Why The Free-to-Play Model Has Become Popular

Everyone loves a good freebie. Because of this, a model of pricing for games called free-to-play has really taken off as of late.

The idea is that you can download a game and start playing it for free. However, a developer also gives you the ability to buy certain things using real money to aid your progress in a game or unlock extra features.  To better illustrate it, let’s take a look at an example.

On the recently released Killer Instinct for XBox One, the Double Helix Games and Microsoft operate a free-to-play model. You can download the “Round One”/basic package, which gives you one of the characters available for free, which rotates between the 8 available.  This also gets you all the game modes as well, so that’s quite a generous offering. You can also pay more to get all eight characters and the classic version. (The original Killer Instinct from the early 1990s).

On one hand this model is really good for the consumer and the developer. The consumer gets to play the game for free and the developer gets the game into the hands of a lot of gamers. It sounds like a win-win, right?

On the other hand, it can be a bit of a curse for the gamer. Whilst you do get to play a game for free, you might not get the whole game unless if you pay up. That said, some of us have become used to owning a physical copy of a game and having everything there instead of having to pay to unlock everything.  Therefore, some gamers might get angry.

I think that the general public has become accustomed to seeing games for either free or a smaller sum because of the advent of the app store. We might expect games on a console or an iPad to be of a really good standard and still be inexpensive. As such, developers have decided to shift to the free-to-play model in order to supply the demand for free-to-play titles.

As a gamer, I am always looking for ways to save money, and will invest a certain amount of time into a free-to-play game. At the end of the day though, I would always prefer to get the entire game and pay full freight right out of the box.

That said, you get what you pay for. You can either pay nothing for a subset of features or pay full freight to get the full game.

What do you think about this issue? Would you prefer to pay full freight and get everything or pay nothing to get a small subset?

Let me know in the comments!

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