F2P is the Gaming Industry’s Most Successful Scam

hanselthecaretaker

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I was going to just post this on the gaming hot take thread but found it new-topic-worthy based on principle.


$102.42 average spending cost per player for a free to play game. That number will likely continue to increase, seeing as how it was a mere $84.67 two years prior. Epic is making so much on this single title that they are using its revenue to fund their fight against Apple, because they don’t like the 30% cut they (or Valve for that matter) take for in-app purchases. The whole thing has an air of disingenuousness. I suppose offering free games on the Epic store front could be taken as some form of consolation to the consumer?
 
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gorfias

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$102.42 average spending cost per player for a free to playgame. Epic is making so much on this single title that they are using revenues to fund their fight against Apple, because they don’t like the 30% cut they (or Valve for that matter) take for in-app purchases. I suppose offering free games on the Epic store front could be take as some form of consolation to the consumer?
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. The people that are spending that $102.42: are they paying to win? That sucks, and if you know that is a thing that is happening, I would encourage you to find your gaming fun elsewhere. But if they're spending that money on fun to look at skins? That's on them. As it is, I've jumped into Fortnight, and it was some fun I didn't spend a cent on.
And paid games can have problems. I was immersed in the 1st Dragon Age and having a blast. Then I walked up to a NPC who said, "For $5 I can send you on a great adventure." I haven't played since.
 
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CriticalGaming

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$102.42 average spending cost per player for a free to playgame. Epic is making so much on this single title that they are using revenues to fund their fight against Apple, because they don’t like the 30% cut they (or Valve for that matter) take for in-app purchases. I suppose offering free games on the Epic store front could be take as some form of consolation to the consumer?
Think about how much people spend on games that are $60 and also have Microtransactions in them. Is isn't just the F2P model that's successful, it's the microtransaction/gambling model that's a big money maker period.

Which is why I don't even ***** about it anymore. The war has been lost, we lost, because the casual gamer is stupid and doesn't know any better. Additionally we are now at a point in gaming history that there are gamers in their teens that have never known an era in which games didn't have some extra shit you can buy in them. And now that it's become so normal there is no turning back outside of gambling litigation, which forced some publishers to pull back a bit but microtransactions are here to stay, it's easy free money that is basically continuous for the entire lifespan of the game.
 
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Think about how much people spend on games that are $60 and also have Microtransactions in them. Is isn't just the F2P model that's successful, it's the microtransaction/gambling model that's a big money maker period.

Which is why I don't even ***** about it anymore. The war has been lost, we lost, because the casual gamer is stupid and doesn't know any better. Additionally we are now at a point in gaming history that there are gamers in their teens that have never known an era in which games didn't have some extra shit you can buy in them. And now that it's become so normal there is no turning back outside of gambling litigation, which forced some publishers to pull back a bit but microtransactions are here to stay, it's easy free money that is basically continuous for the entire lifespan of the game.
The point is to never give up. And while there are children's and teens that don't know what it's like to get extra bonuses and games without paying for them, I'll still teach and show those that want to learn what I can show them. If they refuse to listen or the parents of those children refuse to listen, the consequences will be dire. I will tell them I told you so. You have no one to blame but yourself and you did have a choice. I remember this one mother that worked at a restaurant, and she mentioned how she had the band her son from playing fortnite and saw another games, because he took her credit cards without permission. Thankfully it never got too high, but she knows she never paid for. Not only that she took his PS4 away for a good long while. And even after he eventually got it back, she would monitor what he was buying or what he could buy.

Somebody's got to teach these youngins about smaller games or medium size games that have more value. Or the worth of actually owning a physical copy because. Because I had to tell a different mom and her son that, yeah it's nice to buy something online/digital only, but what happens when your internet goes out, the network is shut down, or you can't pay your bill. They both said "oh...". And I said back "Oh indeed". I told them be careful what you buy, cuz it might get the delisted one day too. That definitely got them thinking.
 
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Dalisclock

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And paid games can have problems. I was immersed in the 1st Dragon Age and having a blast. Then I walked up to a NPC who said, "For $5 I can send you on a great adventure." I haven't played since.
I admit I never actually beat Dragon Age 1(due to a number of reasons, my work schedule at the time being a big one) but my god, if I remember any moment in that game, it's the guy in camp who acts as a DLC salesman.

Really Bioware? Really? Then again, Bioware had already been purchased by EA so I suppose the shitty DLC practices were beginning to rub off on them by that point.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. The people that are spending that $102.42: are they paying to win? That sucks, and if you know that is a thing that is happening, I would encourage you to find your gaming fun elsewhere. But if they're spending that money on fun to look at skins? That's on them. As it is, I've jumped into Fortnight, and it was some fun I didn't spend a cent on.
And paid games can have problems. I was immersed in the 1st Dragon Age and having a blast. Then I walked up to a NPC who said, "For $5 I can send you on a great adventure." I haven't played since.
The thing is, I’m not denying the fact that it is technically “free to play”, but the larger implications at play leading to an average spending cost over 46% higher than the “premium” $70 retail games. Sure, some people might not spend anything, but are they getting the “full” experience like anyone spending $70 gets for a different game?

If I were a judge in their court case with Apple, it’s one of the first questions I’d be asking them to help render a judgment: Why are people spending an average of $102.42 and-counting on your free to play game?
 
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CriticalGaming

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The point is to never give up. And while there are children's and teens that don't know what it's like to get extra bonuses and games without paying for them, I'll still teach and show those that want to learn what I can show them. If they refuse to listen or the parents of those children refuse to listen, the consequences will be dire. I will tell them I told you so. You have no one to blame but yourself and you did have a choice. I remember this one mother that worked at a restaurant, and she mentioned how she had the band her son from playing fortnite and saw another games, because he took her credit cards without permission. Thankfully it never got too high, but she knows she never paid for. Not only that she took his PS4 away for a good long while. And even after he eventually got it back, she would monitor what he was buying or what he could buy.

Somebody's got to teach these youngins about smaller games or medium size games that have more value. Or the worth of actually owning a physical copy because. Because I had to tell a different mom and her son that, yeah it's nice to buy something only but what happens when your internet goes out, the network is shut down, or you can't pay your bill. They both said "oh...". And I said back "Oh indeed". I told them be careful what you buy, cuz it might get the delisted one day too. That definitely got them thinking.
I mean aren't we already in the "I Told You So" Phase? Microtransactions are littered in almost every third party game to release for the past 6+ years at this point.

If we are already in that phase, what can be done about it. Kids still beg their parents for V-bucks giftcards in Fortnite, or ultimate team packs. How do you stop that, or how do you convince people to stop that at this point when it's become so normallized.
 

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If we are already in that phase, what can be done about it. Kids still beg their parents for V-bucks giftcards in Fortnite, or ultimate team packs. How do you stop that, or how do you convince people to stop that at this point when it's become so normallized
Show them the videos and articles that have been collected. Show them the clips of the big execs or PR guys in court trying to flimsy justify the lootboxes and can't even keep a straight poker face. Do whatever you can. Don't try and do everything, but do what you can to spread your influence. Even if it's something small, it can help. Cuz once again, the ones that don't learn will pay the worst. They won't realize or care after the fact, until it affects them or someone they actually care about.
 

CriticalGaming

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The thing is, I’m not denying the fact that it is technically “free to play”, but the larger implications at play leading to an average spending cost over 46% higher than the “premium” $70 retail games. Sure, some people might not spend anything, but are they getting the “full” experience like anyone spending $70 gets for a different game?
This is one of the reasons why I rolled my eyes at people who complained about the 10 dollar price increase. Because the average cost people sink into a game these days is far beyond that anyway. And nobody has to continue to support or EVER support MT's in a game but they chose to do so and there aint shit you can do about it.

Hell you should see what kind of cash people throw into Mobile games these days, it's disgusting.
 

laggyteabag

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See, like many "bad" things within the industry, Free 2 Play, and Microtransactions, aren't inherently evil.

The idea of a game where the basic experience is free, but you can pay for additional content, is a pretty cool idea.

The idea of tiny additional content, sold for a tiny fee, is a pretty cool idea.

The issue with both of these things, is the people in control of these systems, which has given both of these systems a (well-deserved) bad name.

Its not surprising to see that F2P, micro-transaction laden games are insanely profitable, because these games have been purposely designed to be as exploitative as possible.

Back when Overwatch came out, a friend of mine spent £100's on loot boxes in order to get all of the seasonal event skins, because he really struggled with the idea that if he didn't get them now, he would never be able to. Of course, the next year, the events, and those skins came back - at a discounted price, no less - and he just quit the game, because he felt like the game had taken advantage of him and his wallet - and it had.

In the hands of a responsible developer, I believe that these features can enhance the experience - but more often than not, they are in the hands of people who want to rake your wallet, instead of sell you a good product. I guess that is business.
 
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CaitSeith

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See, like many "bad" things within the industry, Free 2 Play, and Microtransactions, aren't inherently evil.

The idea of a game where the basic experience is free, but you can pay for additional content, is a pretty cool idea.

The idea of tiny additional content, sold for a tiny fee, is a pretty cool idea.

The issue with both of these things, is the people in control of these systems, which has given both of these systems a (well-deserved) bad name.

Its not surprising to see that F2P, micro-transaction laden games are insanely profitable, because these games have been purposely designed to be as exploitative as possible.

Back when Overwatch came out, a friend of mine spent £100's on loot boxes in order to get all of the seasonal event skins, because he really struggled with the idea that if he didn't get them now, he would never be able to. Of course, the next year, the events, and those skins came back - at a discounted price, no less - and he just quit the game, because he felt like the game had taken advantage of him and his wallet - and it had.

In the hands of a responsible developer, I believe that these features can enhance the experience - but more often than not, they are in the hands of people who want to rake your wallet, instead of sell you a good product. I guess that is business.
Yeah, but it has been years since we reached the point when the responsible developer became the exception in F2P.
 

Piscian

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I'd like to see the feds get involved at some point. There's a government organization that battles these kinds predatory practices called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They had their teeth removed a few years ago after they went after all the major banks for a number of things like the automatic overdraft fees, but I'm hoping with things going back blue congress might re-startup the organization. On the surface you could argue that it's consumers responsibility not to get sucked into microtransactions and such, but I suspect if actual professionals did a full on data investigation they'd find that a large measure of the profits are from targeting children and teens in a way that could be prosecuted.

I don't think you'll ever be able to make microtransactions illegal, but it could be possible to make doing them so painful to manage legally that companies wouldn't interweave them into game development so readily.
 
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Dreiko

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F2p is incredible for people who would never able to afford games, which are the vast majority of players of those games, and those people also simply can't afford to pay for microtransactions, so it's not them that's spending all this money. It just also is incredibly profitable off of exploiting whales but in my view if you have so much waste money laying around it better go fund game devs as opposed to funding yacht builders and jewelers and car manufacturers and cocaine providers.


In my view, I'd only ever spend money on a f2p that I feel I got my money's worth from for free as-is, so it's more me being grateful and tipping the devs in that setting.



So yeah, it's very misleading to label this as anti-consumer when in fact it's only anti-rich dumbass. For every one dude who spends beyond his means on an f2p you have 10 thousand kids who are from poor places that can't afford to play anything that now get to experience if not top tier at least mid and upward tier gaming, which to someone who doesn't know what it is may seem unimportant but I actually know how huge it is for gaming as a medium and for those people in particular.

Basically, f2p is not perfect, and if you have some sort of gambling issues it's prolly not for you, but it's a net good by a huge margin.

In fact, the most negative aspect of f2p games has absolutely nothing to do with sucking money out of people (not directly anyhow) but rather that out of being so successful, a lot of games which would be normal games now tend to go the f2p route to make more money, and while in some cases like fate grand order it's better than just making a mediocre MMO which was their original plan, that comes at the cost of stuff like breath of fire 6 being phone games and not proper Jrpgs, and that is an actual issue.


Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. The people that are spending that $102.42: are they paying to win? That sucks, and if you know that is a thing that is happening, I would encourage you to find your gaming fun elsewhere. But if they're spending that money on fun to look at skins? That's on them. As it is, I've jumped into Fortnight, and it was some fun I didn't spend a cent on.
And paid games can have problems. I was immersed in the 1st Dragon Age and having a blast. Then I walked up to a NPC who said, "For $5 I can send you on a great adventure." I haven't played since.
There's no people spending 102 bucks, there's like 100s of people spending 0 bucks and one dude spending 20.000 bucks. So it's a net good for gaming and people who want to play games, and it also makes money off of rich fools.
 

CriticalGaming

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F2p is incredible for people who would never able to afford games, which are the vast majority of players of those games.
Are they though?

You could make the argument that F2P games are great for kids because they can play any number of games without needing to get one for their birthday or a holiday or whatever. But assuming they are playing on a console of some kind, most parents will reasonably buy games for them every once in a while. However that doesn't negate that F2P is a great way for a kid to have a variety of games to play without needing the parents to get new games for them.

The flip side to that is you expose kids to a very exploitative market that they are not mentally prepared to handle. As an adult you are ideally able to budget and control your spending on luxury items that you never go overboard.....Ideally. However kids have no concept of that for the most part. They have no concept of how much economic impact on their parent's $20 bucks a week, a month, a day, would be. The value of money is often not taught to kids very well at a young enough age. Which also leads to bad habits as adults in which there is no self control.

Then you also have the gambling aspect which further causes problems. Hell the gambling shit fucks with Adults. When you put a kid in front of it with no concept of money, then you instill problems that even if are curbbed by good parenting can lead to issues in adulthood.


And this whole argument that working adult people, can't afford games they want I just have a hard time believing. Not everyone is interested in every game that releases and if you are a working adult who pays his bills and isn't $10 away from being homeless every month, then you probably can afford the new releases when you want them. If your budget is to tight that $60-70 bucks a month would absolutely break you, then you probably shouldn't even own an expensive console, pc, television to begin with.

Do I believe that people are living on that tight of a budget? I'm sure. But that has to be such a huge minority of gamers that it isn't a relevant statistic.

Hell the very success of F2P alone proves that people aren't playing F2P games because they can't afford full priced games because they are spending WAY more money on a F2P game than they ever would on big budget titles.
 
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Dreiko

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Are they though?

You could make the argument that F2P games are great for kids because they can play any number of games without needing to get one for their birthday or a holiday or whatever. But assuming they are playing on a console of some kind, most parents will reasonably buy games for them every once in a while. However that doesn't negate that F2P is a great way for a kid to have a variety of games to play without needing the parents to get new games for them.

The flip side to that is you expose kids to a very exploitative market that they are not mentally prepared to handle. As an adult you are ideally able to budget and control your spending on luxury items that you never go overboard.....Ideally. However kids have no concept of that for the most part. They have no concept of how much economic impact on their parent's $20 bucks a week, a month, a day, would be. The value of money is often not taught to kids very well at a young enough age. Which also leads to bad habits as adults in which there is no self control.

Then you also have the gambling aspect which further causes problems. Hell the gambling shit fucks with Adults. When you put a kid in front of it with no concept of money, then you instill problems that even if are curbbed by good parenting can lead to issues in adulthood.


And this whole argument that working adult people, can't afford games they want I just have a hard time believing. Not everyone is interested in every game that releases and if you are a working adult who pays his bills and isn't $10 away from being homeless every month, then you probably can afford the new releases when you want them. If your budget is to tight that $60-70 bucks a month would absolutely break you, then you probably shouldn't even own an expensive console, pc, television to begin with.

Do I believe that people are living on that tight of a budget? I'm sure. But that has to be such a huge minority of gamers that it isn't a relevant statistic.

Hell the very success of F2P alone proves that people aren't playing F2P games because they can't afford full priced games because they are spending WAY more money on a F2P game than they ever would on big budget titles.
Nah most of these games are playable on old computers on the browser or on a free program that emulates iphones. Most poor kids aren't playing genshin impact on their ps5.


Also in some places like Brazil as a notorious example there's insane tax on consoles, so a ps4 is like 2000 bucks, and games are also more expensive there too in general, while the wages are actually proportionally much lower than those of america. Basically in a lot of places you just buy a console and hack it and only play pirated games cause it's all so expensive only the elites can afford them. I say better teach people to just not spend on microtransactions than teaching them to steal and pirate games as a run of the mill thing.



Basically, it's not even 60-70 bucks for a game, it's more like 100-150 bucks, and in a country where your monthly wage is like 500 and you have to actually live off of that, you can't really fit in games unless you buy like one game a year or something. I remember back in the day when pokemon leaf green was new (a GBA game) it cost like 65 euros to get it (80ish bucks), and GBA games went for what, 30-40 bucks here? It's pretty nuts lol.
 
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CriticalGaming

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Nah most of these games are playable on old computers on the browser or on a free program that emulates iphones. Most poor kids aren't playing genshin impact on their ps5.


Also in some places like Brazil as a notorious example there's insane tax on consoles, so a ps4 is like 2000 bucks, and games are also more expensive there too in general, while the wages are actually proportionally much lower than those of america. Basically in a lot of places you just buy a console and hack it and only play pirated games cause it's all so expensive only the elites can afford them. I say better teach people to just not spend on microtransactions than teaching them to steal and pirate games as a run of the mill thing.



Basically, it's not even 60-70 bucks for a game, it's more like 100-150 bucks, and in a country where your monthly wage is like 500 and you have to actually live off of that, you can't really fit in games unless you buy like one game a year or something. I remember back in the day when pokemon leaf green was new (a GBA game) it cost like 65 euros to get it (80ish bucks), and GBA games went for what, 30-40 bucks here? It's pretty nuts lol.
We all know about the higher prices of things in other countries and I wont pretend to understand the economic differences.

I dont know the earnings differences in different places where things are way more expensive on paper like Australia or New Zealand, because while a game costs $110+ dollars I don't know how that difference plays out in someone's typical salary. So I wont.

As for the poor countries like Brazil in which only the super rich have consoles, I think you'd have to rule them out as well, because your statement implied that only well off people would even have the means to play any video games free or otherwise anyway.

What I will say is that, I don't believe that games are priced out of the market in which they exist. So while those GBA games might have cost you 65 euros, they were clearly priced within reason for most people in those locations otherwise they wouldn't have sold and they would have lowered the price because that's how business works.

So in other words, I feel like my point still stands.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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I'd like to see the feds get involved at some point. There's a government organization that battles these kinds predatory practices called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They had their teeth removed a few years ago after they went after all the major banks for a number of things like the automatic overdraft fees, but I'm hoping with things going back blue congress might re-startup the organization. On the surface you could argue that it's consumers responsibility not to get sucked into microtransactions and such, but I suspect if actual professionals did a full on data investigation they'd find that a large measure of the profits are from targeting children and teens in a way that could be prosecuted.

I don't think you'll ever be able to make microtransactions illegal, but it could be possible to make doing them so painful to manage legally that companies wouldn't interweave them into game development so readily.
I’d like to see the figure of how many parents are actually monitoring what their kids spend on stuff. I know it’s not like taking money *directly* from kids, but the games are designed to be enticing, and there is an option to just keep the credit card on file with a subscription. I’m not sure what kind of systems are in place within the payment structure to prevent spending without consent…

It’s seems like the same principle as selling drugs to teenagers, only the “drugs” here are digital downloads. The stuff is designed to be eagerly sought after, and seems to be ripe for the whole song and dance of “but all my friends have it, so I need it too!”
 
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Piscian

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I’d like to see the figure of how many parents are actually monitoring what their kids spend on stuff. I know it’s not like taking money *directly* from kids, but the games are designed to be enticing, and there is an option to just keep the credit card on file with a subscription. I’m not sure what kind of systems are in place within the payment structure to prevent spending without consent…

It’s seems like the same principle as selling drugs to teenagers, only the “drugs” here are digital downloads. The stuff is designed to be eagerly sought after, and seems to be ripe for the whole song and dance of “but all my friends have it, so I need it too!”
I think parents get treated unfairly in these scenarios. It's already difficult keeping track of your kids as it is. The people who will demand perfect responsibility from parents are the same people get in accidents or lose their car keys occasionally like any normal person. A friend of mine accidently left his google account logged in on one of their PCs and his 6 and 8 year olds got onto to some game and blew a $1000 on microtransactions before his bank locked his account. While he managed to get most of it refunded he still took a hit. This is an engineer were talking about too, not grandma babysitting. Dude struggles on a daily basis to buy his kids digital stuff, which is everything now, while still locking them out with parental controls which distributors have only added over the years after massive backlash. They both make it incredibly enticing to buy every digitally, but don't provide smart counter-measures until the government cracks down. It's a total racket.
 
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Gergar12

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Didn't Jim Sterling say that kids were bullied at school for having the default skin? Isn't social hierarchies wonderful?

Also, the problem with free-to-play live service games is that they fill a market for people who don't think about value and after-purchase cost.

If you buy Destiny 2(not exactly the best game, but I digress) and keep buying DLC after DLC you spend a lot for the game, but if you spend no money for the initial f2p game, but keep spending on skins, vehicles, or rides, weapons, armors, and etc, you spent too much, and more then you would have if you brought Destiny 2, and even more then you would have for single-player games with no DLC.

Also if you spend lots of time just playing a game so you don't have to spend money you just gave the game your hard earn time.

You lose either way, and I say that as someone who has spent around 200 on Genshin Impact. (not my best decision, but they filled multiple market vacancies)
 
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meiam

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Don't those mostly come from a few whales that literally spend thousands while most user pay nothing? Iirc fortnite doesn't sell power and I never cared for cosmetic so if some people want to spend boatload of money on skin means I can play games for free, I'm okay with that. See it as charity if you want.

I've played plenty of F2P game and I've never spent a dime on them, and F2P means competitive games can have a longer life and don't suffer as much from empty server syndrome.