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News & Features Discussion  » [Editorial] General: Free-to-Play Fatigue Part II: Bad News for Game Design

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  BMunchausen

Staff Writer

Joined: 11/22/12
Posts: 164

 
OP  2/15/14 7:27:29 PM#1

Last week I discussed how the free-to-play model has altered both game industry business practice and the collective profile of the gaming public, neither necessarily for the better. This week, I'd like to talk about the negative effect free-to-play is having on the creative side of the game industry.

For me, this goes back a ways, back to the time when Pincus and Zuckerberg first rode in like the Two Horsemen of the Game Industry Apocalypse (Except when I picture them in my mind, the two of them are riding Segways.) It's not news to anyone that that match made in Hell was largely responsible for the metrics-driven game design trend. What might be less known is how many unemployed designers have learned the hard way that slapping faux game mechanics over micro-transactions is a crap way to earn a paycheck.

Read more of Neilie Johnson's Free-to-Play Fatigue Part II: Undermining Game Design

  mohit9206

Novice Member

Joined: 2/05/14
Posts: 47

2/16/14 10:20:51 AM#2
I admit i love free2play.I avoid or quickly uninstall the bad ones but invest lots of time in good ones that i enjoy.I have never spent anything in a f2p and probably never will,i just want to get the maximum amount of enjoyment for the least amount of money i don't care about the developers or publishers there are enough whales out there to fund them.All you need to do is avoid bad f2p games and keep playing the good ones so that soon enough the industry will realize that fair implementation of f2p is vital to retaining playerbase.
  Carl132p

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/12/06
Posts: 558

2/16/14 10:26:11 AM#3

Free to play is awesome!!! I love not paying for my games!!!

few years later...

 

Why do all these games suck? I can't possibly figure it out?

 

  Stuka1000

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/20/03
Posts: 788

2/16/14 10:36:31 AM#4
Originally posted by mohit9206
I admit i love free2play.I avoid or quickly uninstall the bad ones but invest lots of time in good ones that i enjoy.I have never spent anything in a f2p and probably never will,i just want to get the maximum amount of enjoyment for the least amount of money i don't care about the developers or publishers there are enough whales out there to fund them.All you need to do is avoid bad f2p games and keep playing the good ones so that soon enough the industry will realize that fair implementation of f2p is vital to retaining playerbase.

If everyone was like you we wouldn't have a games industry.

F2P needs to go away and the faster the better.

  Fearum

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/15/11
Posts: 1089

2/16/14 10:36:46 AM#5

It's sad sheeple are so blind to the truth when you throw in words like Free, but that is where we are today. I doubt the F2P games are going anywhere while they still have the huge support from the drooling open wallet people.

All we can do as players that are not blind to this gaming cancer is to not even download these sad excuse for games and hope we suffocate them out of existence.  

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10562

I've become dependent upon spell check. My apologies for stupid grammatical errors.

2/16/14 10:54:06 AM#6
Originally posted by eric1000
Originally posted by mohit9206
I admit i love free2play.I avoid or quickly uninstall the bad ones but invest lots of time in good ones that i enjoy.I have never spent anything in a f2p and probably never will,i just want to get the maximum amount of enjoyment for the least amount of money i don't care about the developers or publishers there are enough whales out there to fund them.All you need to do is avoid bad f2p games and keep playing the good ones so that soon enough the industry will realize that fair implementation of f2p is vital to retaining playerbase.

If everyone was like you we wouldn't have a games industry.

F2P needs to go away and the faster the better.

 

If everyone was like Mariah Carey we wouldn't have a games industry either.  Since everyone isn't like Mariah Carey, and everyone isn't like mohit9206, we have a games industry. 

 

F2P isn't going to go away any time soon.  Just look at how many F2P mobile games there are and how much money is made in the mobile space.  The problem is that choosing F2P as a developer opens the door to some really poor choices in terms of game play.  The developers don't have to choose those game play options, but many of them will.  Then again, many developers make poor choices with subscription or box sales systems too.  F2P isn't making developers make bad choices, developers can make bad choices regardless of the system in place.  F2P is just providing a very clear set of bad choices to make.

 

 

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  JJ82

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/02/13
Posts: 918

2/16/14 11:10:41 AM#7

So, Free 2 Play killed the gaming market even though its been around since 1996 (yes that's right) and it was Zynga that did it, even though they didn't come around until 2007?

Right.

And here I though it was piss poor game design (as have been shown by countless sub based MMORPGs) and corporate greed that was killing it.

You want "everyone is trying to make the same thing and there is no room for creativity?" How about the countless WoW clone subscription based games made over the last 7 years? Try that on for size.

The genre is STAGNANT and it isn't due to F2P games, its due to corporations wanting to make the next WoW. If anything the only actual INNOVATION over the last 7 years have come from ACTUAL F2P games.

No MMO made recently has been more innovative than Vindictus with its true action combat in an MMO. Hell, even the overall craptastic Atlantica Online brought more innovation than TESO is going to bring, it had turn based combat with a 9 man attack squad!

What is TESO bringing that is new? Not a damn thing. Its so called claim to innovation is its lie about "open class" which is half assed and doesn't touch actual open class like TSW or even Asherons Call 1 which at least allowed you to choose all your skills. TESO is more of a class lock with more tree choices while allowing you to equip every weapon(which TSW and AC1 also did). Still limited and not innovative.

lack of innovation = lack of creativity. Thus this entire article is bogus.

"People who tell you you’re awesome are useless. No, dangerous.

They are worse than useless because you want to believe them. They will defend you against critiques that are valid. They will seduce you into believing you are done learning, or into thinking that your work is better than it actually is." ~Raph Koster
http://www.raphkoster.com/2013/10/14/on-getting-criticism/

  mohit9206

Novice Member

Joined: 2/05/14
Posts: 47

2/16/14 11:12:41 AM#8
Originally posted by eric1000
Originally posted by mohit9206
I admit i love free2play.I avoid or quickly uninstall the bad ones but invest lots of time in good ones that i enjoy.I have never spent anything in a f2p and probably never will,i just want to get the maximum amount of enjoyment for the least amount of money i don't care about the developers or publishers there are enough whales out there to fund them.All you need to do is avoid bad f2p games and keep playing the good ones so that soon enough the industry will realize that fair implementation of f2p is vital to retaining playerbase.

If everyone was like you we wouldn't have a games industry.

F2P needs to go away and the faster the better.

What do you mean by that ? How is me not paying for f2p games and enjoying them for free killing the games industry?99% of people do not spend any cash in a f2p game so are all those people also responsible for killing the games industry?

  Gilllean

Novice Member

Joined: 1/04/14
Posts: 188

2/16/14 11:15:35 AM#9
Free to play is evil !
  Arndush

Novice Member

Joined: 10/27/09
Posts: 309

2/16/14 11:16:01 AM#10

I have never played a game that was F2P and had good customer service. F2P customer service is nothing short of abysmal. I'll use GW2 for an example. It took them weeks, WEEKS to get back to me about a password reset. Conversely, I have never played a sub based mmo where I have gotten anything less that awesome customer support. That reason alone is enough for me to favor the sub based MMOs over F2P games. However, there's more.

 

Most F2P games have cash shops that rake you over the coals. Most gamers don't even realize they are spending more than $15/mo because the game says it's free, and what's a $1 here, $2 there, or $3 more over here. Especially on F2P models like SWTOR uses. Want to be in more than 4 pvp matches per week? Give us money.

 

I'm not saying a F2P game can't be good. Millions enjoy GW2. Although, I found it to be waaay to easy. After my 2nd level 80 character in as many months (and I'm usually a slow leveler in MMOs) The game just lost interest for me. But when it comes to F2P games, I'd rather open my wallet once per month (or per year if they offer a discount for long term sub) then 20 times per month. If there is a market for F2P games, there will always be F2P games and I really hope they are good games for those who enjoy that type of game but, my money is going to a sub based game.

  Four0Six

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/18/11
Posts: 1094

2/16/14 11:19:10 AM#11
Originally posted by mohit9206
I admit i love free2play.I avoid or quickly uninstall the bad ones but invest lots of time in good ones that i enjoy.I have never spent anything in a f2p and probably never will,i just want to get the maximum amount of enjoyment for the least amount of money i don't care about the developers or publishers there are enough whales out there to fund them.All you need to do is avoid bad f2p games and keep playing the good ones so that soon enough the industry will realize that fair implementation of f2p is vital to retaining playerbase.

I am happy to pay for my experience, and would bet I get more out of my paid experience than your free one.

 

I appreciate economic surplus, (any value above you willingness to pay you receive). In the F2P market all the surplus is captured by the producer. In a competitive market the producer only receives the surplus above the price, that below is captured by the consumer. Since the price in F2P is "0", there is no surplus for the consumer.

 

In truth that old adage, "you get what you pay for", is wrong. Those who that applies to are only those that are willing to pay only the price, you with your "I don't fay for games", and those who find only $15 worth of gaming a month from Blizz, anyone who would pay $.01 more actually "gets more than what they pay for".

 

F2P was a brilliant business model, and they will take all they can from anyone willing to give them money.

 

Boom Economics, learn it and win.

  erictlewis

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/08/08
Posts: 3058

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

2/16/14 11:20:03 AM#12

Take a look at what free to play has done to SOE,  they got several games they will be shutting down.  Why because they sucked so bad that nobody was willing to spend enough money to keep them running. 

Now soe is doing everything it can to sweeten the pot, so that folks keep their subs.  

It just goes to prove that free to play really should be called free to log in.  They are always trying to sale you stuff,and if they don't you can't keep the servers running if you have no income. 

 

  JJ82

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/02/13
Posts: 918

2/16/14 11:22:08 AM#13
Originally posted by Arndush

I have never played a game that was F2P and had good customer service.

SNIP

If there is a market for F2P games, there will always be F2P games and I really hope they are good games for those who enjoy that type of game but, my money is going to a sub based game.

I had an issue during GW2s first month of release and had the problem solved in 2 days. I have also had several issues in Neverwinter and both took less than 24 hours to fix. On the flip side, I had one issue take a week to resolve in WoW and an issue that took 3 WEEKS to fix in Anarchy Online.

Doesn't mean a damn thing does it? Nope. Sometimes a company is overrun with issues and it takes longer, other times they don't and problems are solved fast.

As for your F2P comment at the end. Give your money to sub based games, they are even more than likely to turn out bad and it will cost your more in the end. Sub based games have proved themselves to be poor quality so many times over the last 10 years its almost shocking that anyone still gives them money.

"People who tell you you’re awesome are useless. No, dangerous.

They are worse than useless because you want to believe them. They will defend you against critiques that are valid. They will seduce you into believing you are done learning, or into thinking that your work is better than it actually is." ~Raph Koster
http://www.raphkoster.com/2013/10/14/on-getting-criticism/

  Fusion

Old School

Joined: 5/21/03
Posts: 1359

2/16/14 11:26:00 AM#14

Paid / Sub games are (mostly) always of better quality because they get paid making the content.

"Free" games are barely ever great for the industry or in quality, because the developers need to churn out a ton of "buy" content (most probably stuff they don't even like / want to do) that gets them paid.

(notice FREE, B2P is not the same, yet they also need to make content that pays their salary)

Currently playing: -

Waiting for: Class4.

Dead and Buried: ESO, NWO, GW2, SWTOR, Darkfall, AO, AC2, Vanguard, CoH/V, EnB, EVE, Neocron, FE, EQ, EQ2, DAoC, FFXI, FFXIV, SWG, WoW, and billions of eastern junks!

  Anireth

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 400

2/16/14 12:03:05 PM#15

As long as paid games suffer from the same or other issues with a similar impact, F2P is the way to go. At least you only pay for what you actually get.

Like, each time a game is succesful, we get 10 games that are exactly the same, except replacing all names with different ones, and a hue shift, while at the same time throwing away half of the features in the remake/reboot of popular games from 5+ years back. I understand doing the one or the other, but both at the same time?

Just like JJ82 said, it's not a matter of payment model, but a matter of the company in question.

I'll wait to the day's end when the moon is high
And then I'll rise with the tide with a lust for life, I'll
Amass an army, and we'll harness a horde
And then we'll limp across the land until we stand at the shore

  Wylf

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/13/13
Posts: 111

2/16/14 12:07:55 PM#16
Originally posted by Carl132p

Free to play is awesome!!! I love not paying for my games!!!

few years later...

 

Why do all these games suck? I can't possibly figure it out?

 

This is dead on.

But really is there a surprise these youngsters like F2P with the freeloader mentality that exists today?

 

  User Deleted
2/16/14 12:10:36 PM#17
I have never spent money on any f2p title and furthermore I have never done a microtransaction of any sort either. Development should consider making $60 per person that plays thier game. No more no less. If your game sucks so bad that no one buys it, then you shouldn't be in the gaming industry. If your game is so good that millions buy into it, then congratulations and please keep making games.

F2p lowers the standard.

I think all people want is a free trial version and if they like it, pay once and be done paying. Dlc adds a dicey dimension, the suits will always want more with less some dlc is worth it and some is not.
  Precusor

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/24/05
Posts: 4698

Aim Bot

2/16/14 12:28:04 PM#18
No wonder f2p "gamers" are pretty much begging for p2p mmos to go f2p.
  Nickhead420

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/23/14
Posts: 94

2/16/14 12:30:12 PM#19

I'm not completely against the F2P craze.  My current favorite game, Planetside 2, is F2P.  But SOE actually did a really good job at making you want to spend cash, and not making you feel like you have to.  Most F2Ps try to force it on you with gatings and restrictions.  Why should a 20 slot bag for one character cost $10? (Looking at you, Neverwinter)  I'm not a big fan of PWE games, but I do sort of like that you can earn game currency on their website through various surveys and offers.

My favorite mobile game also uses that method of obtaining currency if you don't want to pay.  Pocket Legends is an amazing F2P mobile game, and it's been going strong for a few years now.  It's another game that makes you want to spend money, but doesn't "force" it on you.  I don't, however, know how well game companies make out on those survey/offer deals.

Games like Candy Crush...generic productivity breaks.  There's absolutely no reason or incentive to spend money.  Most mobile games/apps make money off of the information and data they get from those permissions you don't look at anyways.

  goboygo

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/02/13
Posts: 353

2/16/14 12:30:52 PM#20
Originally posted by felyx
Originally posted by atticusbc
Because no game that has ever had a box price and/or a sub fee have ever sucked. Sorry, I'm going to keep enjoying many quite decent games for free, and only supporting the ones I want, with how much I want. You can keep living in your paranoid, self induced hellscape.

Exactly that. And to everyone who supports the p2p model, saying that it is the only way to make quality games: you guys really have no clue about how much these guys actually earn do you (and I mean pure profit)? I wont even try to explain to you how much of that money actually ends up being development cost and how much goes to the shareholders. You guys arent blind, you just dont want to see the truth (or you are actually dumb), thats why companies can milk you every month and you even promote them and the business model and smile while doing so. What a scam...damn. Btw nice troll article...I did not think mmorpg needs articles like this.

See my response above this post.  Your missing the bigger picture that the article paints.  It's not just about you searching for some small bit of fun in the 1000's of F2P games that are spreading like a cancer, its about what its doing to the developers (you know the creatives) that have to work in this industry.  Its pretty obvious to me what has happened to the game play and design model since F2P took off.   Some of us though are oblivious to it.

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