Hawken's publisher Mark Long on the free-to-play future, and his game's part in it. 34
Very interesting read. This trend towards free-to-play but pay-to-win is a little disappointing though.
Some games do it well like Planetside 2 and Hawken. Others like SWTOR is just so bad that its called pay to sprint.
as long its not "Free to Play...PAY TO WIN."
I'm not a fan of free-to-play because of the philosophy behind it. I mean, the devs want to get paid one way or another...if they aren't charging you to buy the game, they'll try to get your money another way. And of course, once the servers are taken down, goodbye to that game forever. My old Super Mario Bros cartridge from nearly 30 years ago can still be plugged in and played. Will I be able to play my Hawken mech 5 years from now? 10 years? Will I be able to boot it up and say to my kids "hey I played this awesome mech game back in the day. Give it a try"? Nope.
I hear you. Its annoying when you get into a game and start to play it, only to realize that in order to be competitive you have to start paying... and sometimes paying a lot. Its extremely deceptive.
For the worst.
He's right. You can't compete with free. And if people are playing something they love without a dent on their wallet, we've seen they're more likely to pay a skin or two. Or ten.
wasnt there some article like a week ago that was saying how one of the big FTP companies were going out of business because people are tired of micro transactions?
Zynga. Founded in 2007. Going bankrupt in 2012. When the creators of Farmville and Mafia Wars can't even stay afloat for more than 5 years (they went public in 2011, so fewer than 5 years actually) who in their right mind thinks these smaller devs will be able to last?
One of Zynga's biggest issues was that it catered to the casual, who generally are very quick to abandon something when something new and shiny comes along. They started in a good place with no competition, and gaming sites tended to be specialized, so the user would have to actively search them out(POGO for example). Their original games were moderately set up to push micro-transactions to support their company. But once they saw they could make quite a bit of money at it, their business model changed to be rather pushy on those transactions. On top of that they constantly berated their user groups friends to use their services whether they wanted it or not. It got so bad that you could turn them off unilaterally on Facebook because so many people complained about getting 10-20 messages an hour. Their model wasn't sustainable, and people became disillusioned like you say. Unfortunately for us, publishers took notice at how much money was actually there to be made from this crowd. So now what we get is everyone saying how it's going to be the next revolution and evolution in gaming. It's like the whole DD talk, they're telling us how great it is and ignoring the ugly side they'd rather we, the consumer, ignore. The way publishers see it...what works in one section of the market will be widely accepted and work in all parts of the market. Why they believe that they won't fall into the same trap that Zynga did is beyond me. I think Zynga's failure may have staved off the free-to-play model on a large scale next generation. Hopefully it will remain a side item like it currently is with the games those of us on here like to play. Publishers should really stop trying to find the biggest bestest thing to maximize profits, and simply go with what works for a modest return. Expecting more, and then blaming gamers when things go downhill is only going to alienate those that actually support the industry no matter what. If this generation has proved anything it's that gamers are a cynical and demanding bunch. What's really funny about this whole situation though is that us gamers aren't really demanding change, just innovation. When the publishers finally figure out the difference between the two, maybe they can stop making so many bad choices for gaming as a whole.
Free to play is NOT the direction to go. Curse Microsoft for main steaming the micro transaction in gaming this generation. I have not purchased a single DLC content pack, nor would I embrace this pay to win model. It is a shame really, as if this was priced correctly it would be a hit. It looks amazing.
Yes, blame them for developers taking advantage of the possibility of DLC...that's entirely fair. I certainly couldn't blame them for the gamer's apparent willingness to bend over and take it just because a bunch of faceless analysts predict that F2P is the way to go, so they all jump on board like sheep without thinking of just what they're doing.
Free to Play is a con of epic proportions. Devs are now charging for the individual elements of a game while giving people a terribly basic framework and calling it free. To actually get anything good or fun, you'll have to pay through the nose and will probably end up paying more than the £40/$60 RRP of a normal game that used to have all these various features built in. Want a selection of 20 guns in a shooting game? That's a bare minimum of choice for a game as mainstream as, let's say, Call of Duty. It'll probably cost you a dollar per weapon or something equally stupid. Want camo or other customisation options? 50 cents a time. Want perks? Same again. It all adds up. Free to play has you giving up all ownership of the game due to it's download only nature, then nickel and diming you to death to get anything reasonably close to a full feature set that you used to take for granted as part of your purchase. To buy everything individually in Planetside 2 - not including extra cosmetic customisation options - will cost $327, or £204 according to PC Gamer. Now of course, you can earn in-game cash by playing...but the cost of weapons is so great and the level of reward so low, that you'd have to play for an absurd amount of time to be able to unlock anything close to a decent selection. Free to Play is a cancer to gaming...it's DLC taken to the nth degree, they are blatantly ripping you off to your face at this point. Don't know about anyone else, but I'd rather get Call of Duty and all it's content for full retail price than resort to the abysmal free to play model. "Oh, but you don't have to buy everything in the game". Of course not, but since when was LESS choice considered a good thing? Spend $60 on that game, and you'd have a game that if it were released to retail, it'd be called anaemic at best, and a waste of money at worst.
F2P is not only "DLC taken to the nth degree" but also always online DRM evolved to a hideous form. Some might say F2P is where you can try out a game without ever coughing out any money. If you like it, dedicate yourself to it (paying for items). If you don't, leave. But the problem is that the extra hours of grinding around doesn't justify the free entry price. I've tried a sailing game for my Android phone. A free to play. It has a fun mechanic and I assume the limitation is the annoying ad banner at startup. It wasn't. I soon realized that the cost of repairing my ship regardless of the severity will always be equal to the amount of gold I've recently collected. The only way for me to have a lot of gold is to actually buy them. That was just after the first level/mission. In the end the only game that I enjoy in my phone that never pestered me into buying stuff is Sudoku. Really, that game is awesome!
Didn't a guy the other day in a conference about casual gaming, which is almost entirely free-to-play say that it's not the way forward because retention isn't viable for long term long-term profitability? I have a question. Who's demanding this change? Is it us consumers complaining about $60 price tags? Or is it the publishers who want to make money on a product long after it's sold, when they couldn't even care less about it. Free to play is a way for publishers to create content at low costs, and if it becomes popular, support it and sell it at a premium through continuous transactions. It's a way to prevent high initial costs in a risk-adverse industry, and has little to do with what is good for gaming or gamers.
Like all trends.. They don't work 100% of the time.
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