For whatever reason, gamers around the world have scorned the likes of Crytek developers and Peter Moore or whomever else decides to publicly declare that free-to-play is the future of gaming. Guess what? They’re right. With development costs skyrocketing as the gaming industry demands more and more fidelity and features from triple-A titles, free-to-play is the clear and evident direction for the industry to take.
While the hardcore are left huffing and puffing over this for, honestly, absolutely no good reason, the benefits of completely removing the financial barrier to entry on all titles is the best possible thing for the gaming world at large. With a freemium model for all games, such as the one featured in Team Fortress 2, many new doors are opened for developers. Let me run down the list for a moment.
1.) Every Game Is a Demo in and of Itself
– With free-to-play titles, there’s no trial version of the game: the game is a demo. Developers no longer have to dedicate resources and time to the creation of a demo to entice players to try out their game. Gamers get to play every single game on the market the second it goes public, while developers save their demo money. Win-win.
2.) Maximum Exposure for All Titles
– Many games get lost in a sea of mediocrity if their marketing strategy fails to reach the masses. With the free-to-play model, it’s an easy sell to convince gamers to try out your title. How many times have you been psyched for a game that would be amazing with buddies only to find out they could care less about it? With free-to-play, how could they possibly say no?
3.) Less Scrutiny and Snarkiness All-Around
– It’s easy to hate on something if you don’t like it or had high hopes for greatness after spending $60 on it. It’s much more difficult to be pissed off if you don’t like a game that you literally paid $0 for, and you’ll be a hell of a lot more open to giving it a chance if it comes to absolutely no cost to you. To hate on something you got for free would be like turning your nose up at a birthday gift from a stranger. It’s stupid.
While thee are also a number of concerns for the free-to-play model (corporate control, nickel-and-diming schemes, etc.) the benefits and potential of such a model far outweigh the downsides. If our industry wants to stay afloat and maintain a steady pace of innovation in the coming generation, it’d do well to adopt the popular free-to-play model in the future.
Agree? Disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments!