What Is F2P Gaming?

Bryan Healey05 Jun 2022

Mobile, PC, and console game developers and distributors are raking in vast sums each year from free-to-play games, which are quickly taking over the online gaming market.

The free nature of the game allows it to reach the widest possible audience, while still letting gamers purchase in-game stuff if they so desire. Many factors contribute to a game's success, not only the player's delight or addiction.

Gamers may access some of the most lucrative, yet divisive, games ever created by utilizing the free-to-play model's psychological advantages, which have been perfected over the last two decades.

One of the most potent marketing strategies is the concept of “free.” Consumers can make a no-risk selection with next to no effort when they choose 'free'. In our human nature, we want to avoid both loss and effort while deciding if the payoff isn't high enough. In other words, the thought of not having to pay for a game that offers the potential for both pleasure and financial reward is a tremendous lure.

F2P Gaming Explained

The term "Free To Play" (abbreviated as "F2P") is commonly used in online gaming. It is possible to participate in a F2P game without having to pay for it. F2P gamers, on the other hand, usually only have access to the game's most basic features. Upgrades to more advanced levels, or to features that enhance gameplay, are typically paid for. In some free-to-play games, advertising and related product sales are used to generate revenue.

It's all about the desire of gamers to pay for perks once they've had a chance to play the game and have a feel for its dynamics. In-game purchases and revenue can be generated by allowing players to pay for additional features after they've completed a game, such as unlocking new locations, characters, or levels.

It is a stark contrast to the pay-to-play model that preceded free-to-play games, which is dubbed (P2P). Instead of purchasing a game in installments, players pay a single fee and then gain access to the whole game's content based on their progress and the amount of effort they devote to it. Many of the first-generation free-to-play games were noticeably inferior in quality to their P2P counterparts. However, the quality of F2P games has fast improved as creators have realized that they can generate income.

The F2P model is continually being improved upon by video game developers. Game developers and distributors often offer the same game in free-to-play and paid versions.

Are F2P Games Worth The Hype?

If you have a computer or mobile device, there are many F2P games that you can play instantly. Apex Legends, a combat arena game, and Hearthstone, a collectible card game, have both become popular free-to-play titles in recent years. 

Free-to-play games also have had a significant impact on the rise of cryptocurrency games. Popular games like Axie Infinity and Plant VS Undead have made this a hot topic in recent years by allowing players to play for free and get compensated for their efforts. This is a stark contrast to the past in which when we first started playing video games, we had to pay to do so.

Keep in mind though that it doesn't matter if a game is free to play if it isn't worth your time. There are many F2P games of poor quality, as well as those that dare to ask for fees to move further. It's also common for even the best-playing games to charge a fee to sell NFT currency at an NFT marketplace.

Controversy Over Microtransactions

Microtransactions are at the core of the free-to-play model, yet they've been heavily criticized. Many gaming platforms and even non-free-to-play games have this monetization.

An enormous sum of money is needed to make it in the competitive game sector. Because of the rising costs of marketing and development, game developers have built their creations to cater to a select group of players who might be willing to spend a significant amount of money on in-game microtransactions.

There is just 4.7 percent of gamers that are considered "whale," but they account for $22 billion of the $50 billion earned by the industry in 2016. But even though these games don't depend as much on whales, gamers are more willing to part with their cash. Whales may show signs of addiction even if no one else is interested in playing the game with them.

Refusal to engage in microtransactions has had an unavoidable impact on the game experience for those players. To limit the number of time gamers may spend enjoying the free basic game, some games build paywalls, while others simply make it harder to play for free at all. If you want to engage in "loot boxes" in other games, you'll have to pony up some cash. Gamers can also buy a range of cosmetic things to personalize their play experience. More than $17k has been spent by gamers on "surprise mechanics" and payment walls in addictive games.

While some game developers claim that micropayments aren't any different from Kinder Eggs, others argue that they are gambling. According to a study, the same dopamine effects seen in gamblers are also seen in freemium games. Because there are no rules in place, developers are free to take advantage of gamers' gullibility.

As a result of the worldwide outcry over loot boxes, authorities are considering new laws. As a result of this legislation, countries like Belgium have already imposed bans. It's anyone's guess what this signifies for the future of gaming monetization. Things, though, are likely to change in some way.

One of the most prominent types of online gaming on mobile, PC, and consoles is F2P games, which generate billions for game developers and marketers. Since it is free, the game could reach as many people as possible who might be keen on playing the game, while also allowing players to purchase in-game stuff if they so desire. However, the popularity of these games is not solely due to the sheer amount of fun and excitement they provide for their users. Because of the accessibility of F2P games, gamers can get easily addicted to the point that they'll be spending tons of money for microtransactions within the game. Due to this, free-to-play games are dubbed as lucrative, yet controversial.

Bryan Healey

Bryan Healey

Bryan, known by his friends as 'blockchain bryan' has been playing with crypto since 2014, early in it's inception. He wants to share what he's learnt over these years, and hopes you'll get some value out of it.

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