 years ago
What users hate on mobile is pay to play.
Yep, definitely. The only thing funny about that situation is watching all the apologists try to make up reasons why punters don't actually want free games after all...

Depsite our above problems with getting Combat Monsters earning it's keep, all our other company income is from free casual games that carry advertising.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 7 years ago
Considering the amount of surprise when bad reviews do not seem to affect sales of games such as The Order, it should hardly come as a shock when f2p is not collapsing at the first sign of trouble. That does not mean all is sunny down the road.

Gambling and drugs have proven sufficiently that a bad rep alone won't kill a thing.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development7 years ago
I think you'll find that neither of those things have a bad reputation amongst their consumers. It's people who have no stake in the issue trying to project their feelings onto others that gets posted as "the problem"
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 7 years ago
Such is the beauty of objective quantification that it can be applied through the veil of subjectivity while still being correct.

Gambling and doing drugs = inefficient endorphine manipulation.

f2p games: inefficient reward loops creating a hybrid state of being inside the game and being taken outside the game to facilitate the player buying his ticket back in.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd7 years ago
@Anthony - Absolutely. From Apple's perspective, featuring premium games makes sense in as much as they tend to have higher production values. And while the entire App Store's revenue may be small potatoes for them, being able to say that developers made 'X' $m on the store in a year is useful when trying to woo developers to the platform.
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Paul Shirley Programmers 7 years ago
F2P is not the problem, its an enabler but little more than a toolbox that can be abused.

The real problem is an industry absolutely riddled with abusive relationships, F2P exposes customers to the same unscrupulous shits that have preyed upon industry insiders for it's entire existence. And it turns out to be much more profitable abusing customers than screwing over developers, partners or employees. We've had more than 30 years to clean up and failed. Expect legislation.
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Brian Lewis Operations Manager, PlayNext7 years ago
I would agree that F2P has a PR problem. However, I believe that this is an issue caused by a vocal minority, not the silent majority (which continue to flock to F2P games). I would not expect to see players cutoff from their F2P games, as this would upset many people. I do however expect changes in the way that these games are offered to new (potential) customers. These changes will increase the CPA, and undercut the primary value of F2P, thus reducing its effectiveness.

I do not know that anyone can viably sustain an iOS game outside of the Apple Store. However, if these changes do occur, we may see some people exploring options to try this. We will also likely see an increase in interest in android, as it suddenly become more viable. Apple may be willing to distance itself from F2P, but in doing so, it may give an edge to other markets.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brian Lewis on 2nd March 2015 7:06pm

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Benjamin Crause Supervisor Central Support, Nintendo of Europe7 years ago
I think free to play hate is justified. Our industry gave our customers and audience every reason to detest the monetisation scheme many have employed.
There is nothing that speaks against DLC and microtransactions but how and what we offer trough them is often just a slap in the face and must feel to many customers like theft in the living room.
What we need is some form of industry standard and whatever we may offer trough F2P must have a valid value to deserve the right that we ask our customers to pay money for it. The classical pay X or wait Y minutes for your next round is just one of the cheapest and most boring attempts in my opinion.
I try to see it simple: Value == Service
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development7 years ago
Gambling and doing drugs = inefficient endorphine manipulation.
Don't stop there where it suits. Go figure out the chemical processes that led to you being able to write that. Or that cause you compulsion to "correct" everybody that disagrees with you, using just enough knowledge to show ignorant people you're an expert and educated people that you're an idiot.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany7 years ago
In games, like in politics, like in any field open to debate, there is a majority of people that will just believe what they like to believe. That is how yellow press "journalist" earn their salary after all and same goes for us: most gamers do not see that awesome F2P game buried in an over-saturated app store (mainly because of all those rip-off games mentioned in the article) as much as they see that (generally heavily biased) article that talks about the kid that burned 10k dollars on a Facebook game, or the mother that let his child die while she was playing in her Ipad.

F2P need to clean its name. That is true. It's a fact. How to do it is another story and I guess we can only give ideas based on our experience. Personally, I would start by removing all those rip-off games out of the app store; you know which ones I mean: the ones like "Persistent Malevolence" whose icon is a Chriss Redfield with swapped colors (doesn't exists, but you get the point) This is wishful thinking, yes. But as in a zombie apocalypse, if we were to do that at the beginning the problem we are facing right now would have never taken place, now it's too late and we are outnumbered.

What we can do (bit less wishful thinking) is not putting micro-transactions in every single freaking game out there just because we can. People like to buy, but they don't like you selling them stuff, nor to have a fragment of that market model shoved down their throats (Like Resident Evil Revelations 2 and his "pay to continue" during multiplayer, This is not an arcade game! I payed this game already precisely because I don't have to put coins to continue!)

Just a quick though in the morning...
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And at the same time, larger and larger part of the revenue comes from F2P titles. It is worth asking is the "hate" something gaming press has created themselves? We should always remember to look things not just within the industry as view from there is very different compared to average user. And this does not mean I would be big advocate of F2P.
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