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Budget And F2P Games

Are they the future for gaming?
Freelance Journalist
21st August 2013 03:41 PM
PS4 Products

After being sucked in by the E3 hype for Payday 2 and reading about the success of its predecessor, I decided to give the game a go. Don’t get me wrong, the game is not perfect but it is very good. I could have my gripes about the AI and visuals but these do little to detract from the overall experience. For £25 I can’t really complain about a game that is pretty solid. It seems as though 505 Games underestimated the game’s popularity, as it’s now quite hard to get hold of. This leads me to think that if a game is not quite perfect but reasonably priced then it can attract as much interest as an AAA title might.

I am by no means suggesting that publishers put a little less effort into games and charge £10-£15 less. I am however, suggesting that cheaper and even free games are going to become much more popular (why wouldn’t they?!) At gamescom yesterday EA announced that the mobile version of FIFA would go free-to-play. This is in addition to the existing free-to-play FIFA World PC title designed for countries where PC gaming is still ‘king’. If this means that in maybe 5 years time I can download FIFA 19 for free and pay for one or two modes then that’s fine with me. It’s already evident that EA make enough from FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode that they can afford to give the game away free with Xbox One, presumably in the hope that those who would have spent the money on the game still spend it on in-game purchases.

The notion of in-app purchases has become something of a hot topic after Apple have refunded parents in the US where their children have spent hundreds of dollars on in-game purchases. Apple has recently introduced a ‘parental gate’ for apps targeting children before they can make a purchase amidst high profile cases such as that where a child spent £3700 on Plants vs. Zombies. Perhaps though, if parents supervised their children whilst playing these games or even turned off in-app purchases they would not have had this problem.

Ignoring the casual and child gamer, the free-to-play model may not translate as well to the ‘hardcore’ gamer. The free-to-play model relies on those who want features in a game to simply pay for them instantly. This is in contrast to the usual method of a gamer ‘grinding’ to get what they want or simply playing through the game and enjoying it. After all, where’s the fun in unlocking everything from the start? Furthermore, whilst digital downloads are still in their infancy, gamers will still go to retail to get their games and this simply won’t work for free-to-play. Until there is a definite shift away from boxed product free-to-play will not be a success in the core market.

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