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View Full Version : The Advent of Free to Play and constant micro transactions in $60 games. end of gaming as we know it ?



WCP
03-15-2013, 04:40 PM
Seems like gaming is about to go down a very dark road. So far, all the various DRM things and everything, I've learned to live with all the bullcrap, and basically just avoid it.



Now, with these new consoles coming out (PS4 and Infinity), I fully expect free-to-play and microtransactions to seamlessly be built into virtually every single game next-gen. It's going to be a standard "feature". There will be specific "free-to-play" games, and then there will be the big budget $60 or even $70 games. Even though these games will be full priced, they will be loaded with opportunities to spend small amounts of real world money. Everywhere we turn, we're going to be given the opportunity to "upgrade" for a small fee. Yeah, yeah.. I know, we've all seen this before. They're already doing this on current gen systems. What's the big deal?

The big deal, is that on current gen systems, to buy things, they have to take you out of the experience, and you have to go thru a process to get stuff. With the PS4 and the Infinity, the OS is going to be designed to specifically allow for in game purchases to be completely seamless and unobtrusive. Buying things with real world money will be as simple as pushing a button, with no need to leave the game itself.

Then we have the whole free-to-play phenomenon. Free to play is being tried here and there on current gen, but it's going to be a much bigger part of the program on PS4 and Infinity. We already know that if you value your "time", nothing about these games is free. All kinds of various psychological tricks are used to try to get us to part with our hard earned pesos. The idea of punishing the consumer, and irritating the consumer so much, that they will be forced to cough up money, to end the annoyance, it's a strange business model. Seemingly... it works, because tons of publishers and developers are using that technique. When it arrives in full force, with the arrival of next-gen, it's going to get really interesting to see how the huge console based gaming public reacts. Sure, you can say they all have iphones right now, and they've already been exposed to this, but there's something about it happening in full force on the big gaming console that is going to be unique.


Of course, we can also mix in the whole "always-online" requirements, that games, and maybe even consoles themselves... will have. That's a whole nuther ball of wax... We all know what recently happened with Sim City. I don't know man... things are looking kinda of bleak for the future of gaming, at least when it comes to the normal comfort level I used to have when playing games. It used to be, that you would buy a cartridge in the store, you'd get home and plug the thing in, and it would work, and everything was cool. You might say it was...


A elegant method, for a more civilized age

The 1 2 P
03-15-2013, 07:31 PM
The big deal, is that on current gen systems, to buy things, they have to take you out of the experience, and you have to go thru a process to get stuff. With the PS4 and the Infinity, the OS is going to be designed to specifically allow for in game purchases to be completely seamless and unobtrusive. Buying things with real world money will be as simple as pushing a button, with no need to leave the game itself.

But the key thing to remember is that all of these microtransactions are still going to be "optional". So if you don't want them then don't buy them. Just because the transactions will be easier to make next gen doesn't mean you have to start making them. Just keep enjoying your $60(or whatever amount you pay for it) game the same way you are now.


Then we have the whole free-to-play phenomenon. Free to play is being tried here and there on current gen, but it's going to be a much bigger part of the program on PS4 and Infinity. We already know that if you value your "time", nothing about these games is free. All kinds of various psychological tricks are used to try to get us to part with our hard earned pesos. The idea of punishing the consumer, and irritating the consumer so much, that they will be forced to cough up money, to end the annoyance, it's a strange business model. Seemingly... it works, because tons of publishers and developers are using that technique. When it arrives in full force, with the arrival of next-gen, it's going to get really interesting to see how the huge console based gaming public reacts. Sure, you can say they all have iphones right now, and they've already been exposed to this, but there's something about it happening in full force on the big gaming console that is going to be unique.

The only free to play game I've played is Happy Wars and I honestly have never even seen a pay screen. You can get extra armor and gear just by playing the game. And to me thats the right way to do free to play, when they aren't pushing the potential upgrade purchases down your throat around every single corner every five minutes. Happy Wars isn't the greatest game but it's pretty fun when played with friends and you really never feel like you are being nickel and dimed. Hopefully future free to play games follow that model but I know there are already ones out there that don't.



Of course, we can also mix in the whole "always-online" requirements, that games, and maybe even consoles themselves... will have. That's a whole nuther ball of wax... We all know what recently happened with Sim City.

Yeah this does indeed suck, not only for people with subpar online connections but also for those of us who get weird power outages when there aren't any storms in the area. As a whole, I don't know how gamers can fight back against this issue. Sure it's easy to say "just don't buy it" but it would take literally millions of people refusing to buy these games to get it thru publishers heads that this is not what we want. The good news is that Sony and Nintendo have not announced an always-online requirement for their next(current for Nintendo) systems so as long as Microsoft follows suit we should be ok on that front for another gen......atleast for now.


I don't know man... things are looking kinda of bleak for the future of gaming, at least when it comes to the normal comfort level I used to have when playing games.

As the saying goes: "adapt or die because change is inevitable". It doesn't have to be that serious though. When the day comes that video game consoles no longer satisfy your gaming needs than just simply move on from them and play stuff from your backlog. Problem solved. Or atleast thats what I'm going to do.


It used to be, that you would buy a cartridge in the store, you'd get home and plug the thing in, and it would work, and everything was cool. You might say it was...


A elegant method, for a more civilized age

Or you might say it was two generations ago:wink 2:

recorderdude
03-15-2013, 08:05 PM
Personally, as far as a *good* F2P model goes, I'd liken it very much to collecting. This especially applies to TF2. You can play it normally and get normal, small rewards in exchange for large investments of time in gameplay that ends up being the meat of the experience, and compliments the reward well, or you can buy what you want immediately for a greater monetary investment and have instant gratification. Heck, you can even take a gamble with crates and keys, if you're that type. With the TF2 trading post and even the ability to sell TF2 items for steam wallet money, it's become a hobby within a hobby, and Gaben's a goddamn genius for making it work so well.

The only thing I can NEVER defend is on-disc DLC and always-online single player. Such models are formed from nothing but pure greed and foolishness.

RARusk
03-15-2013, 08:38 PM
Tethering (Always-On-DRM) needs to be made illegal, period. I will never support any console or game that has this. If I end up with a Tethered game or console then I will do everything in my power to remove this insidious DRM.

If you want me to purchase your game or console then you will not use Tethering. If you do not want me to break your game or console to remove Tethering then you will not use it. End of discussion. I will NOT be convinced otherwise. Ever.

If the future of gaming insists on going down this road then I will get off at the next exit ramp and go back to my current and old gaming consoles. I have tons of games that I haven't even touched and I can spend years happily going over them while I watch in amusement as the large publishing conglomerates collapse under the weight of their own greed along with the consoles that support this shit.

Cornelius
03-15-2013, 08:56 PM
It is funny to me that all this stuff just encourages me even more to be a late adopter. Both console and games games. Wait for the goty. Wait for a deal with games off Craigslist. Wait for users reviews. Wait for patches. Wait wait wait. Of course, this is the opposite of what the industry wants, but seems to be the rational response to their practices. Maybe I'm just too old and don't feel the "new is best" pressure anymore. Probably par for this forum. :-)

Ed Oscuro
03-15-2013, 09:54 PM
I've been fooling around with some F2P games lately (Gardens of Time on Google+, Bloons TD 5 / Bloons TD Battles, Realm of the Mad God) and many of them do pretty well. There are often subtle (or not-so-subtle) nudges to save time by buying premium stuff, but many of them let you do everything without paying, it just takes a little longer and may even give you a richer experience. Out of the games on my list, only the Bloons games really nail this - the premiums are actually useless for the most part (IMO) and handicap good play, but people buying them help subsidize my playing. I don't mind watching ads either, since nobody watches TV anymore...

Bad F2P designs not only make it more challenging to play without buying stuff, they make it much more tedious (Gardens of Time is right on the edge here, and may people will simply not care to tend their gardens or buy / sell decorations or log in repeatedly over days to open new scenes) or foster black markets (Realm of the Mad God suffered from this when I played - I left when they radically altered the method of grinding good items and put people even more strongly in competition with overleveled players).

I think that a good F2P design allows people to make their mark on the game in a personal way, like setting some private touch to their own playing area / base / whatever, instead of locking off content or setting up really complicated fee schedules (D&D Online had this problem when I played; most all the cool stuff was pay-only, and you could either pay out the nose for an unlimited pass, or get dollar-and-dollared opening things individually). I don't think that all premiums need to be cosmetic, but premiums shouldn't hamper the gameplay experience, especially in a competitive game (or one that's inadverdently P2P, like ROTMG).

Frankie_Says_Relax
03-15-2013, 10:00 PM
I'm pretty deeply immersed in modern gaming and while always-on DRM is a problematic prospect that does tend to occasionally unintentionally punish rights-abiding users, I think you're crying doom and gloom over free-to-play and micro-transactions without looking at the positives.

The free-to-play model comes in several different flavors.

100% free to play with advertisements.
Play to a certain level and pay a fee to unlock more levels.
Play as much as you can but level-cap your character.
Timed daily usage of certain aspects of game play.
..amongst other things.

But the key being that the end-user can PLAY the game ... for FREE.

In some cases there are one-price unlock-all purchases that are equivalent to what we're asked to pay at retail for a full game, the difference being that some of those games wouldn't otherwise have full-featured demos.

Also, in a lot of FTP games, if you're comfortable with whatever the limitations are, you can have a really full-featured experience without paying a dime, ever.

I've put about 3 years of daily gameplay into Smurf Village on iOS (my personal Farmville alternative) and I've never spent a penny where the thing is absolutely littered with microtransactions.

And games like Dead Space 3 have a shit-ton of microtransactions, but from the discussions I've had with people who have completed the game, those are all just unlock purcases for things that you can alternately grind and loot-raid in the game.

I'm all for companies giving us options where those options are genuinely optional. If I want to grind my ass off to get a specific weapon, OR if I'm feeling frustrated or apathetic, drop a dollar for it, that's a choice that all of us should have.

Is this all the end of gaming as we know it? Well, if "gaming" as "we know it" is the brick/mortar retail and physical media formulas that predate everything before this last generation, then yes. The days of having to drive to a store, buy a game, drive home, put it in your console's drive tray or cartridge slot, play that game and take it out when your're finished are probably going to be severely diminished. So says the success of Steam and XBLA and PSN and Google Play and Apple's App Store.

A lot of studios simply can't subsist on develop and produce a game and then sell it. Games need to have avenues to continue to bring in money, it's up to these companies to figure out ways that it won't be insulting to our intelligence and will ultimately be beneficial to the gaming experience. I'm sure it's possible.

Like Mr. Dylan says: The times, they are a-changin, but seriously, some of it is going to be different, but it's not all doom and gloom.

WCP
03-15-2013, 10:01 PM
If the future of gaming insists on going down this road then I will get off at the next exit ramp and go back to my current and old gaming consoles. I have tons of games that I haven't even touched and I can spend years happily going over them while I watch in amusement as the large publishing conglomerates collapse under the weight of their own greed along with the consoles that support this shit.


Wow...

Well said man.... well said...

duffmanth
03-16-2013, 09:24 AM
Tethering (Always-On-DRM) needs to be made illegal, period. I will never support any console or game that has this. If I end up with a Tethered game or console then I will do everything in my power to remove this insidious DRM.

If you want me to purchase your game or console then you will not use Tethering. If you do not want me to break your game or console to remove Tethering then you will not use it. End of discussion. I will NOT be convinced otherwise. Ever.

If the future of gaming insists on going down this road then I will get off at the next exit ramp and go back to my current and old gaming consoles. I have tons of games that I haven't even touched and I can spend years happily going over them while I watch in amusement as the large publishing conglomerates collapse under the weight of their own greed along with the consoles that support this shit.

Im right there with you on this topic. If this is the direction that the video game is heading, they can eat shit. It's bad enough that 99% of console games aren't worth anywhere near $60, but now publishers/developers are going to nickel and dime gamers for a new costume, or a new car etc. I'm half tempted to boycott the next generation of consoles and play the dozens of games that I have and haven't even played yet.

Zthun
03-16-2013, 04:30 PM
Honestly, the FTP model is great for MMORPGs. It removes the pressure for me to have to play all the time to get my $15 worth per month, and when I do pay for something, I'm actually paying for the items/new content I want, rather than the privilege of access to attempt to retrieve said items.

However, for a single player experience, it wouldn't be so bad if the game itself is FTP and you pay for only the features you want that would add up to $60 max. Unfortunately, I will bet that future games will be $60 just for the base experience and the majority of the content will be disk locked. This road sucks, and if the gaming industry does go this route, I'll be joining all the other posters who will just stick with the past generations.

Games today are too ambitious. This is going to collapse eventually because entitled gamers want everything, and there's no way for publishers to reasonably fund stuff like this. Development costs are so high - you look at the simplest of games, and there's still around 10-20 people that worked on programming alone. That can be up to $2 million dollars right there in development costs, much more if the game took more than a year to develop. I can't blame companies like EA for sticking with the same old shit. One misstep and poof - they're 2 billion dollars in the hole.

I honestly hope the gaming industry does crash. A complete reset is desperately needed and I want so badly for all the new generation entitled gamer punks to be put in their place and STFU.