Enter the World of F2P Games
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve surely heard at one point or another mention of games like World of Warcraft, Dota or League of Legends, and other games that allow gamers to play online with their friends.
Games like these used to charge for a monthly subscription, but recently developers have come across a great idea to make more money off of them. They decided to make the games free to play.
Free-to-play (F2P) games are video games or mobile apps offered free to users, as in no fee will be paid to download the game or play it. But we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch, charges will be made against players who want to purchase improvements, enhancements or the full features of the game.
F2P games are not limited to PC users, there are also a lot of downloadable games for the iPhone, tablet and other mobile electronic devices.
Why are game developers turning to F2P games in the first place?
Many developers are turning to F2Ps for a number of reasons.
- F2Ps are a good way to introduce gamers to new games. Players who are curious about a game usually read reviews before buying one. However there are those who insist on a hands-on approach and F2P games offer them the perfect chance to try out a game without actually spending for it.
- Offering games free discourages piracy. Since the game is free developers have nothing to lose by giving it away and, most importantly, video pirates have nothing to gain by copying it.
- Easier distribution. From the end of the developers F2P games are also easier to make accessible to gamers. When making traditional boxed games developers have to worry about the cost of manufacturing the discs, packaging and shipping. Most of the installers of F2P games can be downloaded free online and even shared from one user to another. Distribution ceases to be an issue or a problem.
What are some of the most popular F2P games out there?
Candy Crush Saga is a combination of puzzle and adventure game with incredible monetization pathways built in. It has recently become one of the top grossing apps on the market.
Clash of clans is a strategy game that allows you to build and send armies into combat.
The sports simulator Flick kick football is a swipe game where players have to score a goal using different movements of the finger.
PC users also have their own share of F2P word, number and puzzle games, but when it comes to PC and F2Ps it’s usually the MMORPGs, or Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, that come to mind.
The most popular F2P role-playing game for PC users today is World of Warcraft, an online game that provides players with a vast virtual fantasy world where they can create their own characters and interact with, adventure with or even kill other player characters.
F2P for PC is not limited to action RPGs. There are also simulation games like World of Tanks and Hawken. The first one lets players customize a wide array of tanks and drive them into virtual battle against the tanks of other players. Hawken is similar to WOT in nature, but players get to customize and fight with giant robots called mechs.
Love or hate for F2P games?
F2P games are not without its share of haters. Complaints range from lavish artwork totally misrepresenting actual online graphics to lack of improvements due to the complex of making changes to an online system being accessed by hundreds of users.
But two of the biggest complaints are the annoying ploys by developers to close micropayments with players and the seemingly unfair advantages F2P games grant to players who readily spend on them.
F2P gamers complain of constantly being charged fees from as small as mere cents to as much as $10 so they can enter the next level, access more areas or get better weapons. Some game developers even put access buttons to online shops in the game menu.
Other gamers find it unfair that skilled players can easily be trumped by unskilled ones who only have to pay to have better weapons and equipment. Some games even allow paying players to level up faster and offer them better skill and character development options compared to non-paying ones. Gamers have taken to calling this particular rationale the P2W (pay-to-win) mentality.
But other gamers also call to attention the benefits of F2Ps.
The main reason that draws gamers to F2P is because it is free. And because it’s free F2P games allow players to save the $40 or more they usually have to pay for traditional boxed games.
Aside from saving on money, F2Ps also save a player from committing to a game he or she may not find enjoyable. It lets them in, gives them a taste of what is what and then the gamer is free to leave or stick with it as he or she wishes.
Another plus to F2Ps is that these allow gamers without high-end souped-up PCs to play enjoyable games online with friends. Most F2Ps sacrifice graphic quality for performance, allowing them to run on lower-end to medium performance PCs.
F2Ps also allow people to play several online games at the same time without having to worry about subscription fees.
Are F2P games here to stay?
Gaming experts agree that this is not just a passing trend. The gaming world is rich with many gamers who prefer not to pay for their games or choose to do so in manageable micropayments rather than huge one-time purchases.
While many developers are now specializing in F2P games this is not to say all RPGs will become F2Ps eventually. There will always be a profitable niche market in the gaming world for those who prefer single-player or co-op games.