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Monetizing Free-To-Play Gaming Models 164

Posted by Soulskill
from the pay-eight-cents-to-leave-a-comment dept.
eldavojohn writes "Last week, a game consultant named David J Edery gave his two cents on why free-to-play (F2P) game models aren't as prolific in the West as they seem to be in the East. Aside from a few unprovable cultural divides, he makes some interesting claims concerning conversion rates of non-paying players to paying players. Some customers pay hundreds for functional items and only a dollar on aesthetic items while other users might be the complete opposite. He also notes that converting a non-paying newbie into a paying customer is not the same as converting a non-paying salty dog. He defines 'aggressive monetization' to mean how much money will advance you 'unfairly' in the game. He focuses on two classes of items: those that provide performance-neutral aesthetics and those that provide performance enhancing or functional advancements. He claims to have access to ARPPU ('average revenue per paying user' per month) rates among several game developers and states that 'more aggressive monetization model and a loyal, niche userbase can hope to generate $50 per paying user per month, on average,' while 'a F2P game that limits itself to flat subscription revenue and/or non-functional items is generally more likely to fall somewhere between $5 and $10 per paying user per month.' Like any good consultant, he also gives ethics a footnote in an otherwise verbose post on monetizing free to play games. Has anyone here had experience pricing items and content in free-to-play games?"
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Monetizing Free-To-Play Gaming Models

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  • Golf works like that (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @01:40PM (#33257576) Homepage

    Golfers spend considerable money on things which are supposed to improve their game. It's usually mediocre players buying stuff that won't help them. There's a lot of that in running shoes, too. (Much to the annoyance of Nike, their sponsor, the Stanford University track team trains running barefoot. [dailymail.co.uk])

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by jmichaelg (148257)

      The only drawback to running barefoot is you can easily pickup hookworms running near dog droppings. Hookworms crawl about a foot a day from where they're first dropped so just being near poop can be enough to infect you.

      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        Dogs typically aren't allowed within 10-15m of good running tracks, for that exact reason.

        With university-onwed track, the distance can easily go to 100m+.

      • The only drawback to running barefoot is you can easily pickup hookworms

        It's not always a drawback. It can help people get over autoimmune disease [wikipedia.org].

  • If a game that is billed as f2p is too agressive in making things cost more people will be annoyed and leave, on the other hand make it opposite and you do not get enough money.

    That balance is ofcourse modified by the way to "force" the user to buy things. For example if the grind without buying some items is way too slow the level of dissatisfied people will likely be higher, than if the grind normally is "slow" and the acceleration items for example change it to "medium"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If it is a game like the traditional fantasy MMO, then high end raiders and solid group dungeon runners will start resenting people who can just hit a store and buy with real-life currency items that are up to par with them. If the game wants to be another Second Life, that is one thing, but I'm sure the high end players in WoW would start leaving in droves if Blizzard had sets of armor for sale with stats that were equal to items earned in raids/groups.

      Appearance stuff is different. People buying non-com

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by luvirini (753157)

        Personally I think DDO gets it about right.

        There is enough free content that you can make it to maximum level without paying anything, but you will have to run through the same quests way many more times than someone who pays the monthly subscription so it will be more boring in the long run.

        Also you can buy things that speed up your level gain by 20% and items that help you to not have to grind to get certain things that people spend a lot of grinding time on like crafting ingredients.

        Overall the option to

      • If it is a game like the traditional fantasy MMO, then high end raiders and solid group dungeon runners will start resenting people who can just hit a store and buy with real-life currency items that are up to par with them.

        They can resent as much as they like, unless they are contributing equal or more money than the people who pay, the game manufacturers have no reason at all to cater to them.

    • by Cylix (55374) *

      I have known several of those types of games.

      Sufficiently skilled players can operate without purchasing any items and amass quite a bit of wealth. Generally, I found the paid items merely increased the rate at which you would acquire items.

      That said there were also two other types of players that were competitive without spending any amount of revenue.

      Those would generate rigged matches with multiple other interested parties and pray on weaker newer characters.

      Those would take whatever they could via illic

      • Please keep explaining me about this theory of yours. Which are the 5 archetypes and 4 thieves or what?

    • A good example of a successful f2p game with a 'fair' system is League of Legends. The entire game is free, but they make most of their money by selling custom skins for different champions that players can control. It has no functional difference in the game, but somehow they manage to sell enough to keep the company going.

  • Anecdote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TriezGamer (861238) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @01:42PM (#33257590)

    I've played numerous F2P MMORPGs (at least 20) that operate on a micro-transaction model. While many of them were not good enough games to justify payment of any kind, those that have gotten to my wallet have done so in varying degrees. I have sunk over $400 each into three separate games, and one of those three has exceeded $1000. If you take the $400 figure, even at a $15/mo subscription [above average for a subscription based game], I have paid the equivalent of over 2 years of subscription time to each of these three games. I am not an exception to the rule. I have met multitudes of people in each of these three games that have invested at least as much as I have, and no shortage of people who have invested at least an order of magnitude more into them. For each person who isn't paying, I can assure you, someone is making up for it enough to turn it into a major profit.

    • Re:Anecdote (Score:5, Funny)

      by Cylix (55374) * on Sunday August 15, 2010 @02:32PM (#33257824) Homepage Journal

      My therapist once said I spend an overly healthy amount of cash on item transactions. To this I replied, "You are only saying that because you are a nub and wish you were as half as pro as me."

    • But your entire argument falls flat on ONE important point. Where is the F2P behemot? WHERE is the Blizzard equivalent?

      This is the amusing thing in most MMO debates. People talk about how succesfull PvP is, but not a single PvP game is a financial success. And F2P games are surefire money machines, yet none of them do all that well.

      Simply put, the number of idiots that spend as much as the parent on a single game are few. Ther is more money in the masses then the niche. And F2P payers are niche. You get F

      • by TyFoN (12980)

        You have Perfect World [wikipedia.org]
        It seems to be the WoW of F2P

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by twidarkling (1537077)

        You're completely right about the difficulty in paying for most western MMOs. I recently started playing a relatively new one, and whenever I look at the help channel, multiple times a day I see people going "I wanna upgrade from my trial account, is there any way to pay without a credit card?" but for that game, there isn't (well, maybe paypal, I can't remember). And that's just when I'm online. That means this company's losing out on literally dozens of customers every week, just out of ones that mention

        • by tomhudson (43916)

          The US needs to adopt the Canadian solution - Interac email money transfer [interac.ca].

          No credit card required, so nobody can "steal" your credit card information - OR your banking info - it's all hidden. Think of your bank acting as an email payment escrow service. Flat fee per transaction.

          • Actually, I've got unlimited transactions with my account. Never carry cash on me at all, thanks to it. And yeah, it'd be nice if the US started working with it that way. Unfortunately, thanks to the credit card companies in the US being the ones to issue debit cards, I really doubt it'll happen in some nicely compatible way with Canada's system.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        First of all, WoW is an anomaly in terms of subscribers. While there have been several hopefuls that have tried to duplicate WoW's numbers, nobody has achieved it. Not even the previous subscription MMO champion, EQ1, had anywhere close to number of subscribers. You do not need to have massive numbers like WoW for your MMO to be considered a "financial success." Unfortunately, a lot of companies nowadays see Blizzard's pile of cash and want in, so they sink a ton of capital into a supposed WoW-killer. Howev

        • by Kreigaffe (765218)

          League of Legends is F2P / microtransaction, and by all accounts they're doing pretty well for themselves. Not an MMO, but MMOs.. at least, today's typical MMOs.. they're friggin weird beasts that I consider garbage, they're all PvE grinds and timesinks. Some people like that, but few people are going to shell out cash for $LEWT just to grind more. Unless it's WoW and they're spending the money for a super special mount... but WoW is a bit of an aberration. It's got some crazy obsessed fan(boy)s.

      • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TriezGamer (861238) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @03:57PM (#33258268)

        You are attempting to create an argument where there isn't one. There is no NEED for a 'behemoth' free-to-play game, and I don't see where anyone was saying that there needed to be one. Free-to-play games don't have to be massive to succeed at making money, which is the whole point.

        In addition, you're making the assumption that WoW is successful because it isn't free to play -- instead of the fact that it had a marketing behemoth (worldwide), an extremely popular brand name (worldwide), and a very highly praised development team (worldwide) working behind it.

        Furthermore, if you WANT to see sizable Free-To-Play games, they're out there if you look. You also mention 'lifetime' subscriptions to LotRO -- a game that is in the process of converting to free-to-play precisely because of the success of DDO's free-to-play conversion that the company already had.

        >Why pay more for lesser games?

        Who decides they're lesser? Subscription numbers are meaningless to personal tastes. I've had more fun playing free-to-play games than any retail subscription game - and not for lack of trying them. I've had active subscriptions at one point or another to approximately half of the mainstream subscription MMORPGs in the west.

        Another benefit of free-to-play games: When I'm struggling financial, I can still play and just stop paying.

        • I will leave WoW as soon as a better game comes along. Preferably one with some character customization and dev supported RP stuff. WoW, if it included dev supported RP(such as toon housing, closets, more bank space, better naming conventions like last names, family names etc)it would be pretty close to perfect. I would stay a subscriber and level alts and work on amassing the most gold possible. As it stands now, I might subscribe for a couple of months, then let it die, only to come back again later on. I
  • by noidentity (188756) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @01:42PM (#33257592)
    When I was a kid, they had free-to-play games in the arcades. This was where you stood in front of the machine and pressed buttons while the demo played.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I like to buy my game, and immerse myself in the content to have fun. The painful part of parting with cash is complete.

    Buying "items" in a game kills the fun, in the same way that paying for sex kills my boner.

    • by Phrogman (80473)

      That is the western model for game sales. Its worked so far, but now the companies face more serious competition in fighting for customers dollars. In the MMO world there has been relatively little offered in the way of new games, probably because of the huge costs and development time required to produce a new major MMO. Of the titles coming out a few are seeking to do RMT monetization of items - the new Star Wars game coming from Bioware for instance. Why? Presumably because in Asia they have seen this mo

  • by loufoque (1400831) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @01:45PM (#33257608)

    This is missing an important dimension. When he says aggressive monetization gives 5 times more money per player, he forgets to say that it also reduces the number of players, because some players are simply put off by the idea that the game is not fair.
    Therefore it might not be more profitable.

    • by dmomo (256005)

      Without numbers on how many players actually "leave" as opposed to "simply don't go on to pay", you can't really tell how much of an impact that has. But, from my experience, nagging people (popunders, spam, etc) unfortunately in general does result in greater profit. I think Puzzle Pirates does a great job at making things free, while still trying to get people to buy premiums.

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      World of Warcraft is generally a good example here. They're been selling aesthetic items that give no advantage gameplay-wise, such as various pets, and That Retarded Horse (google it).

      They also sell leveling aid through recruit-a-friend program, which is more functional. But in the end, the real meat of the game, end-game is completely untouched by anything extra they sell. You can't get more powerful items by buying, or increase your drop chance or anything like that, and even recruit a friend experience

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>because some players are simply put off by the idea that the game is not fair.
      Therefore it might not be more profitable.

      Indeed. Stronghold Kingdoms is an awesome, awesome game. (You can join the alpha test at http://www.strongholdkingdoms.com/ [strongholdkingdoms.com]) Think Stronghold, but in MMORPG form. Build up your village, build a castle, attack your neighbors, trade, etc.

      However, it's a F2P game that allows you to buy "cards" which do things like tripling your production for a day. Right now the use of cards is unlim

    • It seems that everything is aggressively monetized these days, why should we expect games, online or otherwise, to be different?
  • by gamricstone (1879210) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @01:55PM (#33257644)
    I created this account specifically to reply to this post. He defines 'aggressive monetization' to mean how much money will advance you 'unfairly' in the game. Does not accurately represent the linked article. In the first paragraph: For the purposes of this post, I'm defining "aggressive" as the sale of items that impact gameplay and/or speed up a player's progress, in addition to other, less controversial premium features like aesthetic items and account personalization. Nowhere does it mention the word 'fair' or any variation of the word in the entire article. I have no comment on the linked article's content, just that slashdot has been filled with crap like this more and more often lately. I won't be continuing to visit slashdot(and my brand new account will go to waste) if this sort of posting does not stop. That is all.
    • by gamricstone (1879210) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @02:03PM (#33257676)
      Dear god I didn't realize it would remove every newline I inserted manually.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        What's wrong with your enter key?

        That's what I prefer to use.

        Enter

        Enter

        Enter

        See?

        • I have no idea what is wrong with it. My comment was clearly formatted with lines inbetween before I posted. Pressing enter just sends an extra blank character, which tells the browser to render it the next line down. Or at least that is how I've always understood it. I post on other websites, and have never had this problem lol. Lets see if this is a line down.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tomhudson (43916)
            "Pressing enter just sends an extra blank character, which tells the browser to render it the next line down. Or at least that is how I've always understood "

            You understood wrong. You're posting in html. See the "Allowed HTML" text under the Preview button?

            Try putting a <p> tag between lines.

            You can also bold and/or italicize, etc.

            Doing so earns you 1 credit per post in slashgame credits. Only 42,000,666 posts to win a prize. (Or use the spaceballs cheat code 1-2-3-4-5).

            Or you can "level up

            • Thanks I will try that.

              (right now in fact)

              I've been visiting slashdot for at least a year or two. Before I registered (today) I never realized how complex of a website it is.

              • by tomhudson (43916)
                Don't let the ACs get to you - it takes a while if you're used to how things are done elsewhere.

                Like the crappy "web 2.0" interface - avoid it by setting your preferences to "nested, browse at -1 (raw and uncut)".

                Since you're now registered, keep a slashdot user journal. It comes in handy. Also stick something in your signature. Impress us with your wit and wisdom (or not, if you're an Ubuntu user).

          • by fbartho (840012)

            You need to hit the "Options" button below the reply box, and select "Plain Old Text" as your preferred posting mode.

            See? This is on a newline. All I did was hit the enter (return) key on my keyboard. A

      • Default posting mode for a new account is HTML, which ignores most whitespace (converts any amount of any type of whitespace into a single space, more precisely). You can either manually insert <p></p> or <br /> tags, or you can switch to Plain Old Text posting method. POT method still lets you embed HTML, but it will also auto-convert new lines in your comment "source" to new lines in the result that gets posted.

        Also, always preview before posting.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @02:03PM (#33257678) Homepage

    After reading the article, the author seems to simply not talk about two things (at least as related to conventional MMORPGs).

    First, he doesn't address the question of the effect of monetization on player base. In his HappyFunTime example, for instance, he blithely assumes that both monetization systems have the same number of players. But is this true? I know many players who actively avoid games with aggressive monetization systems, especially those where the best items are available only via RMT or where progress beyond a certain point requires RMT purchases (which is not related to whether or not you can continue to play forever for free, it's a question of whether, eg., access to the best end-game instances and raid zones requires paying or not). Their thought is that games aren't a paying job for them, and those sorts of games are going to be dominated by professional players for whom the game in fact is a paying job (they either make money off of player-to-player RMT if allowed or they're employed by a plat-farming and/or power-leveling service) They're also wary of putting time and effort into developing a character in a game where their progress and ability to play with their friends may be randomly blocked by the vagaries of real-world finances (eg. your friends want to run a raid but this week your checking account just doesn't have enough in it to pay for access to that raid zone). For them it's safer to stick with games with a less aggressive monetization model, ones where they won't have those problems.

    Second, there's the question of how well the player base will stick with the game when economic times get tough. We're going through a time like that right now, for instance. I'd think that when times get tight players will abandon games that effectively mandate out-of-pocket costs (ie. have aggressive monetization models) every month more readily than fluff-only or flat-subscription games. In games where RMT gets you fluff-only items, you can cut your out-of-pocket costs quickly and decisively without seriously impacting your game experience. In flat-subscription games, you don't even have to worry about your cost level since it's going to remain steady and predictable. If you can afford to play at all, your play experience doesn't depend on how much you're spending. My experience has been that those things create a player base that finds the game a better value for the money and that'll be less likely to drop it than other things when their entertainment budget starts to get squeezed. IMO designing a game that's highly vulnerable to economic ups and downs is a more risky proposition than designing one that's attractive even in the bad times.

    • First, he doesn't address the question of the effect of monetization on player base.

      This is so important. I've played several F2P games. I have donated plenty too, but never to the ones where the main goal is obviously to keep chipping away at my bank account.

      A free game relies on the relationship between the players and the producers. If I'm just a commodity to the game then I treat the game the same---tell me what I have to pay up-front and I'll decide if it's worth it. A labor of love, a game where t

      • by Todd Knarr (15451)

        I'm not sure if I'd call something like Kingdom of Loathing "successful" in the commercial sense. It sounds a long way from being nearly as successful as say Everquest 2, which at best guesstimate brings in at least $2-2.5 million a month in revenue (and EQ2's not the most successful MMORPG out there).

  • ie, free-to-play games that actually have a recurring cost for the developer. Because how to monetize free-to-play games has been solved when the first game came out: people bought your game, and you got their money.
  • I remember in the early 90's, the SysOpp of our local BBS had a variety of level-limited varieties of what today is called a MMO (although it was only as massive as a typical football team, and only one or two of us could be online at a time). They were ASCII/ANSI based dungeons where you fought monsters and got stuff. Only 15 minutes of play per day per person please! Other people want to dial in!

    Eventually we all chipped in a few bucks (Convincing my mom to write a check to a stranger I met on the
  • Gaming profit models (Score:5, Informative)

    by peterofoz (1038508) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @03:00PM (#33257962) Homepage Journal
    From the games I seen I can draw the following profit opportunities:
    • F2P comes with a banner or side advertisement. Subscribing eliminates the ad. Example: Runescape. Aggressive would be popup ads or commercials. More subtle is ads incorporated into the game landscape. Example: SecondLife
    • In game items - cosmetic. You just have to look good in some social games. Aggressive is where you have to have a clothes item to enter an area or complete a quest where you already have a time investment. Example: SecondLife, Farmville.
    • In game items - functional. These items let you get ahead with better tools or weapons. Aggressive is where it provides a really unfair advantage. Example: Mafia Wars. Some have have items using in game cash you can earn by playing or find along with other kind of cash you have to purchase. Example Farmville, Wizard 101.
    • Time advantage. Some games have recharge timers where you can just wait 24 hours to recharge, or pay for an instant recharge. Example: Evony, Wizard 101 Pet Games
    • Content - Games offer a F2P area with access to additional content by subscription or by single cost per area. Examples: Wizard 101. Some games provide a place to put content, but you have to create it. Example: SecondLife.
    • Content + Subscription - Games that require you to purchase the content and then require a subscription for online play. Examples: Eve Online, World of Warcraft.
    • Real World purchases - Games that blend game play with real world purchases, such as buying a coffee at 7-11. Example: Mafia Wars, Farmville. Many game makers also have a store where you can buy shirts, hats, mouse pads, etc. Examples: Slashdot, Jagex.
    • Information - Hints and Helps - Games (typically puzzle quest types) where you might need a hint to complete a puzzle. You get the hints by purchasing a book or magazine, or by calling a help line that charges by the minute providing help via a menu tree. Example: Zork (classic). Newer games might use SMS Texting and let the phone company handle the micro-transactions.
    • Marketing - Games that provide free play, but sell your email address and demographic details to third parties.
    • IPO - Games that provide free play to build a 1,000,000 user base, at least until the company is sold to investors who then figure out how to monetize it.

    There's probably more, but that's the ones I've seen.

    • by Ambvai (1106941)

      I suppose this might fit into the "Content" category, but how about Guild Wars? I suppose GW is more episodic, but it doesn't quite fit within the description you've presented.

      Specifically, you pay once, at approximate new-retail-game price, for each "episode" (with one exception, which is effectively a bridge for GW2) that is a stand-alone storyline that does not require the presence of the other episodes (though it's recommended, as there are cross-synergies).

      • This could fit under my 5th topic as Progressive Content. Us old timers used to call this product upgrades.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by gamricstone (1879210)
      FYI you are not required to purchase content while playing Eve Online. All content expansions are included with your subscription cost. The first month is $5 more expensive, but it is passed off as an account activation fee. The account activation fee can be avoided if a friend gives you a PLEX (pilots license extension) or you are able to obtain one before your trial ends.

      Otherwise I thought your post was pretty accurate.

      • My bad, you are correct. I must be confusing this with another game product box I saw at a game store.
    • by hellop2 (1271166)
      Example for IPO: Counterstrike. Used to be a free mod for half-life.
  • I had a really long, intelligent-sounding post detailing two F2P companies, but it got lost when I hit the back button. Oops.

    Summary: F2P works, in both models.

    Aesthetics: People will pay real world monies for in-game aesthetic improvements. See: Guild Wars, entire economy revolves around bling with stats identical to ordinary items bought from NPCs, just shinier.

    Functionality: Silk Road Online. Either you pay to quicken the grind, get EXP, and stacks of pots/etc, or you are food for bots. Perfect World

    • by Creepy (93888)

      Interesting point, and while Guild Wars is not technically a F2P game because they have an initial entry cost, the game does have a number of F2P features (no monthly cost, an in-game store with speedups like skill unlock packs, etc). I agree the game is very fashion driven - there is no reason to get Obsidian Armor other than aesthetics, because it is extremely expensive and offers no defensive benefit over cheap armor that is 1/100000 the price. The real trick with a store is you need to sell something pl

  • by Anonymous Coward

    To my mind, Kingdom of Loathing has done a fantastic job of handling this type of problem. Though not what most people think of when they think of a F2P MMO, they have made all items that one donates for tradeable, allowing non-paying players to experience the "premium" content if they are willing to farm hard and long enough for in-game currency. So people who are willing to pay can buy extra to sell in game to people who are not willing to pay real life money for them. It's a system that could easily have

    • I think part of it is that KOL is very light on the PvP aspect, and it can be opted out of entirely without missing much. If PvP was a bigger part of the game, though, I think you'd see a much bigger gap between those who donate & those who don't.
    • by AP31R0N (723649)

      It's also why i quit KoL before finishing it.

  • Players are more likely to pay if they get more advantages out of it, but players who can't pay or can't pay enough to stay competitive won't really have an incentive to play.
    The game has to remain playable regardless of the level of monetary contributions or else it ceases to be about gameplay and turns into a bidding war. While that might give you a couple high income players, I doubt it's feasible in the long run.

    I used to play a MUD by a certain well-known developer in the MUD community. It was advertis

  • 1% of the player-base pays for 100% of the costs. The rest is profit.
  • by Renraku (518261) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @03:59PM (#33258282) Homepage

    In my opinion, all premium content should be able to be purchased with the in game currency.

    The reasoning? Some people are poor, but have a lot of time. For example, the disabled. Rather than absolutely limiting them (they're barely getting by, most likely) to low end items/gear/decor, why not just make the items available in game at a disproportionately high cost? Like for example, your 'stamina' recharge that lets you fight/gain experience/items/etc could cost half a day's worth of grinding and it could cost $2. That fancy hat might cost $10 and take you a couple of days to farm for. There's really no downside to this.

    The grinders can grind, the payers can pay. It's economic specialization. Those disabled folks can grind to their heart's content and feel like they're earning something, maybe sell it for some in game currency or *gasp* real cash in a competitive amount with the game servers. Those payers can feel awesome when they get a $0.10 discount on their Fancy Hat because they bought from the grinder.

    Nothing will make me stop playing a 'F2P' game faster than setting up obvious noticeable speed bumps to keep the poor poor and the payers on top.

    • by Ambvai (1106941)

      A few games work like that-- Gunbound had most of the items purchasable for game-currency or real money, though a few were limited to real money or game-currency only .

      Alternatively, Kingdom of Loathing, mentioned a few posts up, operates on a real money->Generic Trade Item->Item of the Month system, for which you may spend/earn game currency by trading the GTI around. For those with limited real money, you can save up game-currency to buy them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by war4peace (1628283)
      Congrats, you have just described how EVE Online works.
      I can buy a PLEX (30-day Pilot License EXtension) for real-life money and then selling in-game for in-game currency.
      So let's see...
      You are a player who doesn't really have enough money or is unwilling to spend them on a monthly subscription, but at the same time you have a lot of spare time. So you make lots of in-game currency (called ISK). I am a guy who can afford to pay the monthly fee but because of my job/real-life lack of free time, I can't af
    • There's really no downside to this.

      Except game producers are in it for one reason, and thats to make money, not to provide free entertainment. In fact the more time you spend grinding and not paying the more you are costing them, this is why things like friendster became basically worthless once it became apparent that most of the userbase was impoverished SE Asians. There's nothing amoral or unethical, flame-ey or otherwise in this statement, this is the simple fact of how things work. A nice free to play for all would be great but also uns

  • How good the game is able to hold or pull an audience. Maple story is probably one of the more successful F2P. I didn't play too far into Maple story (maybe level 40ish) so I'm not the most understanding of it, but, it seemed to be able to grip onto those kind of people who are willing to pay for F2P even though you wouldn't be able to buy a item advantage in that game. you can buy cool costumes (cool compared to what you usually have to wear...) and I think EXP boosters (but those are time savers more than
  • This is starting to get ridiculous. The term "free" means "no cost". A demo or "lite version" is only free if you don't advertise the features of the paid version, similarly, a time limited trial isn't free anymore than something with no payments for 90 days. Adware isn't free, nor is anything that you need to exchange valuable personal information for. And "buy one, get one free" is just plain nonsensical.

    Lately, commercial software providers have been really abusing the word "free". These F2P MMOR
  • Too bad the publishers out there haven't thought to actually lower subscription rates to $5-$9 per player like how much they are making from these free games. At some point someone decided $16 was a good idea, and subscriptions have dropped ever since. We don't want to re-purchase the game ever 2 to 3 months. I dont think any of us are foolish enough to believe it costs them that much for bandwidth and to maintain the server. People just don't like feeling like their getting ripped off, and any game that ch
  • Giving an unfair advantage to players who pay into a free-to-play game is at least less unethical than what EA/Dice did with Battlefield 2 (and presumably other titles - I don't know as they've lost me as a customer), which is to charge everyone for the game and then sell balance-changing upgrades to people who pay them more money.

    Fucking. Evil.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

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