Monday, 21 May 2012

Free to Play Games

Having bought an iPad a few weeks ago, I have been exploring the App Store for games. One of the games I stumbled across is 'Heroes vs Monsters'. This is another game in following the increasing trend of 'Free to Play' as a revenue model.

The game is easy to get into and relaxing to play, however the system of buying in game gold with real money doesn't sit well with me. It is possible to accumulate gold by grinding but most encounters seem to yield a couple of hundred gold whereas decent magical items cost tens of thousands. There's an option on the gold purchase page to buy up to £70.00 (GBP) worth of gold. This seems ludicrous for a casual roleplaying game when the nearest competitor (Battleheart) can be bought for £2.00.

Screenshot of HvM (I should win some kind of 'worst screenshot' award for this):

Personally (as a player), I'm not a fan of the Free to Play model as it seems to offer watered down grinding gameplay to one set of players (those who play for free) and instant expensive cheats for those who want to throw money at it. The uncertainty of what I will need to spend to finish a game kills my enthusiasm for it.

As a developer and purveyor of software myself,  I understand the need for revenue but the game designer in me rebels at the idea of different gameplay dependent on how much you spend.

Comments and differing opinions welcome.


Matt Smith said...

I completely agree. I'm more than willing to pay for a good game on my phone, but if it looks good and it's free I'm going to give it a go. To find I have to spend money to progress is quite disappointing.

One of the other things I miss on mobile games is demo versions. For games that are <£2 I don't mind taking the odd risk in buying it. But there are so many that aren't worth the price and without the good ones providing demo versions there's no way to distinguish them and therefore I end up not buying them.

Gary said...

I've also spotted some that claim to be 'FREE' but actually turn out to be demos with an option to buy the full game in app.

(NOVA I'm looking at you).