Free to Play – PC versus Console Gaming

18 Nov 2012 by Pandamanana, 2 Comments »

Free to Play has become a hot topic of discussion within the video game community within the last four years with many good arguments to support each side. After being on a MarkeeDragon live show on youtube on the subject of free to play, I have a few important questions to ask.


Of course F2P is beneficial for most companies, as it brings in new players and attention, but it is not without its negative side-effects. My main problem with the Free to Play movement is that it encourages players to expect games for free without ever giving any money to the game developers. No other entertainment medium is expected to give away entertainment content for free without any expectation for compensation. You don’t go to a movie theater, watch a movie for free and then decide not to pay for the ticket once the movie is over. You don’t go to a bookstore, read a book in it’s entirety and put it back on the shelf without paying a dime. In fact, it is only PC gamers that expect games to be given away for free. Console gamers have been paying a large amount of money for their games for a long time now. Paying $60 every month is not uncommon for a console gamer, as a lot of good games come out over a year and almost all console games are $60 USD on release and rarely are reduced in prices until many months later.

What makes PC gaming any different? Nothing, except for the attitude of the community. Although Free to Play is an interesting payment model, it is a very socialist system, in which a few players pay for the enjoyment of many, as it is the players that pay for things in Free to Play games that keep them economically viable. Now, that isn’t necessarily a problem, as it is a mutually beneficial system, in which paying players pay for the games development and free to play players give the paying players someone to play with, but it isn’t a necessarily fair and balanced system. If you like a game, pay for it. Not paying for games is possibly the worst thing you can do for the video game industry, especially if you enjoy it, as it halts development and influences development trends towards models that are more economically viable.

Now, PC gamers have been arguably paying less than console gamers on the whole for games for a long time now, especially thanks to the growing popularity of digital distribution networks like Steam, so having them complain about paying for video games seems very backwards. For instance, Dark Souls released for $60 on PS3 and X-Box 360 about a year ago and a few months ago Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition was released on Steam for $40, which included the DLC that console gamers had to pay for separately. Plenty of PC gamers are released for under $20 USD, which is very rare for non-PSN or XBLA releases on console.

Free to Play has it’s benefits, but all of those benefits are fulfilled by simply having trials for players to test games before purchasing them. No company should have to give away their games for free to gain the attention of the mass market. Game developers work too damn hard and put too much damn time into their games for the gaming community to demand their games for free. Get off your couch, get a job and pay for your video games.

Here’s a video on Free to Play that I, I hope, better explains my position on F2P

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  1. Plutoknox says:

    hey, i agree with waht you say, but i think the most important point is that companies actually make A TON of money with F2P, more than they ever would with P2P games. If you look at Riot, they got HUGE because of League of Legends business model, it all depends on how the developers involve it into their product.

    • Pandamanana says:

      Yes, of course, but this is less about the successes or failures of Free to Play and more about the mindset of wanting something for nothing. Thanks for the comment, though!

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