Before we start let me preface this by saying, I’m in the grey area when it comes to Free to play (F2P). I believe its awesome in some cases and other cases it doesn’t make any sense. Whatever you feel about the subject, there obviously are multiple opinions to the subject. I don’t immediately screw “free to play or fail” But I never discount the merits. I enjoy a lot of F2P titles because I can play a bit, determine if I enjoy it and invest properly. Except for Dota 2, That game and its learning cliff will always frustrate me to hell and back. That enough of that though.
The topic of F2P itself can divide many a dinner table, causing rifts larger than who gets the last roll. For some the argument should be simple, F2P or die! When a new MOBA or MMO drops, they are required to go F2P or the game is dead. No market insight, no real reason, just free or die. I’m not sure where this logic comes from but there it is. It just hangs out there like a drunk uncle at every family gathering. He always says the same thing no matter what the subject.
The initial draw to F2P game is the simple fact you are getting fun for no cash out of pocket. Amazingly enough some games actually manage to see success when they enter or switch to F2P. Games like League of Legends, Rift, and DOTA 2 are some prime examples of F2P success. Giving players access to most of their content from the jump and only require investment from the players for the content they want to keep. They give you access to a decent selection and let you play and experiment to find out what makes sense for you.
One of the favorite(least) arguments heard is, “This game needs to be Free to Play or its gonna fail so fast!” That’s all we get. No reason why, no facts, just a wild opinion. Also be wary of disagreeing with this opinion or you will face the wrath of the poster who obviously knows the market better than you…. Even if you present facts why having subscriptions or buying the game first off actually will be the best way to go. I’m not saying that an MMO should not go free to play. I just think that immediately saying so without going over it content and character, kinda demeans the title.
Take a step back though, reflect on this for a moment. Why are so many people clambering that a title needs to launch or switch to a F2P Model? Is it because they are just cheap people who just want something for nothing? Or maybe there is something bigger here that we are missing? Some of the blame for this attitude the economic climate around games really. Games are expensive, Gamers are broke, and that shit wont be changing anytime soon. So F2P really has become the attractive option to gamers who enjoy multiplayer games. They don’t really have to put anything down to jump in and enjoy the title. Some games are gated and require you to buy additional content to progress. Others give you most of the game upfront, just locking convenience items behind the pay-wall. Both of these options are valid and, again, should be determined by the title and content presented.
Free to play will constantly divide people, but hopefully it also brings just as many together over their love of games. Love it or Hate it. F2P has become ingrained in the gamer vocabulary. It won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. It shouldn’t go anywhere anytime soon, it should continue to evolve just as game have. I just hope that we manage to evolve with it.