Most free to play games on the market, whether they are available on PC or mobile are utter trash. “But wait there are one or two decent games on the market!” Nope, you’re probably wrong and here’s why.
I’m not calling them trash simply because of their gameplay, even though most of them are terrible. Games like Path of Exile, Team Fortress 2 and even SWTOR – which was once a premium subscription MMO – are good games in their own right. I’m still calling them trash because they are changing the industry and not for the better.
The odd thing for me is that I’m on both sides of the fence. I still actively buy and play games that I love, but I’ve also been working diligently on my own series of games behind the scenes.
Our game is only available on Android currently because it’s the platform we chose to create for. Unfortunately, the Google Play market is completely saturated with free-to-play bullshit, so our game gets lost in the crowd. Not only that, people won’t take a chance and buy our game because there are so many free titles available on the market. The sad thing is, our games have more content than even the most popular AAA titles on the market and we’re selling it for a quarter of the price – if that.
What I’ve described above isn’t quite so evident on PC yet, but I’m sure over time it will become an issue. Just take a gander at Steam’s free-to-play section and you’ll notice the rise in popularity. This is not a good thing. While I agree that no game should cost in excess of $60 (most modern titles are outrageously priced), developers have to reel in money from somewhere in order to keep producing content. If the market saturates with these free-to-play games, the real ones will get lost in the mix.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not something that’s going to happen overnight. It’s not something that’s going to completely destroy the gaming industry either, and that’s not what I’m talking about. However, free-to-play will definitely change the world of gaming.
DLC has evolved, and many companies now offer IAP or in-app purchases. While it would be fantastic if every developer out there offered Borderlands 2 and Elder Scrolls sized content (minus that shoddy horse armor), that’s not the current trend. Instead, a lot of these development companies are cashing in with cheap IAP that harm the gaming ecosystem. No one wants to play 15-20 levels of a game only to find out the time they invested was all-for-naught unless they purchase a $50 item pack. The sad thing is, a lot of games are adopting these tactics. Gamers that reward such developers by purchasing content and supporting these types of games are hurting the rest of the game world.
Why would I say something so outrageous?
If those titles do in fact dominate the market, then other developers will be forced to change their own strategies lest they fold under the pressure. Like I said, something that crazy is not going to happen overnight and it might take years before there’s any true effect. As it stands however, free-to-play is gearing up to saturate every market including mobile and PC.
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather pay for a title or two that offers a full unhindered experience and plenty of content. The rest of you can have your free-to-play.