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!”
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!