The Whole F2P vs. P2P Argument Summed Up In Two Comments
I read a piece today about a mobile developer trying to make his game less about F2P consumable purchases -- like energy -- and more about one-time purchases. Sounded like the kind of thing I might be able to write an article about, I thought.
I grew a little less optimistic the further I got through the article. The CEO of Glitchsoft, Andrew Fisher, talked about how he sees the industry veering away from free-to-play with loads of microtransactions and more toward free-to-play with paid expansions:
"Glitchsoft's own Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past game launched earlier this year as a premium game with no in-app purchases, but an update next spring will see the core game made available for free, with additional expansion packs available for fans who want to pay to play through other storylines from the comic series."
It doesn't sound like Fisher plans to add microtransactions to the core game, so it'll be more like his company's giving away the base game for free and only charging for the expansion content. It's a little like F2P meets DLC.
The article is still fresh, as of right now, with only two comments. And those comments pretty much strike at the heart of the free-to-play vs. pay-to-play debate:
To put it simply: "Man, F2P can be annoying, but man, it really sells!" Or at the very least, "F2P is annoying, but people pay for it anyway."
It's worth noting, too, that while both respondents are in the game industry, the first, "F2P is annoying," comment comes from a Senior Programmer from Epic Games, while the second, "F2P sells," comment comes from the CEO of Kakouri Mobile Entertainment. In other words, I'd guess the first commenter is a gamer first and businessperson second, while the second commenter might be the reverse.
Both have their place. You can't make a company of just "gamers" without any executive oversight, but you also can't have a company full of executives with no idea of what makes a game "fun."
The other thing you might take from it? That core gamers like Mr. Martin -- and probably like you and me -- who don't like the annoyance factor of F2P make up a tiny percentage of the number of people who actually consume those games and don't think twice about forking over an extra $5 for another 25 energy or a cool hat. People like Martin can debate or rage all they want on forums and comment sections, but they're probably greatly outnumbered by the masses who never visit those kinds of places and download F2P mobile games -- and spend appropriately -- by the millions. I mean, is there a subreddit devoted to that Kim Kardashian game? (If there is, please don't tell me. Please. I'm begging you.)
Those silent millions are the ones that Kim Soares, as the CEO of a company, tries to appeal to, and it's hard to blame her. Both commenters are espousing the virtues of what's important to them -- just like we all do whenever we debate the virtues of one payment model against another.
About 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.
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So here is my final statement it matters not game is f2p, p2p or b2p what truly matters is it a game fun to play and if you can be relaxed after it. And if only thing we can talk is how they make their money, then trust me those game companies are bad and their management ain't worth a shit so even if they host you favorite game its not going to be fun and should not be payed for till they fix their corrupted ways.
free-to-plays are shits.
shits cost you money.
^ not at all
Gareth in that discussion was probably only refering to mobile and browser game in-app monetization which are different from desktop mmorpg monetization, the former have much more hard paywalls and are not dinamic
thus some of his assertions have to be considered in this dimension.
the first comment is a thesis. the second comment is a fact, therefore I only comment the thesis. for what relate to mmorpgs.
to begin, the quoted part:
"without having to worry so much about monetization, designers can just focus on making the game fun"
whitout having to worry about the monetization mean: everyone became a game designer
is the fact that there are people able to make games fun while also find solutions to make them viable economically (plus a whole vagon of other obstacles) that make we be game designers.
"corollary: pervasive monetization [...] make the game less fun"
point 1) pervasive is a subgective term, no defined criteria is given, for some people a 5% faster mount is already p2w,
for some people is valid: -those who can spend more have the right to enjoy the game more- instead.
unless a criteria for measurement is given, we can go on for years debating what is pervasive and what no. empty discussions
in the case he intend that in-app purchase are at all pervasive see point 2
Point 2) monetization doesn't make a game less fun, not only is unrelated, but at the opposite, wise companies can and will perform changes in the cash shop to adjust if not fix games that are going in a dire situation for whatever reason (bad design choices, unexpected bugs uproar, etc) removing monetization remove an efficent tool. is not advised in 2014 to do it.
point 3)*inspire* this will be hard. people don't play game for the fun, nor atleast the customers that are the mmorpg target. sound crazy? fun is a collateral experience anyone can feel and is totally up to the mindset of player itself. the truth is: there is a place in the human brain called ventral striatum that is the responsable of handle amines like dopamine and adrenaline and is tied with the stimuly of reward. it was observed. that the striatum became really, really active during competitions and also during games. while the part of the brain that handle the fun didn't activate. that explain that the reason why players play mmorpgs is the satisfation, not the fun. the satisfation to master game mechanics, the satisfation to beats your opponets, the satisfation to achieve your goals.
satisfation =/= fun.
the monetization is there as big obstacle betwen the player and his goals. this is the reason why is so hated.
granted this, a game even into a "no-fun" state could still produce income.
"It's the same as the old price/sales curve [...]you actually make less money that if you had lower price"
improvvvised and rudimental knowledge economy and common fallacy
this statement is false according to sociology, anthropology, psychology and economy. etc.
would require a long discussion I won't do here. there are conditions, also the point 3) above is involved too
interesting arguments: discriminary price, perfect price in discrimination monopoly.
I really like the idea of changing an handful amount of parameters then suddenly produce a magna game 100% no drawbacks for the users.
but basically to beat monetization in game you have to change the entire nature of the mankind. you achive this only throught education with maybe 600-700 years of effort. complains is also a way will probably take 1500 years to work.
...to think that a random guy on internet know more than veteran of the industry, I wonder if someone wanna hire eheheh :D
The real question is; why are games being made like this? Well, the sad truth is that 'free to play' games are designed to land whales and addicts. Whales are people with excess money that like exclusivity and the idea of being '1st'. Addicts are attracted to the gambling aspects, which are always some kind of 'slot machine' mechanic tied into the cash shop.
This results in huge monetary gains for developers like Trion, who recently released a popular F2P game called ArcheAge. AA is being heavily scrutinized for it's cash shop items, many of which are being called 'pay to win'. This kind of blatant cash-grabbing is slowly becoming the norm, as fewer and fewer online games are using the 'buy to play' model.
Personally, I see nothing but bad times for online gamers in the near future. So long as people are willing to spend their hard earned cash on programs that barely qualify as entertainment, developers will continue to pump them out.
Wildstar isn't dying because it's p2p, it's dying because it's a craptastic game.
I would reverse your order: P2P and B2P are both wonderful things, and F2P is a horrible thing in except in a few rare cases where it's actually done right (best examples: league of legends, smite)
Very few f2p games are able to pull off a good quality experience without trying to nickel-and-dime their users- It can be done and when it is done well, it's fine, but too many terrible games out there don't. Too many people play any f2p game for not more than a day or two and quit while a small number of people give them foolish amounts of money. Final Fantasy XIV: ARR has been wildly successful even though it's p2p. You can't judge a game solely by its business model.
The worst offended of free to play is mobile games. there's 32846783246732 terrible mobile games out there that only exist in the hopes that someone will accidentally click on one and click an in app purchase button. It only takes a few suckers for them to be successful.
Reminds of me why casual gamers are treated like cancer in the core gaming communities. Looking for a half-decent game to play on your mobile device is like bobbing for apples in a sea of molten shit. We have these vapid games, the unscrupulous companies that make them, and the sheep that mindlessly enable them to thank for that.
If a new F2P game comes out i'll try it out and call it a Free2Try game and treat it as a DEMO to see if its fun and has lasting enjoyment to give past the first few levels , if its fun i'll play it for an extended period of time and give it some of my money if the game is not fun then the account i made for it can rot till the end of time and the game has to have made major changes in the future to have hope of bringing me back .
In the end Buy2play , Pay2play and Free2play are all equal in my mind , if its a fun game it will receive money from me and other costumers , this small sentence should be enough "Entertain your customers and they will fill your pockets ,make your customers unhappy and they will leave and spread news about you to others".