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News & Features Discussion  » General: Richard Aihoshi: F2P Isn't A Dirty Word

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  Dana

Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/04
Posts: 2425

 
OP  5/04/09 11:25:20 AM#1

To many people "free to play" is a dirty word. To Richard Aihoshi, that isn't fair and in his second column looks at this debate and general perception in the community.

Check back each Monday for more from Richard Aihoshi in his weekly look at the free to play genre.

That's one of the reactions I'm used to seeing when I talk about the free to play MMOG category in a manner that isn't derogatory. So it came as no surprise that some of the posts in the discussion following my column last week were like that. You may know the kind from seeing them there or elsewhere. They basically say F2Ps suck while providing no real basis to support simultaneously tarring hundreds of diverse titles with the same proverbial brush. Some say they've tried a couple, but others...

These people are, of course, entitled to have and to express opinions that diverge from my own. Indeed, I've taken part in many sessions that were highly enjoyable because they involved looking into and even vigorously debating differing points of view. But I've never truly understood the kind of knee-jerk reactions that often happen in the F2P area, and that do nothing to promote constructive, thoughtful, interesting exchanges. So, I'd like to set a couple of things straight about some of the ways people react.

The full column is here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

  Player_420

Novice Member

Joined: 2/19/04
Posts: 696

5/04/09 11:34:46 AM#2

I want to first say I really thought that column was horribly written.

You are a hypocrite sir, you flamed on people who don't like f2p games just because they don't like them, and offered no context as to why they don't like the games.

I'm sorry Richard, but a game where you download, play for free, but NEED to pay to catch up with the rest of the community via items malls...well sir that's NOT a f2p game, its a rip off of deep, complex MMO's.

They are encouraging charging you for an inferior product, yet they label it as f2p.

these f2p games offer very little depth compared to all p2p games, yet the f2p games still make encourage you to spend money of either vanity items, XP boosts ect.

So MR. Richard, give me one "f2p" title that doesnt involve item malls or linear gameplay. Come on I dare ya.

Edit: And dont even start with your articles argument on how "I havent played many f2p games"

I assure you I have played literally just about all of em granted Hello Kitty Online and Freaky Creatures.

I play all ghame

  User Deleted
5/04/09 11:41:31 AM#3
Originally posted by Player_420

I want to first say I really thought that column was horribly written.

You are a hypocrite sir, you flamed on people who don't like f2p games just because they don't like them, and offered no context as to why they don't like the games.

I'm sorry Richard, but a game where you download, play for free, but NEED to pay to catch up with the rest of the community via items malls...well sir that's NOT a f2p game, its a CHEAP SCAM.

these f2p games offer very little depth compared to all p2p games, yet the f2p games still make encourage you to spend money of either vanity items, XP boosts ect.

So MR. Richard, give me one "f2p" title that doesnt involve item malls or linear gameplay. Come on I dare ya.

 

Irony.

 

It is safe to say F2P games are the majority, however many here, in error, would say that some F2p games are not MMO's, such as NA largest, club penguin, or habbo hotel.

They are confuse MMO's with MMORPG's.

You also tend to find more innovation, and diversity in game play in F2p games.

That was a great article, that will fall on deaf ears on this site.

 

 

  Player_420

Novice Member

Joined: 2/19/04
Posts: 696

5/04/09 11:44:15 AM#4

I never said they wernt MMO's, of course thats your only argument? That I said something I in fact did not?

NAME A F2P TITLE, I DARE YOU, WITHOUT ITEM MALLS, AND WITH DEPTH - EDIT: Excuse me....INNOVATION

remember bloodworth you have to NAME one...no atlantica doesnt count cause thats pure item mall

I play all ghame

  Bama1267

Novice Member

Joined: 8/24/04
Posts: 1879

5/04/09 11:47:20 AM#5

 Meh, most of them do suck. And being so, it has gained the stigma of all of them sucking as well. However, I have found a couple good ones out of the bunch. Most of these would have probably been a lot better had I been younger with no job looking for free games.

  User Deleted
5/04/09 11:48:49 AM#6
Originally posted by Player_420

I never said they wernt MMO's, of course thats your only argument? That I said something I in fact did not?

NAME A F2P TITLE, I DARE YOU, WITHOUT ITEM MALLS, AND WITH DEPTH - EDIT: Excuse me....INNOVATION

remember bloodworth you have to NAME one...no atlantica doesnt count cause thats pure item mall

 

When you get older, you will realize that nothing in life is free and these things won't be such an ire-inducing issue for you.

 

 

  Player_420

Novice Member

Joined: 2/19/04
Posts: 696

5/04/09 11:50:31 AM#7

I cant believe i just read the post. IF YOU LABEL SOMETHING FREE TO PLAY THEN MAKE IT FREE 

IF ITS NOT FREE DON'T LABEL IT AS SUCH

this has nothing to do with age, you know nothing about who I am or what I do, and your trying to stray away from the point of my post.

I play all ghame

  Tadzio

Novice Member

Joined: 3/11/09
Posts: 104

5/04/09 11:52:03 AM#8
Originally posted by Player_420

I never said they wernt MMO's, of course thats your only argument? That I said something I in fact did not?

NAME A F2P TITLE, I DARE YOU, WITHOUT ITEM MALLS, AND WITH DEPTH - EDIT: Excuse me....INNOVATION

remember bloodworth you have to NAME one...no atlantica doesnt count cause thats pure item mall


I was about to say "atlantica", but if that's a 'pure mall' game for you, im ok with this

That's your opinion, mine is different

In my opinion the only F2P game worth my spit is... yeah, Atlantica

Im not playing it though... combat system bored me.

Also, F2P is a broken model... again, imo.  It kills both pvp and newcoming carebears at one time.

Regards

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13175

5/04/09 11:57:51 AM#9

Nice strawman argument there.  It might help if the author were to address the actual argument of why the "free to lose"/item mall games get such negative reactions from so many players.

If you get an e-mail from someone claiming to have $10 million US in Sierra Leone and wanting your help to get it out of the country and promising you a substantial portion of it, do you have to follow through to know it's a scam? If you follow through on a few such e-mails and get scammed, do you then know that the next such spam e-mail you get is also a scam, or do you have to try that one, too?

The reason why a game being completely free gives it such a bad reputation is simple economic reality.  Companies that make games in pursuit of a profit aren't charities that merely want to give you a good game to play.  They're trying to make money, and they have to get money from you somehow.  The question is how they get money from you, and it's best if their source of revenue is obvious.

For a subscription game, they get substantial revenue from everyone who plays, so they have no need to nickel and dime you for additional revenue.  (That may not stop SOE from doing so, but I digress.)  If you have to buy a box before you can play the game, as with most single-player games, then again, the revenue source is obvious, and there's no need to worry that they'll try to impose additional charges on you later.

There can even be some genuinely free games where the "revenue" source is still obvious.  A flash game that some geek coded by himself in his free time doesn't have enormous expenses to meet, and a bit of advertising on the site with the game, or even having the game distributed for free by other sites, could well meet the game's expenses.  Some games are themselves advertisements, most commonly cheaply done things on a corporate web site where the premise of the game is that the corporations products are really wonderful.  Occasionally there can even be larger budget such advertising games, such as America's Army, which was basically an advertisement for the United States Armed Forces.  NASA is apparently working on such a game, too.

But when one gets to a game that advertises itself as free to play, but clearly cost quite a lot of money to develop, one has to be quite naive to think that the company isn't going to try very hard to get revenue out of you somehow.  If they say that their revenue source is an item mall, but you don't have to actually buy anything from it, alarm bells should go off that they're probably at best being intentionally deceptive.  If buying items from an item mall doesn't give any gameplay advantage, most players won't, and the company will get virtually no revenue.  A company can't allow that, and will have to give large gameplay advantages for buying things from the item mall.

And the economic situation is worse than that when one considers who is playing those games.  The author says that millions of people in "this region" play various "free to lose"/item mall games.  I'm not entirely sure what "this region" means, but even if it means the United States only, I find the claim quite believable.  Many of the people who play those games do so because they can't afford to play anything else.  Perhaps they are kids who can't afford $15/month for a game subscription, or whose parents won't allow them to use a credit card online.  If the reason they're playing an item mall game is that they can't pay a subscription, then they won't be able to buy anything from the item mall, either.  A company making a "free to lose"/item mall game thus gets no revenue from a large fraction of its players.

The company thus needs to get a lot of revenue to pay for the game, and needs to get it from a relatively small fraction of the playerbase.  The company thus usually needs to get quite a lot of revenue from the relative handful of players who do pay.  The only way to do that is to make it so that further payments give further gameplay advantages up to a pretty high threshold--much higher than the $15/month of a typical subscription game.  That means that either the "free to play" game is actually quite expensive, and far more so than a normal subscription game, or else that it's "free to lose" as I've been repeatedly saying here, as you'll be at a big gameplay disadvantage as compared to those who do pay a lot of money.

Indeed, economic reality dictates that if a "free to play"/item mall game has an item mall that doesn't really unbalance anything and doesn't get the company much revenue, they'll probably have to make the item mall more unbalancing in order to get more revenue in the future.  Losing money in the first few months after launch while attracting players, only to try to make it up later with a more unbalancing item mall, is quite a plausible business strategy, and indeed, has been done on quite a number of occasions.

Could there be exceptions?  While there could, if a company were making its marketing strategy one of telling players, we're not like those other "free to lose"/item mall games, and you can't gain any further gameplay advantage beyond $X/month, why wouldn't they display that prominently?  A lot of the item mall games won't even tell you what's in their item mall until you get into the game, for about the same reasons as the stereotypical drug dealer saying, "Try it.  You'll like it.  The first one is on me."

And so, a challenge to the author:  if you want anyone to believe that there are genuinely free to play item mall games that have considerable development costs, aren't in themselves more an advertisement than a game, and don't really mean "free to lose" unless you buy quite a bit from the item mall, then name one.  Just one.  It should be one that's been out for quite a while, so as to rule out the "lose money at first, but add a lot more to the item mall to make it up later" model.

  User Deleted
5/04/09 12:02:20 PM#10
Originally posted by Player_420

I never said they wernt MMO's, of course thats your only argument? That I said something I in fact did not?

NAME A F2P TITLE, I DARE YOU, WITHOUT ITEM MALLS, AND WITH DEPTH - EDIT: Excuse me....INNOVATION

remember bloodworth you have to NAME one...no atlantica doesnt count cause thats pure item mall

 

 

I wasn't talking to you, the irony was you did just as he said you would. "F2P suck". The sentence you are upset about, also, was not about you, but the confusion of most in thinking that games like habbo hotell, or club penguin are not MMO's.

 

Nothing in life is free bub, so most F2P games have an "al cart" system. So finding a Free to play game, that doesn't use one, is quite a stupid thing to ask.

While F2P games in the past have been lacking in quality, its very hard to say, with games like RoM and many, MANY others that this is the case now. There are quite a number of F2P games with depth and quality. Not to mention lots of fun, and, if you are a responsible person, can end up being cheaper than a subscription based one, then again, sure YOU (you, yourself, *your name here*, the person in the mirror) can spend more, but, that's not their fault, no one is forcing you, for whatever reason, that was your choice.

I have been getting quite a bit of enjoyment out of some of the newer F2P titles, and good bang for my infrequent buck.

But keep hateing though.

 

  fenrisblue

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/20/04
Posts: 115

5/04/09 12:04:31 PM#11
Originally posted by LynxJSA
Originally posted by Player_420

I never said they wernt MMO's, of course thats your only argument? That I said something I in fact did not?

NAME A F2P TITLE, I DARE YOU, WITHOUT ITEM MALLS, AND WITH DEPTH - EDIT: Excuse me....INNOVATION

remember bloodworth you have to NAME one...no atlantica doesnt count cause thats pure item mall

 

When you get older, you will realize that nothing in life is free and these things won't be such an ire-inducing issue for you.

 

 

umm i think that the question is a good one, after all this is an article about f2p mmo games not really sucking,so the fact that your quoting another person and pointing out that they are not "grown up" seems silly after all what do we post here after an article telling us that f2p games dont suck,..there are a few that are pretty entertaining, perfect world is a good game,but most try to lure you in with the hopes of a game that is not p2p and then you have to atually pay for the good stuff, or to get the good stuf easier,and if the game is worth it i will pay more for stuff,hell i just dropped 30 bucks this month on CoX and there booster cosume packs,  and if you think about it there are just as many horible horible P2P games out there, but at least when you have a f2p game you dont have to pay to know it sucks, you just dl it and you know right away,so no harm no foul,ummm well i am sure you can glean some wisdom from that or you could think its just a bunch of bull pucks, hehe, but my point was, you shouldnt put people down for asking the exact question that the article is about.

  User Deleted
5/04/09 12:06:20 PM#12

So, i supose every one is being "Scamed" by free trials too. I wonder how many of you realise how many things in this world, are the F2P model, under a diffrent name.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13175

5/04/09 12:11:10 PM#13
Originally posted by Mrbloodworth

So, i supose every one is being "Scamed" by free trials too. I wonder how many of you realise how many things in this world, are the F2P model, under a diffrent name.

 

If a company says up front, the game has a free trial for two weeks or a couple starting areas or whatever, and then after that you'll have to pay, that's being perfectly honest and there's nothing wrong with that.  If a company advertises a game as being completely free to play and then after you play a bit says, the free trial is over and now you'll have to pay, then that's fraudulent.

  Dana

Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/04
Posts: 2425

 
OP  5/04/09 12:20:35 PM#14
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Mrbloodworth

So, i supose every one is being "Scamed" by free trials too. I wonder how many of you realise how many things in this world, are the F2P model, under a diffrent name.

 

If a company says up front, the game has a free trial for two weeks or a couple starting areas or whatever, and then after that you'll have to pay, that's being perfectly honest and there's nothing wrong with that.  If a company advertises a game as being completely free to play and then after you play a bit says, the free trial is over and now you'll have to pay, then that's fraudulent.

 

The argument is really about semantics and how much people pay attention to the "to play" part of "free to play."

Fact is, technically speaking, these games are "free to play." You don't have to buy a box (remember, term was coined when free to download sub games hadn't really been invented yet) and can play instantly without charge. Theoretically, you can play a lot of these games forever without paying. Only a certain percetange of players in any F2P game actually use the item mall.

That said, the term has always bothered me a bit too, but fact is, free games don't exist and if they did, they'd be horrible quality. These games are expensive to develop and expensive to maintain, so expecting truly free is absurd. Now to damn the whole genre because you don't like the industry standard term to describe them is a bit unfair.

Dana Massey
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

  Superman0X

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/28/06
Posts: 956

5/04/09 12:20:38 PM#15
Originally posted by Player_420

I never said they wernt MMO's, of course thats your only argument? That I said something I in fact did not?

NAME A F2P TITLE, I DARE YOU, WITHOUT ITEM MALLS, AND WITH DEPTH - EDIT: Excuse me....INNOVATION

remember bloodworth you have to NAME one...no atlantica doesnt count cause thats pure item mall

 

I am going to call you on this... and you are not going to like it....

Let me name 3 Games.....

Eve

Everquest 2

World of Warcraft

Free to play is a marketing term, and as such has nothing to do with item malls (which is microtransactions). All three of these games offer free options, and as such just as much free to play as any game with an item mall.

Once you are paying to play, it doesnt matter how you pay (item mall, subscription, etc), the game is no longer free for you. The free option is only for those that dont pay.... and pretty much every competitive game has that today.... and so can be called Free to Play.

 

P.S. The next time you see a store with a Buy One, Get One Free sale, you should go protest that the second one isnt free, and that they are taking advantage of people by saying so.

  Brain-dead

Novice Member

Joined: 10/11/06
Posts: 257

5/04/09 12:40:33 PM#16

Here is an easy way to shut up all the naysayers: Give us a single example of a F2P that doesnt suck.

Not saying there isnt a place for F2P, but I have yet to see a single game I would want to play. Thats all. You get what you pay for.

 

 

  User Deleted
5/04/09 12:41:59 PM#17
Originally posted by Brain-dead

Here is an easy way to shut up all the naysayers: Give us a single example of a F2P that doesnt suck.

Not saying there isnt a place for F2P, but I have yet to see a single game I would want to play. Thats all. You get what you pay for.

 

 

 

"suck" is subjective. There are lots of good F2P games, SOTNW, Wizard 101, Free relms, Rom...... List goes on.

  Player_420

Novice Member

Joined: 2/19/04
Posts: 696

5/04/09 12:51:54 PM#18

Blood, every agme you mentioned is P2P or F2P item mall....still waiting

I play all ghame

  bakon2

Novice Member

Joined: 10/04/04
Posts: 123

5/04/09 12:52:24 PM#19
Originally posted by Superman0X
Originally posted by Player_420

I never said they wernt MMO's, of course thats your only argument? That I said something I in fact did not?

NAME A F2P TITLE, I DARE YOU, WITHOUT ITEM MALLS, AND WITH DEPTH - EDIT: Excuse me....INNOVATION

remember bloodworth you have to NAME one...no atlantica doesnt count cause thats pure item mall

 

I am going to call you on this... and you are not going to like it....

Let me name 3 Games.....

Eve

Everquest 2

World of Warcraft

Free to play is a marketing term, and as such has nothing to do with item malls (which is microtransactions). All three of these games offer free options, and as such just as much free to play as any game with an item mall.

Once you are paying to play, it doesnt matter how you pay (item mall, subscription, etc), the game is no longer free for you. The free option is only for those that dont pay.... and pretty much every competitive game has that today.... and so can be called Free to Play.

 

P.S. The next time you see a store with a Buy One, Get One Free sale, you should go protest that the second one isnt free, and that they are taking advantage of people by saying so.

 

I don't understand what you are saying...Eve, WoW and EQ2 are subscription games, not F2P. 

  User Deleted
5/04/09 12:53:51 PM#20
Originally posted by bakon2
Originally posted by Superman0X
Originally posted by Player_420

I never said they wernt MMO's, of course thats your only argument? That I said something I in fact did not?

NAME A F2P TITLE, I DARE YOU, WITHOUT ITEM MALLS, AND WITH DEPTH - EDIT: Excuse me....INNOVATION

remember bloodworth you have to NAME one...no atlantica doesnt count cause thats pure item mall

 

I am going to call you on this... and you are not going to like it....

Let me name 3 Games.....

Eve

Everquest 2

World of Warcraft

Free to play is a marketing term, and as such has nothing to do with item malls (which is microtransactions). All three of these games offer free options, and as such just as much free to play as any game with an item mall.

Once you are paying to play, it doesnt matter how you pay (item mall, subscription, etc), the game is no longer free for you. The free option is only for those that dont pay.... and pretty much every competitive game has that today.... and so can be called Free to Play.

 

P.S. The next time you see a store with a Buy One, Get One Free sale, you should go protest that the second one isnt free, and that they are taking advantage of people by saying so.

 

I don't understand what you are saying...Eve, WoW and EQ2 are subscription games, not F2P. 

Only in north America. Every where else, they use a different model. Eve in the NA, also lets you buy credits.

 

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