Survey Says: "Esports Gamers" Don't Care So Much For Free-To-Play

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor May 25, 2016
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Red Fox Pricing Model

It's time for another market research report, this one conducted by Austin's Red Fox Insights. The report, titled "Exploring the Esports Gamer," strengthens the notion that free-to-play gaming is having trouble winning the hearts and minds of some of gaming's most dedicated patrons.

As you can see by the chart at the top of the page, gamers in both the US and UK both vastly prefer the pay-to-play, one-time-fee, model to their games, though American gamers still like free-to-play more than their British counterparts. The subscription model, on the other hand, is slightly more acceptable in the UK, though it's very unpopular in both locations.

Red Fox Pricing by Genre

Breaking things down by genre, we can see that F2P is still pretty well-accepted for MOBAs -- hugely so in the case of gamers from the UK, who also seem not to mind having a subscription for their MMOs. Otherwise, though, the winner is still mostly pay-to-play.

Now come the caveats. In addressing "the Esports Gamer" and placing its poll on gaming news websites -- possibly esports-focused, possibly not -- Red Fox gathers data from the hardest of the hardcore, as evidenced by gaming habits (more than 5x/week for over 70% of participants) and possibly youth (over 80% under the age of 35) and gender split (96% male/4% female). That's a group that doesn't mind paying a premium for its gaming experience and is more likely to look down upon F2P gamers as "noobs" and "plebs."

Toss in the relatively small reach of the survey -- around 800 gamers -- and the data set seems remarkably small. Huge swaths of people don't read gaming news sites, and many of them are perfectly fine with free-to-play gaming. Obviously, by reading this, you (and I) don't fit in that category, but the key is to remember is that this places us very much in the minority.

I'd also like a better explanation of exactly what the delineation between the various genres. MOBA I can figure out well enough, and I'd figure RPG includes single-player games like Witcher 3 and Fallout 4, while MMO includes traditional MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. But where would a shooter game with MMORPG elements, like Defiance or PlanetSide 2, fit? MMO, RPG, or FPS? How about CS:GO? MMO or FPS? World of Tanks?

While I agree with the general notion that free-to-play isn't as popular as it once was, that can vary greatly depending on who you ask, and how you set up your categories. So I'm not ready to go with a headline like "5 out of 6 gamers reject free-to-play." It's probably a significant number, and F2P is shrinking, but the continued success of free-to-play games -- some dramatically so -- makes me view this report with a bit of a critical eye.

You can read Red Fox Insights' entire report on its website.

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About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
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.

Discussion (10)

Hellsworth 5 years ago
"Ahhh if only the world was made solely by the US and the UK!" ... sadly that's a minority =P

Cacabuns 5 years ago
WEST always once one time purchase.
Asia wants F2P with P2W.

rickshaw 5 years ago
Yeah...
So come on...U T L T I M A O N L I N E ..Give us a one time fee!! ....plz

Razer 5 years ago
You can't have a fair competition in a pay-2-win or even pay-2-advance-faster game. Companies that make F2P FPS games especially have a very poor understanding of this, so it's not surprising the competitive community rejected them.

Urs00 5 years ago
yeah, we get it already, that's the 10000000th "survey" they release after asking 5 people their opinion

this has nothing to do with f2p, this has to do with people on the west and their fantasy that all f2p is p2w and every b2p is fair and cheaper (some people say League of Legends is p2w)... also, it is easy for someone in USA to claim that 60$ games WITH a cash shop are not a big deal, but not everyone live in their "dream economy" and can buy 5 games every month

and because they are delusional, many publishers are taking advantage of that, that's why trion, daybreak and even Black Desert goes b2p, because they know those people think this is awesome news... let them spend their money for a game that will become f2p soon

View 1 reply
Kiyoi777 5 years ago
Of course "Esports gamers" don't care about f2p. They're so rich and get paid to play shit that it doesn't matter to them. That's like Gavin Free from Achievement Hunter/Rooster Teeth. He has a net worth of higher than five million USD and all he does is play games, get paid to play games, and never pays for a single game.

"Esports gamers" and Youtubers don't care if a game is f2p or b2p or p2p. As long as they can make money off it they'll play it.

SuiNor 5 years ago
You know the funny part is...all MOBA like games or the popular ones are free and people strongly avoid when a new moba says it will go 1 time fee mode(was one but cant even remember the name),tho here the stats say otherwise.
Question is just like the articale says what you call MOBA and what you call FPS,Rpg etc.. also what you call Esport gamers.

Sookie 5 years ago
tbh the best option has always been Buy-to-Play =)


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