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Free to Play, Free to Exploit?

Blazeknyt

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There has been a recent article on IGN, as well as a video discussion about the free to play model. Feel free to read it here. As my last post was about DLC, I have decided to talk about something that is related yet different from DLC, the free to play model.

 

The free to play model (or F2P, as many abbreviate it to) is simple. The game itself is free, but in order to gain certain perks and items, you must pay real money. Many MMOs do this, such as my favorite, Dungeon Fighter Online (DFO). I personally never spent money on it, but I could have spent $5 in order to have unlimited weight in my storage chest, and much more space. There are also certain avatar items that allow you to change the appearance of your character and give certain stat increases, thus making dungeons a bit easier to get through.

dfocashshop_malefighter.jpg

 

Customizing a character in DFO

 

The distrust of the free to play model does not stem from not the fact that the free to play model exists, but how it is implemented, and what is offered. In DFO, you had to find what you needed, and decide if it was worth it. Are those 3 items worth the critical hit boost that complement your skills? They just might be worth the $10. If you bought the items, then the game gets a bit easier for you. If you didn“t buy the items, it“s not like the game took anything away from you. You can still play the game as much as you please, and how you please. You were not restricted in any other way. The items compliment your abilities and skill.

 

If the items have a substantial effect in making the player better, then some players may call the game a “pay to win†scenario. Pay for all these super cool items, and you can kick butt everywhere you go. This type of scenario basically allows for the players to have less skill in the game. Think of it as getting the best product money can buy, and then becoming famous because you have the item, not your skill in using the item.

 

tekkenrevolution.png

 

On the other hand, distrust can stem from limiting content or playtime. Certain Zynga games have come under fire for limiting playtime. As much as I love Tekken Revolution, the fact that you are only allowed 5 online tokens at startup makes the game go that much faster. Before I know it, I“ve used my tokens and have to wait it out. I am limited to those 5 until 1 is replenished every 20 minutes or so. The cost of that is the fact that I don“t have to pay for the game at all, and it perfectly emulates the arcade experience. Strangers challenge you, and you duke it out. Now just imagine paying 50 cents for every fight that you take, much like in a real arcade. Maybe there should be a tweak where after winning 3 matches in a row, the winner gets a token back, because in the a real arcade scenario, the winner keeps on fighting and doesn“t pay again.

 

The author of the IGN article uses trust as the basis of his article, and it is true, that is what this is about. One does not want to destroy the trust of the fans and then lose out on the game that one worked so hard to put out to the public. But it is also a tough business decision on the makers of the game, because the platform on which the game is released can determine which business model will work best.

 

Are there any favorite games that could benefit from the free to play model? What if a certain game that you loved used the free to play model?

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