Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Free To Play Takeover

I recently received an e-mail that my Star Trek Online account had been reactivated because the game is going Free to Play (here after referred to as FtP).  As I mentioned before, this is a growing trend in MMORPG’s, to the point that I won’t play a game that I have to pay a monthly subscription for.  (OK, you caught me.  I can’t afford a monthly subscription.)  A quick search on the interwebs gives us a plethora of free games.  The following list is just some of the more recognizable FtP titles available:

It is true that some, if not all, of these games were subscription based to begin with, and many still have a subscription option to get the “really cool stuff”, but that isn’t necessary any more.  Between the cost for Downloadable Content (DLC for short) and other micro transactions, the companies seem to be able to maintain their service as well as provide a good gaming experience for their customers.  My experience with DC Universe is the only first hand experience that I have with it, and I have to say that I don’t have a problem with the structure.  With more and more games going this way, I truly believe that this is the future of the industry, at least for some kind of introductory period if not for the full game.

Of course, part of the issue that some may have with this is that you need to create an original game, and one that looks original right off the bat, or people will go somewhere else.  That might be the problem that some people have with my review of Star Wars: The OldRepublic.  In my view, it is a WoW clone with video cut scenes, but the only reason I know that is I was in the Beta.  Those that have to pay to find out what the game is like are more likely to stick with it, because they have already invested the money and don’t want it to go to waste.  If they could try the game first, with no cost, the game makers would be more hard pressed to come up with something new and exciting in the game to keep people around.  IMHO, that is a VERY good thing for the industry, because it results in innovative and interesting game play and lower initial costs to the consumer.

1 comment:

  1. I just wish they wouldn't call it free to play and then pressure you into buying things or getting a premium account. Its not free to play if most of all the cool stuff costs money or worse invites. That's just an extended demo.

    I hate it even worse when you do a search for a free game, find one, get signed up and then after you are playing get bombard with being asked to pay money.

    For me though I don't like anything that distracts from the game, when you play an oldschool console and turn the game on that's it, your playing a game. Can you imagine playing super mario world with it constantly blocking levels until you pay more money or get more referrals and with ads and a chat thing blocking half the screen.

    I don't like monthly subscriptions but saying its free when its not bugs me. For this reason I usually play games where I can host my own server. I really prefer to pay for the game once and be done unless an insanely cool expansion is released a year or more later.

    Diablo 3 is going to be better then all the MMO's out there (not saying it is an MMO) but It's only going to cost once. I'm not saying one format will work for all games, but I pretty much stop playing on the spot if asked for more money while in game.