Home Gaming Should all multiplayer games be free-to-play?

Should all multiplayer games be free-to-play?

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52

Free to play

Over on Reddit, people are debating the merits of Evolve’s pricing system. Rather than having players buy a full price game, plus DLC, they are questioning why it wasn’t made as a free-to-play experience. Does this apply to all multiplayer games?

Based on the argument on Reddit, Evolve could be built similar to Warframe or League of Legends. Maps could be free, as well as a starting set of hunters. Thereafter, various hunters and monsters could be free on a weekly rotation. If you like a character (or want a special skin or other cosmetic upgrade), you can spend real money to own them forever.

Similarly, Destiny could have also followed a free-to-play model. Let anyone play, but if you want that really cool gear and don’t want to wait to find the necessary things to make it, just buy it with real money. Of course, this can also become a pay-to-win model, but with careful balancing similar to what they do in Warframe, it can simply be a way of speeding up the process rather than ensuring victory.

Evolve behemoth

I am not a fan of free-to-play games. Sure, they work in some instances – League of Legends and Warframe are both excellent and totally free games that earn a ridiculous amount of money thanks to gamers wanting shiny things faster. However, as soon as a game is free-to-play, it loses a certain value proposition. We all simply have a different view of free games compared to paid games. Plus, I don’t like the idea that I will have to keep forking out money over and over again for the same game. Sure, it sucks that Evolve’s hunters and monsters that the team is currently working on for the future aren’t available in the core game package. However, by the time they’re done building these characters, I will be so proficient at my monsters of choice that it will be nice to mix things up with some new options. I don’t mind paying for a game and season pass, as long as once that’s done, I know that I’m going to get everything. I hate the idea of getting hit up for cash every month or two, which would be my fear with a free-to-play games – the prompts to spend money would be constant.

I think multiplayer gamers are more used to this than those who typically play alone. Multiplayer often has people dishing out cash for fancy emblems and other micro transactions, where as these kinds of cosmetic changes aren’t as important for those who play by themselves.

I personally don’t mind Evolve’s payment model, provided that the game lives up to expectations. However, I would have written it off from the start if it were a free-to-play game. Am I behind the times? Should all multiplayer games be free-to-play? Or does that devalue games in a time when they are already steadily losing value?

Last Updated: January 21, 2015

52 Comments

  1. Jaded_Reprobate

    January 21, 2015 at 15:05

    As long as i have to pay a PS Plus subscription, no multiplayer game will ever be free 2 play for me

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      January 21, 2015 at 15:23

      Didn’t need to have a PS+ account on Ps3 to play MP games. Now you do on PS4 and they celebrate the increase in PS+ account subscribers. That’s a bit off.

      Reply

    • Brady miaau

      January 21, 2015 at 15:33

      But free games? And, ultimately, someone has to pay for the upkeep of lines, servers and so forth.

      Reply

      • Jaded_Reprobate

        January 21, 2015 at 15:41

        i agree… but how much of my money that i pay Sony for MP goes to the upkeep for the lines and servers at say activison?

        Reply

        • Brady miaau

          January 21, 2015 at 16:24

          Ah, yes. A good point. Black box and all that.

          Reply

  2. Raptor Rants A Lot

    January 21, 2015 at 15:05

    ABsolutely not. Free to play leads to far larger microtransactions than you would if paying base price for a game.

    Reply

    • ToshZA

      January 21, 2015 at 15:16

      Would you say up to 7 times more?

      Reply

      • Shas 'O Norm

        January 21, 2015 at 15:23

        Ehehehehehehe

        Reply

      • Sgt. M

        January 21, 2015 at 15:59

        Come on guys even the bible says “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you 7 times in the day, and turns to you 7 times, saying, β€˜I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

        Reply

        • ToshZA

          January 21, 2015 at 16:05

          How do you forgive a random.org script?

          Reply

        • Quo Vadis?

          January 22, 2015 at 09:07

          “How many times should we forgive, the disciples asked Jesus. Verily, He said unto them even 70 times 7….”

          Reply

          • Sgt. M

            January 22, 2015 at 11:29

            Clearly 7 is an issue *smh*

      • Raptor Rants A Lot

        January 22, 2015 at 08:52

        *dies a little more inside*

        Reply

  3. UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    January 21, 2015 at 15:07

    Some are better suited for it than others. Like DOTA2 can survive on it, but a game like WoW has so much you need to admin I think a subscription is needed there.

    Reply

  4. Ryanza

    January 21, 2015 at 15:09

    A video game with multiplayer added to it, should be free. If there are servers in your country then a price can be charged. If there are no servers in your country then multiplayer should be free (p2p).

    In South Africa all multiplayer games should be free.

    And free-to-play can just fuck off. If it’s truly free then stop asking for money and credit card details.

    Don’t Support DRM.

    Reply

    • Uberutang

      January 21, 2015 at 15:14

      Erm, plenty of local servers in SA mate. perhaps not on some platforms, but on the one I play one… plenty.

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        January 21, 2015 at 15:18

        Surely not PC πŸ˜›

        Reply

      • Ryanza

        January 21, 2015 at 15:36

        I didn’t say there weren’t any.

        Reply

  5. Blood Emperor Trevor

    January 21, 2015 at 15:09

    I don’t think it matters which route they choose as long as they’re fair & don’t rip anyone off. The latter is a death blow to any MP game.

    Reply

  6. ElimiNathan

    January 21, 2015 at 15:10

    “We all simply have a different view of free games compared to paid games.” Think you summed it up pretty well there for me. Our perception changes when we get a game for free. It feels……..cheap

    Reply

    • Cyberats

      January 21, 2015 at 19:09

      Go back to base price. That was the best.

      Reply

  7. konfab aka derp

    January 21, 2015 at 15:14

    Some games do it very well. Like war-thunder and quake live. Some don’t. As long as the game if fun for people who don’t pay, and even more fun for people who do, I don’t really care either way.

    ME3’s multiplayer is a good model in my opinion (even through it is more of a bonus than F2P). Everyone can reach the same level without much difficulty, no matter whether they pay or not. Paying just makes getting there quicker.

    Reply

  8. Hammersteyn

    January 21, 2015 at 15:16

    Planetside 2 is another shining example of how F2P should be done. But it still has problems with bugs and servers from time to time which is forgivable in a sense seeing how it’s free. Plus you can experience everything except dressing up your soldier without spending a cent.
    Now looking at Destiny. Constant server errors. Small maps and massive grinding for little reward. Relying too much on DLC for replayability and charging consumers for DLC on top of the $60 for the main game that’s small and lacking to being with. Plus requiring a XBOX Live or PS+ subscription. It would seem that we were sold a lemon.

    Reply

    • konfab aka derp

      January 21, 2015 at 15:18

      And you bought it πŸ˜€

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        January 21, 2015 at 15:19

        I did and I am draining every little bit out of it to get my moneys worth. Fortunately it’s a ton of fun playing with friends. It’s just that what we got for what we paid, it feels a bit disappointing

        Reply

  9. Ghost In The Rift

    January 21, 2015 at 15:17

    If i buy a game i dont want to be charged double for MP, only if they keep adding content of value will i pay a fee once, for that content.

    Reply

  10. Uberutang

    January 21, 2015 at 15:19

    I have no issue with F2P. heck some of my favourite games are F2P (STO, neverwinter, AA PG,GR P, etc).

    The way they charge for things need to be balanced and there should never be a p2w option.

    I will never pay for a sub to play games. So unless they make the MMO etc F2P, it will never see a dollar from me.

    What worked really well for Bohemia Interactive is to make the ‘demo’ MP free to play. You can join your mates in Arma2, but you cannot load certain advanced Graphics options and you cannot use mods etc.

    That way they have a system that allows them to release DLC, but never fracture their user base.

    Reply

  11. Wyzak

    January 21, 2015 at 15:19

    It’s a bubble that will burst in a few years. I simply don’t spend any money on most F2P games. On the exception ones I spend about a quarter of what I would normally spend on such a game if it was an outright purchase.

    Reply

    • Uberutang

      January 21, 2015 at 15:20

      Yes but the ‘pool’ is far bigger. $1 from 60 people is still $60.

      Reply

      • Wyzak

        January 21, 2015 at 15:25

        For now… But 60 people being burnt on a daily basis will eventually learn from their mistakes.

        Reply

        • Uberutang

          January 21, 2015 at 15:27

          How are you burned by spending money in a F2P game? I am sure there are rip off games out there also, but I have never felt done in by buying a specific uniform or space ship etc in Star Trek Online? Total spend over 2 years $20. I am happy, dev is happy, game continues to grow and get new content.

          Reply

          • Wyzak

            January 21, 2015 at 15:31

            Some people spend hundreds of dollars in games unknowingly, or the kids rack up enormous bills before the parents realize. Look up the iTunes Free to play saga, and the court case that followed.

    • Matthew Holliday

      January 21, 2015 at 15:50

      its a reliable option to counter piracy.
      even pirates will buy hats for a f2p.
      they get the income from those who would otherwise pirate the game.

      its a reliable source of income, rather than payinga 60$ total, once off, they get constant gold.
      and if you look at totals, the majority of people who do buy hats, will have spent more than 60$
      more profitable in the long term.

      Reply

      • Wyzak

        January 21, 2015 at 15:58

        I can only speak for myself, but I spend less money in F2P games than in normal ones.

        Reply

  12. Uberutang

    January 21, 2015 at 15:24

    Currently 761 002 people are playing Dota 2. A free to play game. That is a lot of potential hats to sell…

    http://store.steampowered.com/stats/

    Reply

  13. hairyknees

    January 21, 2015 at 15:25

    Header WIN! πŸ˜›

    I’m sold on free-to-play… IF done right.

    Dota 2 still has the best model in my opinion. Everything is free out of the box, but it’s the cosmetics that make Valve their money. I can’t even count how much cash I have spent on the title, and I have ZERO regrets, especially considering that I have received hundreds upon hundreds of hours of game time.

    Next up is League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm. Their idea is to have a rotating hero/champion system that gets changed weekly. The nice thing about that is that it gives newcomers a bite sized hero pool to focus on, as well as the opportunity to test them out before coughing up money. If these players don’t have the cash to spend, they can always grind in-game currency to purchase what they want. Other players with cash can cough up for new heroes and/or cosmetics if they wish.

    Warframe is a winner too in my eyes. EVERYTHING (or at least 99% of the items) can be grinded and farmed in game. Yes it takes time, but the game is so fun that it feels like a huge reward when you finally build or construct that item you’ve been saving for. I didn’t have to spend any cash, but I did because the game has given me dozens of hours of joy, so I felt like giving something back to the developers.

    With regards to Evolve, I feel their system is a bit meh. I don’t see a problem with having to pay for new monsters/hunters, I just feel a system akin to LoL or Heroes of the Storm would have worked better. A rotating roster (especially have they have a ton of new monsters and hunters planned) may have worked better, and even made them more money in the process. I think people are getting ticked off because they have to pay an entry fee AND extra.

    I HAVE NO IDEA IF ANY OF THAT MADE SENSE

    *flies away*

    P.S I have played the above mentioned games (especially Dota… DUH) a fair amount, so I’d like to think I have some kind of idea of what I’m talking about when it comes to F2P πŸ˜›

    Reply

    • ToshZA

      January 21, 2015 at 15:29

      • hairyknees

        January 21, 2015 at 15:32

        My brain? The bridge that is our friendship? People’s eyes after reading my comment? πŸ˜›

        Reply

        • ToshZA

          January 21, 2015 at 15:33

          Eh, you can decide, I’m off to go buy more dota items. XD

          Reply

          • hairyknees

            January 21, 2015 at 15:36

            Oh right… it’s combustion. The friction of my money against my wallet as it flies out to be spent on those F%$#ing chests! At least we get full sets now πŸ˜› remember those good ol’ one item per $2.50 days? MADNESS!!!

            I’ve also come to accept that I will cough up the premium fee should a Puck arcana ever appear 😑

          • ToshZA

            January 21, 2015 at 15:43

            Yeah the chests now are insta-buy, the one-item chests made me hesitate. Saying that, I got my ward (that frozen formation one based on AA) from my first ever chest, and I’ve used it ever since. I love it.

            So far I’ve gotten some of the rare drops, including that Lycan set (which is so sexy), but never an unusual courier.

            I am still planning on getting that Legion arcana tbh. It’s only around $15 on the market.

    • Blood Emperor Trevor

      January 21, 2015 at 15:30

      I’m quite pleased that I haven’t bought a single frame or weapon in Warframe with platinum. Everything bought & paid for with fun. It’s a nice sense of accomplishment.

      Reply

      • hairyknees

        January 21, 2015 at 15:31

        Likewise. Only reason I bought platinum was for extra slots and an extra colour pack or two πŸ™‚ never bought any weapons or frames!

        Reply

        • Blood Emperor Trevor

          January 21, 2015 at 15:35

          At 75% off too from the daily reward hehe

          Reply

          • hairyknees

            January 21, 2015 at 15:36

            You know it πŸ˜‰

  14. CAE9872

    January 21, 2015 at 16:40

    I don’t get why so many people get so upset over F2P. If you don’t like it don’t bother with the game – very simple. And if you do like it and want to support the developer in some way, go for it.

    So yeah I enjoy F2P – I get to try a game for nothing, and if I consider it worth more of my time I can then keep playing for nothing or buy the trinkets that come with it. If not for F2P I may never have enjoyed the game I had tons of fun with in 2014 – Warframe. Brilliant game! Which has been supported non-stop by the developers.

    So controversial point – maybe all games will one day adopt F2P with players getting to choose their options. You want single player – here you go; only want multiplayer – no problem.

    Sure there are going to be, and have been, many issues with the cost model but that is the point – publishers need to try different things to entice gamers. Some work, some are atrocious.

    So I don’t think it is only multiplayer that should be F2P. In time many more bigger games could try it. Isn’t Epic releasing Fornite as a F2P game? Could be interesting.

    Reply

  15. Galbedir

    January 21, 2015 at 17:13

    I honestly feel like developers these days are either just to greedy, or have no clue in business models. Here’s how you make a massive profit today : 1. Get a great idea. 2. Find a sponser or kickstarter for your idea. 3. Make the multiplay/online game. 4. Make it free to draw in crowds and players. 5. Release visual aesthetic items to make your character look badass without actually unbalancing the game. 6. Profit and retire. Guild Wars 2/League of Legends and Dota 2 are the shining examples of Free to Play games, and look how well they are all doing. Most of these companies have such amazing ideas, then throw a slap in the face Microtransaction for weapons/items in and throw there game down the drain, where in the first place if they just kept the game free, gained players and released skins/colours/models. They would have made a killing.

    Reply

    • Galbedir

      January 21, 2015 at 17:14

      People will always pay to look badass if they play the game alot. Hell…I always said I would never spend money on LoL skins…R600 later…but i’ve put in the hours to justify it.

      Reply

  16. Cyberats

    January 21, 2015 at 19:07

    Yes, they should be free, since all MMOs suck & all they offer is meager rewards for the time you put in grinding the game into boredom. The only other half being the pay to win PVP nittwitts and cheats.

    Reply

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