You will rarely see a promotion for a free-to-play game here on this website. Why? Why don’t like ‘em. Plain and simple.
Let’s define some terms:
Free-to-Play Game: A game which does not cost anything to purchase, but which makes money through in-game purchases.
Traditional Game: A normal video game with none of that nonsense. Produced by a studio or even a lone developer. It costs money to purchase. Games that include free-standing DLC (downloadable content) are also considered traditional.
Why Free to Play Games Just Suck
The reason is that they are sucky by design.
Traditional video games, making their money as soon as the player purchases the game, have to focus on being very entertaining.
In fact, since so much of the market for traditional video games is driven by an ecosystem of reviews that are generally very hard-hitting, video games must focus on being truly excellent.
However, free to play games have two focuses – your entertainment, and your monetization. This is a very critical point, in my opinion.
“Don’t make people pay for entertainment. Entertain them so that they will pay,” said Jamie Cheng, founder of Klei Entertainment. This is a great point.
Do you know who else entertains you so you will pay? Salespeople. Those guys are annoying.
Street musicians, clowns and other buffoons typically fall into this category.
What are some things you have to pay before you get to enjoy?
- The Opera
- Harvard University
This is funny.
Let’s see your local airline had the same scheme as a free to play game.
“Welcome aboard your free flight folks. Food is coming around, you can get some for 500 Credits. Purchase some credits on your onscreen dashboard.”
Your dashboard buzzes and beeps. “Buy credits! Buy credits!” It shouts. A man rolls a cart by with some tempting looking food.
Well, it couldn’t hurt. So you buy some credits. Your flight is no longer free.
“Buy more credits! Get bonus credits!” The box exclaims. “Watch a movie for just 100 credits!”
That sounds good. So you watch your movie. Then after 15 minutes a screen pops up, interrupting your movie – “Continue this movie for 150 more credits!”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the hostess says. “We are overloaded. It looks like we’re going down. Parachutes start at 100,000 credits.”
Advertising within video games is strictly forbidden.
A video game is an escape from reality. Money is something that is inextricably tied to reality and the real world. Even the possibility of using real money to purchase an in-game buff taints the entire game with the foul stench of RL.
Traditional games may or may not choose to use this additional cashgrab strategy, but free-to-play games have to. It’s in their very nature.
Credits and crystals, orbs and coins, runes, tokens and points are all just fungible currency. If you can buy them with money, then they are basically money. So a banner that says “GET 500 CRYSTALS!” is really just saying “GIVE ME YOUR MONEY.”
The effect of all these adverts is ultimately a big ol’ hammer-smash to the IQ box. It makes you dumber, makes you slower, more irritable. It lowers your reading level and promotes greed and vanity. You should avoid them, please. Buy real games.