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Posted March 31, 2016 by Scott Gerhardt in Card Games

F2P Is Not A Badge of Honor

So with what I do, I play a lot of games, and these days, some of the most popular ones follow the “F2P” or “Free To Play” model. For those of you unfamiliar with it, I’ll give you a quick description.

Free to Play games are one where you can get in and play most, if not all the core functions of the game without having to actually pay any money. From within the game, there are various micro transactions you can make which can add to the game. Even within this, there are two divisions which become important – traditional F2P and also, F2W (Free to Win). The biggest difference is the F2W games have items in the game which can only be obtained by paying money and tend to be some of the, if not the most powerful items in the game.

I personally am not a F2W advocate. I think if you are going to put your game out there and give it the appearance of all players being on equal footing, then you can’t give players important items they can only get with their credit card. Now F2P games, however, I am a big fan of. They allow people to pay with whatever currency they want to. Wait…didn’t I just say “free”?

In this world, the two greatest currencies are time and money. In these games, you chose which mix of these currencies you want to spend. If you want to spend time, then you can have what everyone else has, but it will either take longer or will require you to play more. If you pay money, then you will get there faster, but sometimes be shamed by the “cashless” players.

Wait….people are being shamed for paying to play a game? Can we look at this for a minute? Companies have to spend money to develop the game and maintain it. These are not cheap expenses. If no one paid, what do you think would happen? If you guessed “the company would shut down and/or the game would stop being supported” then you’re right. If you’re a cashless player, you should be absolutely thrilled when someone else is spending money. If they weren’t spending it, you wouldn’t be playing it.

It is just the smuggest thing in the world to say, “Oh, you’re one of those people who spend money on the game.”  You don’t hear people who spend money say, “Oh, you’re broke and you can’t spend money on the game?”  I was watching someone’s twitch channel the other day and someone told the streamer, “The best card in your collection is your credit card.”    I just shook my head – people, mostly the one who are strictly cashless players, simply don’t have a strong enough grasp on economics to understand how it works.  Those are the same people who say, “If Facebook doesn’t stop (insert rant here) I’m going to stop being a customer!”  Well, in this world, you have products and you have consumers.  If you’re not spending money, then you’re not the consumer…you’re the product.  For Facebook, you’re the product for advertisers.  For F2P games, you’re they product for those who do have the money so they will have a large pool of players to play against.

So everyone has their place in this gaming ecosystem, so please understand that is needs everyone and don’t try to act like you’re better because you do or don’t spend money.  Either way, you’re not.

Scott Gerhardt

Scott has....thoughts. They can be about this, that, or just about anything. Seldom at a loss for words, you can find his thoughts chronicled here