Whose Fault Are The Freeloaders?
Every free-to-play game has them. You know who they are. You might even be one of them.
Warning, incoming satire
You're a free player, who refuses to pay for your game. Less charitable names for your ilk are “freeloader” or “moocher.” How dare you take all the hard work the game developers go to to present this game, the millions of dollars, the sweat and tears of thousands of hours' of labor, and refuse to pay even a dime in support? Who led you to think that sort of thing was appropriate?
To quote a classic '80s anti-drug PSA: “You, all right? I learned it by watching you!”
(As an aside, could the dad in that bit be any more of an a-hole? You're asking your kid questions and don't let him get more than a syllable out before asking him another. “Where did you get it?” “Dad –” “Answer me!” But I suppose the notion that he's a generally bad parent is central to the concept.)
First of all, if you are one of the free players, you're not alone. In fact, you're in the vast majority. While numbers are typically hard to come by, there was an interesting comment made by SOE chief John Smedley on Reddit about a year ago, where he stated that he'd done research on about 50 current F2P titles and that player monetization rates were between eight and 18 percent. Wargaming.net's Victor Kislyi has also been upfront about World of Tanks' conversion percentage, usually stating it to be in the vicinity of 20-30%, depending on region.
Why do so many players refuse to pay? Some of them, yes, are definitely cheapskates. Or moochers. Or people who feel entitled to a free game, for one reason or another.
But I think another reason is the message that games put out, the one they shout as loudly as they can during the initial marketing push, especially if the game is being converted from a subscription model. It's right there in the moniker: FREE-to-play. Our game is FREE! It's FREE! Sign up for FREE! FREEFREEFREEFREE! It's all FREE!
Is it any wonder that players think that the game is... I don't know, free? I mean, where would they get such a crazy notion? Who gives them these ideas?
The video at the top of this article is a perfect example. CEO of Lord of the Rings Online Inc. (a division of SarumanTech, I'm sure) Gandalf the Grey declaring to a rambunctious crowd, “You shall not pay!” Of course, once you're in the game, you're reminded at nearly every turn that the Turbine Store is only a click away – funny how Mr. the Grey doesn't mention that in his brief address.
Most of us have no problem plunking down $60 for a new PC or console game from time to time, and for the longest time, the only way to play many online games was to do that and then pay another $10-$15/month for a subscription.
A majority of F2P games, at least initially, are tremendous bargains compared to their P2P counterparts. If you start in a typical MMO and want to get a character to max level with solid gear, how long does that take you? For a regular but not obsessive player, maybe two or three months?
In three months of a new game P2P subscription game, you'd be expected to pay around $100 total. Even if you need to buy a few XP boosters or the like, you're unlikely to spend that much in three months of playing any F2P game.
But you'll likely bristle at the notion of having to spend anything early on. And why's that? No, it's not because you're a cheapskate (well, not all of you), but because the game lured you in with its incessant promises of “free,” and once you were in, you felt like you deserve that free experience. It's like a used car salesman getting you onto his lot with the promise of a great deal and then pulling a bait-and-switch. At least the phone sex lines tell you the first minute is free and then, in the small print, say it's $3.99 for each minute thereafter. Not that I know from experience, mind you.
Sure, there are some entitled moocher types out there, who just grab what they can from a game and will whine incessantly about not getting everything for free, all the time. But maybe game companies could do a little more balanced job of promoting their products instead of trying so hard to shove “free” down gamers' throats, getting tons of sign-ups, and then acting shocked when people get angry that they don't receive what was promised.
After all, which do gamers really pay more attention to: press releases like “One million players tried out game since it went free-to-play!” a month after a game switches or the white-hot rage posts and comments strewn around the Internet for years afterward?
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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These companies throw out one game after another thinking it's going to be possible to have the success that blizzard had with world of warcraft over night and shut them down left and right wasting company assets instead of using sense. Blizzard did several things right and planned a ton more than people seem to think. First they took years developing the game to fine tune it. They didn't focus everything into making it realistic and instead focused on artistic flair to meet lower end system requirements. They plugged people into short term betas while constantly generating hype leading up to the open beta. They baited time to wait for a time when no other major mmos were scheduled to launch. They also assessed their competition at the time by waiting for beta testing access for press to have opinions let out to determine weather they needed to wait to release the game(At the time the biggest competition, at least in hype were Everquest II and Star Wars Galaxies and we all know how those were at launch). So it wasn't just random success even though it did coincide with a large upsurge in the popularity of online gaming but for the most part they planned things out and didn't force the game out too soon. Recently we've seen similar success with league of legends and dota2 is pretty competitive with that now. So it is possible to have that level of success with free to play titles if the developer listens to what players want and plan things out instead of just slinging shit at a wall and hoping something will stick.
The companies not seeing success only have themselves to blame for sinking their efforts into the wrong places and not appealing to what drives gamers, weather it's to be better than your friend or to just look unique in a group most gamers want to stand out when they play a game online so games either need to adapt challenging gameplay or have good artists if they can't cover both and being over the top funny or charming can go a long way too. Again, I want to ragdoll myself off a skyscraper into a crowd of fifty gamers. And I want to be wearing a metal sombraro with animated mini chainsaws dangling from the brim when i do it.
Where as the Cashers always say "what can't spend a few dollar to support the game?"
Quite sad these days that 70~90% of any game dislike Free Players when Free Players are the ones that's actually supporting the games.
Think of it, what happens if all Free Players leave?
How many cashers would be left to play the game? 100 ppls? LOL
Jason keep up the good work.And to those stupid people out there I'm gonna leave you with some words of wisdom my grandfather told me once.It's better to be thought a fool,then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
With that said I very much loved the "In three months of a new game P2P subscription game, you’d be expected to pay around $100 total. Even if you need to buy a few XP boosters or the like, you’re unlikely to spend that much in three months of playing any F2P game" bit you threw in there. It made me chortle like the mad hatter.
I always did wonder why cheapskates say P2P are expensive when in three months I only pay ~$45 dollars. In those three months I easily get a couple hundred hours of entertainment..but I suppose dropping ~$20 or so at a cheap fast food joint on a meal that lasts 15 minutes is so much more worth it to folks.
People, right? Thanks for the article Jason.
You're all acting like a bunch of pissed off toddlers, and you need to just.... relax.
Take some deep breathes.
If you don't agree with what someone says (either in the comments or the article itself) there isn't a need to go nuts.
There is a difference between telling someone politely, "I'm going to have to disagree" and "You're a dumb ass etc etc etc."
If some of you didn't notice... he isn't actually attacking F2P players.... at all.
This is satire...
His words right here;
"Warning, incoming satire"
If you don't know what the meaning of satire is, I'll even include it in this comment just for YOU!
the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.
a literary genre comprising such compositions.
Free 2 Play is a hotly debated topic that will go on forever down into the depths of page 10 forum trolling if you let it.
I believe the POINT of the article was to say developers focus too much on the word "FREE" when they should be focusing on..."Oh hey we have an awesome gameplay experience here."
Adults won't even bother to play most of these **** games "oh boi look at this just another f2p Korean MMORPG same as the 10000000000000000000000 other ones I should definitely play this and support this by pouring money"
Most single player games are more fun than average f2p MMORPG
The problem with many developers and their f2p model is they treat it as a turn key enterprise like a self service car wash. Problem is they forget to restock the DAMN SOAP or every answer their phones. Many of these companies have the worst security which allows hackers to just run wild and rather then improve their security to start ban waves which do catch many hackers sweep up the innocent as well and offer no resolution process or recuperation for lost time and money spent. When companies show that level of apathy to customer care then why should any one pay then anything.
this mean that I don't ever spend money on f2p? no... I do, but since I can't spend all the time, I only do on games I'm certain that I'm going to play for quite some time, like I did with ragnarök, perfect world, ether saga and few others
Jason Winter has completely missed the mark with this article. Free players are not moochers, or cheapskates or any other derogatory term that Jason can come up with. Free players build up the base of the game population, and make the game worth playing. Think about it, if EVERYONE bought XP boosters there would be absolutely no point in buying them. Paying players pay to get an advantage, and without free players there is no advantage to be gained. Add to this the publicity (word of mouth) that free players will give a game they enjoy playing for free. This publicity then attracts more players (who might pay).
If F2P game studios were shutting down left right and center, then I could kind of see your point Jason. As it is though, most are highly profitable ventures that:
1. Make the Devs and Publisher money
2. Allow paying players to feel advantaged
3. Allow free players to play a game for free by bringing A LOT of benefits to the game
Step 1 - Try to rip-off people with a promise you won't keep
Step 2 - Blame them for not paying and appeal to their conscience
Step 3 - Capitalism
Always interesting topic.
It sucks but it seems you've gone over the head of most of the bigots who feel compelled to post and chastise. I'd advise that next time you structure it a bit better so it is clear which angle you are coming from, who is at the heart of your arguments, who you are defending and what you position is so no one can misconstrue what you are saying.
Lets be real here, games are made so the developers would get paid for their work, if we all freeload and dont even dish out some form of money for them the game will just plain wither and die.
Not to mention it is a real slap in the face to people who were already subscribed and paying for the game because some of the things they were paying for are no longer there and free, which raises the question as to what are you even paying for?
Let me give you an example, Star wars the old republic.
Decent game, limited as F2P but you can get to the end game, you can buy a one time item to enable rare equipment and other things including but not limited to Character slots, Inventory Slots, Bank Slots, Joining a Guild, Whispering and that pointless stuff(Trust me you are lucky to not be a part of the horrific chat), 3 or something flashpoints a week.
*Not much but once you have played all of them once you realize they are really bleak, boring and horrific to be put on repeat.
So Subscribers get what? You already unlocked the gear(Plus color unification), Character slots, Bank slots, Inventory Slots obviously auction house slots or not(Auction house is horrific because everyone will try to undercut you 50% of the time.) Unlimited money(Only useful thing really) Unlimited amount of flashpoints but you can do them once a week anyway and your guild might not include you in every week raids, especially DPS. So 7 day permit is a better thing to buy which is not expensive even. Story is free so you aint paying for that. You get 25% or so more experiance which is decent but can be fixed with the EXP buffs. You can craft more but some crafting is worthless anyway.
So in the end I dunno what you really pay for besides unlimited money, freedom of guild leadership, some extra crafting aaaand... uhhh, suppose nothing really important? Thats money well spent right there. Oh lets not forget the continuous additions to the cartel market which requires extra money from you and you wont likely even get the item you wanted because drop rate for them all is random.
You will likely get 20 pairs of belts and bracers before the item you actually wanted.
In the end, this free to play model creates a greedy market that is ripping off paying players.
In short, Better do a liiiiittle more proofreading before tackling this touchy subject.
Even if I was a millionaire I would not spend money on games.. I spend money on real life things like medicine or food... etc
I don't support games because I do not require games to live... the companies who make games should worry about them selves not make plays worry if they will make money or not.
Now look at these companies, they basically run the world. Space is filled with their satalites, the enterprises have huge sky scraper buildings and yachts in ever port.
GPS was a free military service where all you needed was to buy the reciever...Why?
Because it is ALL PAID FOR UP FRONT! That 25 bucks a month you pay for internet, although a small sum (like the text message charge) is monopolied. Even if the business has competitors, it is still going to the same people. multiply that by the rate of gowth and you have millions pouring in. That alone pays for fees, business expenses and research with extra to throw on on the investment market or expand. And that is just the people. Now the private. When another sky scraper needs internet, they do not pay the 25 bucks per line as you do. They have special fees and rates (in the thousands, or usually millions but paid out over 90 years or the durration of the business, IE, it is apart of the cost of the business if some one purchased the buiding)... What does all that have to do with the game business?
Because space is limited I will try to sumarize. The games are paid for themselves x3 over usually when launched. Everything depends on the contract and use of cash. SOny, for example, knows you cannot run the internet without its laptops (well you would but they have a huge market share). They make a contract with Cow Cable, and get a percentage of your internet bill profits, they also sign a deal with local elcetric ocmpany, and then sign deals with microsoft. You know have a system to big to fall. This means they do no independent contracting to other branches because they want to increase profits on any adventure, even if it COSTS THEM NOTHING. So the board members are formed, they create an mmorpg brnach saying "hey, we can rake in 15 bucks per person subscribed", but only if the profits break the investment and raise it by the end of 2 years.
MEaning, the game can run fully paid and stay open infanantly, but the greed behind the wheel (board of non gamers) needs paid. IF they do nto like the profits, they shut it down; The code is not sold, because even if some one said, "oh hey, I will take the code and host the game all alone". If SOE says yes and thet good guy makes .001 cent off the relaunch, and it is ok whatever...but if the YOU THE PEOPLE end up liking it and paying out of kind heart (Star Citizen), then they get mad and jelous and will try to sue you saying "oh well that was out title". So instead of getting sue crazy, they shut it down.
IT gets more complicated, and this is the route most titles go. Unless you are indie and take more risk. More risk = less partners (like your cable company). HEnce the birth of kick starters etc.
Foregin titles, like the asian games that get ported have different contracts, they usually do the same crap, but back in their home land. IF successful, they might get lucky enough to negotiate a partnership in the other parts of the world, but usually through corpirate backers, like NExon etc..
PWE is it's own franchised software. They sell the core Perfect World game like a casino machine to other countries to RENT OUT. As long as people are paying they will keep the slot machine in their building. And they have stock trade.
All in all, these media sites, and the companies would like you to think IT IS YOUR FAULT. That some you slipped and tripped on the F2P install button, and since they have no repo man to knock on your door and force you to subscribe, they blame you for it. When the board members demand their fully paid game is not making what htey want, IT IS YOUR FAULT. And all these sissy ball less media sites do the PR song of "YOU FREE LOADERS".
I have paid subscription games since EQ, WoW, etc...I have had the same quality of service and content as the new F2P market. I have had hackers in my paid wow account. I have had lost inventory in EQ. I have had bad to no customer support. The content is pathetic as the other titles. Vut the fan boi is dillusional and or tries to support his "team" like a foot ball fan or a political fanatic. You have to seperate the football mentality here. Those are other forms of entertainment. Supporting a title is not like supoprting your local team. YOu know not hte real players. You want to meet them? They are blowing your sub money on cocain in vegas and yachts in the pacific.
but when they finaly started playing it everyone managed to finish that mmo in like 1 week the developers doesnt even want to make expansions i would rather try a mmo before spending instead of
being hyped about a game i dint play yet
Once I find a game I enjoy and are willing to stay with for a good long while I pay them and enjoy the features a paid subscription or cash shop provides me... But lately they have all been very lazy and it shows. I hope the future games being released aren't as terrible.
P.S. Freeloaders? In Russia it is a common belief that anyone who pays for a game is either dumb or insecure. Millions of ignorant *****s deeply believe that those who spend real world money on a game are breaking it. From time to time you can even hear/read something like "Duh! Everybody knows that cash shop is not the main source of income for developers and publishers!".
First of all nothing is free. They should go take it up with my ISP why I am not paying for there game. We don't owe them jack crack! We are not the ones who made them go f2p! Even somehow I had money to pay for a f2p or sub2p, why would I waste my money on poop quality games they give us anyways? They are all the same and are non creative or challenging. They are all turning into single player PVE non open world pvp/pk care bear games(WoW clones). Why should we give them free money when there games SUCK! And deep down inside everyone knows this but are in denial because if they give up on the games they are playing, they will have nothing to do and would be bored. So people try to put up with what they got and make the best out of it crap. So they should STFU or pack up cause they games are not even worth the trouble anyways!
FREE TO PLAY = FOR CASUAL GAMERS
Yes, you can make a profit at free to play but don't fucking turn the tables on the f2p players saying they are moochers. People that wanna pay for games can pay, probably end up playing better games anyways but then again, people play games to have fun.
Whoever wrote this needs to get on with their life...
If your a journalist you should research more the subject... For writing this you are a very poor games journalist... REALLY? How can you think and write such a poor article and don't know how things work...
How did you get a job in this domain? You use internet and don't know how all the things related to the internet work ? ( including games)
GOOOGLE IS RICH ( and don't tell me it was rich from the start)... AND ITS FREE.... YOUR BROWSER ITS FREE.... HALF OF YOUR PROGRAMS FROM YOUR COMPUTER ARE FREE... YOUTUBE IS FREE AND ITS A PROFITABLE SITE and pays money for YOUTUBERS, TWITCH IS FREE, MAIL SITES ARE FREE, CLOUD SITES ARE FREE etc etc etc..... HELL EVEN YOUR SITE IS FREE.... ( APPLICATIONS ON TABLETS AND MOBILE PHONES ARE FREE)
HOW DO YOU THINK THEY SURVIVE SO WELL? DID YOU EVER THINK OF THAT?
Let me give you a clue... Radio posts have employees too and your listening to them for free? TV companies that make TV shows have employees? Are you watching them for free? And how come some make more money than others in the same industry? RATING....( + publicity, contracts with 3rd parties etc.)
Now compare it to the internet and see if you find similarities... ( why the quoted World of Tanks then keep releasing new games and keep on profit + buying licenses for other games...?) ( or Lol offers so many prizes and tournaments or Dota 2 is supported unconditionally by Steam for free?) (etc. )
Are you really that naive and superficial and unprepared or are you just playing stupid so you can convince kids to start paying in F2P games to support the games...
Your article is so poor its a disgrace and calling players names like “freeloader” or “moocher” or "cheapskates" its shameful for a journalist in general...
All comments above show some reasons why people don't pay blindly money to F2P and not knowing that if they only play that game means supporting the devs and their game.. The money they spend in the game is a PLUS, A BONUS.
So please don't make a fool out of your self.. Its a shame to read something like this .... Hope nobody important sees it.( Maybe this job is not for you... Maybe another job?)
So I try to support the developers of games I really enjoy whenever I can.
First, Free to Play games attract many players that can't afford to make purchases. Players like this are usually children whose parents aren't always willing to spend money. They go to Free to Play titles because that's about all they can afford and want some entertainment.
The second group doesn't feel like making a purchase is worth it. The cash shop isn't enticing enough or too highly overpriced to justify spending anything. These people want to feel like they're getting a lot for the money regardless of the amount spent. Imagine the people that are always pinching pennies or looking for bargains in real life. They play MMO's too and this is the result. Gotta be careful not to make the game too Pay to Win or it could scare off another group of players though.
Lastly, you have the people that aren't interested in the game or don't play it very often. You know, they uninstall it quickly or move on to another game only to occasionally stop by and play the game every now and then.
I think most players that don't fit into these groups are likely to spend money eventually. There's the occasional holier than thou type that just thinks spending digitally is like flushing money down a toilet too.
Im playing since 3 years LoL, not much anymore, but i bought some skins to support them. I also bought something in Aion. Thats it. I enjoy sub base or B2P games much more.
Yes, free-to-play games aren't free! What a shockingly cruel world we live in!