I haven’t watched an episode of South Park in probably 10 years or more. But when I saw that the latest episode was titled “Freemium Isn’t Free,” I figured I’d check it out. You know, for work reasons.

In brief, Stan gets addicted to a terrible freemium mobile game, blowing $26,000 in the process. It’s all a scam designed by the Canadian Department of Mobile Gaming to make millions and capture everyone’s money and souls — you know, just like real mobile games.

The episode hits on all the right notes with regard to “free” gaming, especially mobile games, comparing them to all sorts of addictive habits, and actually does a surprisingly good job of describing why they’re successful. As one exchange goes:

“Can’t the game hidden inside the charade just at least be fun?”

“If the game was too fun, there would be no reason to micropay in order to make it more fun!”

Oh, and then the Devil shows up and succinctly explains it all with genetics, dopamine, and Skinner boxes. Yeah.

If you’re in the U.S. — but, ironically, not Canada or any other foreign country — you can watch the episode above or on its Hulu page. It’s free — we swear!

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

7 Readers Commented

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  1. Karnaij on November 11, 2014

    I dont know i play firefall and i own every single thing in the shop and all of the battleframes and warpaints and shit and have never paid a dim before now and thats just to support them

  2. LordHikaru on November 7, 2014

    Probably one of my favorite episodes so far this season(and this season has been pretty damn good) lol. I was laughing so hard when I was watching this on Wednesday.

  3. Bic Boi on November 7, 2014

    Wasn’t this always obvious though? You’d be hard pressed to find any F2P game where something isn’t withheld from those who don’t pay–or rather, things are given to those who do. You’d have to be pretty dense to believe F2P games are truly 100% free.

    • Razer on November 7, 2014

      You’d be surprised. There are some especially retarded fanboys that will tell people that criticizing their precious game makes you “entitled” because the game is “free”.

  4. Razer on November 7, 2014

    Nailed it. I’ve been telling people for years that free to play games are anything but.

  5. TrueGrit on November 6, 2014

    I think everyone BUT those in the U.S. can watch it here (official site) without ads or anything, absolutely free.

  6. muntaser13 on November 6, 2014

    This is now my favorite episode.