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Spouse Aggro!

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Author: beauturkey

F2P MMOs and iTunes: a simple comparison.

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday May 6 2009 at 11:07PM
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Who actually goes into a Best Buy or Wal Mart and buys a CD, a physical CD,  of their favorite artist?

Ok, let's be honest..lot's of people do. Not many that I know, though, because most of the podcasters/friends/bloggers/co-workers I know carry an MP3 player, or even have their music loaded on their phone. The recent success of the iPod shows that, just as iTunes did, consumers don't want to buy an entire CD for a few choice tracks.

I love iTunes because I can find an artist I like, either hearing them from a friend or a website, and can buy the single track for a dollar or so. I will listen to that track possibly hundreds of times over the course of years, and might end up buying the entire album or at least more tracks from the artist. There are certain songs that I will always love, and some that I might listen to a few times a month. But none of them came from an album (with very few exceptions) that was filled with A plus tracks.


And I feel the same way about MMOs. Why should I pay 15 dollars a month (and 50 dollars for a box possibly) for a game that I might only enjoy a few parts of? Granted, most of the major subscription model games out there have been enjoyed by me at some point, and will be enjoyed by me at some point in the future, but not enough to warrant me paying monthly for them despite how much I play.

Many of the F2P games I really enjoy are re-visited by me because I enjoy certain parts. For example, Free Realms has me hooked with cooking and exploring. Runes of Magic will get me hooked with housing and mounts. Dream of Mirror Online has me for it's long, winding quests. Mabinogi, one of my fullest experiences so far, has hooked me with almost every part of itself, but there are still parts I do not enjoy (pvp, for example.)

I can download a F2P game and enjoy whatever part (track) I want, and never have to visit any other part. I can pay for a wonderful mount (and in many of the games, the pets/mounts are a very deep system) and never bother with crafting. Or, I can conquer dungeons without ever having to go to crafting. The normal sub model games could be played the same way, but soon I felt as though I paid for only a small part of the game: the part I enjoyed. (Note: this is a very specific example that fits ME.)  With a F2P game and cash-shop model, I can spend money on items that might only affect that favorite part that  I enjoy (pets, for example.)

I think my last blog lead to a small amount of confusion, and I have had to question what I really do enjoy about these F2P games. And then it occured to me: these games are like iTunes (or any other equivalent service.) iTunes has been credited with saving a failing music industry...CD's were easily costing 18 dollars or more, and consumers spoke clearly about wanting to create their own playlists, and their own listening experience, filled with very specific tracks arranged in sometimes very particular order.

Also, if you were forced to pay the 18 dollar price tag for a CD, you would find yourself listening to less and less music, and more and more music from the same, fewer artists. To me, I don't understand only listening to a few bands, or playing but one or two MMO's. Even in a game such as World of Warcraft, with it's more-than-huge development team and hours and hours of content, players complain about loss of things to do. Perhaps they wouldn't feel that way if they had actually played a few other games at the same time? Why do they feel the need to push through the same game and content, not once or twice, but 5 or 6 times a week?

And yes, I will agree that I am probably not very normal in this regard. Most players love to be "dedicated" to a single game, much like a sports team. I see nothing wrong with that. But with the advance of technology and faster and faster internet access, I think players will begin to explore a lot more.

Perhaps F2P can "save" the market (IF it does need saving), or can at least strengthen it. Just like the Wal-Marts and Best Buys with their older physical CD market that work with the download-only market to bring music to the masses, maybe F2P's and standard sub games can work together to give players more choices?

Beau Turkey

dcostello writes:

  It's a flaw to compare the two aspects, that of F2P MMOs and that of purchasing/culling preferred music via iTunes.  This is a textbook case of the "apples to oranges" comparison.  You are right in a very vague sense because similarities exist between the two, but they are few and far between.

-Lifespan: Well you can pick what you want in a F2P MMO, but they are finite items, which are eventually depletable. Thus, the prodcuts gathered from iTunes are not compatible with the products of F2P MMOs simply on this basis (lifespans are not the same).

-Other people are involved:  A purchase has theoretically no affect on  another, anonymous ( I say this because a friend may be affected if a customer shares his/her products with said friend)--possibily potential--customer.  This is not the same with a F2P game because what you buy in the item store has an indirect affect on the economy and "competition" level within a given F2P game--degrees of this effect may vary.  I'm no prophet, but I forsee that someone (the OP or someone else) may assert that, "Well the store's products can be purchased by any gamer, and since they have the ability to purchase these items, no problem exists--it's an illusion...*waves hands*"  While this counter-point may be logically sound, it is not (in my opinion) ethically sound.  This situation is similar to that of the steroids issue within professional baseball.  Players all have the "ability" to obtain the steroids.  If everyone else is using steroids, of if anyone else is using steroids, then an un-natural factor arises within the spectrum of "competitiveness." In order to arise to the highest tier of effectiveness, a player must part-take within the usage of steroids, or suffer the sharp, phyiscal handicap that coincides with the refusal/ignorance of using steroids.

  There are other obvious differences that do not negate from the idea of your (the OP) comparison, such as the fact that iTunes is a "store" built upon the concept of selling downloadable copies of songs, podcasts, videos, etc.--and F2P "stores" sell in-game items, which are only compatible to that specific game, but to point out such things is frivolous (because I'm pretty sure you're already aware of this).

  There are also other differences that I have failed to mention (simply because I'm lazy), such as the fact that a "newbie" can buy himself in-game "wealth" which is gained within a matter of minutes (possibly hours), while the same wealth is accumulated by other players through "hard work" (*cough* grind *cough*) over the time frame of days, months, or in extreme cases, years.


-I still like your blog posts though, I just think this one might be a bit too flawed... 

Thu May 07 2009 7:19PM Report
beauturkey writes:

 Hmm I see your points, and they are well made ones! 

 Perhaps I wasn't clear, but my point again fits mainly into someone with my particular gaming lifestyle: an explorer or games. I want the ability to grab any parts of any MMO and become obsessed with it (as I am with mining in Mabinogi right now) and to buy individual items from the cash shop to enhance my particular obsession, like stamina potions or pets to help with looting or storing items.

 We will never agree that one player effects the other, though. You might think that the issue, while sound, is flawed (the issue of everyone having equal chances to get the same amount of stuff) but it IS sound. Any player can go and spend the same amount of money.

 I always use this same example, but would you consider a player with multiple account /dual boxing to be "cheating" (not saying you use that term)? I have found that dual-boxing has been forgtotten about and even accepted as just a normal, if not semi-obsessive behaviour in MMO's for a long, long time. Yet, somehow buying a potion of healing for 50 cents is more of a sin.

 I will get into this more later with a featured blog I am writing, about how there is no advantage, because items and lives are endless, and there are no rules to any single MMO. I will get into it later...not a cop out, just saving it for the big article .

 Anyway, thanks again for your have made me re-think some of my points! 




Thu May 07 2009 9:14PM Report
dcostello writes:

  You make some good points as well, besides what doesn't kill you makes you...feeble, then something else kills I'm just kidding.

Fri May 08 2009 3:50PM Report
daltanious writes:

I can not find single good point in this writing. Of course "I want the ability to grab any parts of any MMO and become obsessed with it" is completely false, as this is impossible in any game in pay basis or in f2p. Simply, because everywhere mobs have also levels. Only game I can remind at this time and it is not MMO is Oblivion, where mobs are always same level to player level.

Besides so far i have NOT encountered ANY f2p game, that is ACTUALLY

Sun May 10 2009 3:55AM Report
daltanious writes:

... (posted to fast) ... that is ACTUALLY free. They are NOT. Unless player is masochist which I'm for sure not.

Sun May 10 2009 3:56AM Report writes:
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