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The Effect of Free to Play

Posted by Michael Koczwara On July - 4 - 2011 0 Comment

How does one profit from a game that is given to players completely free? How can gamers take a game seriously if anyone can play without any pay? Why would anyone pull out big resources to create a fantastic game that will in the end be given out without any price? The idea of free to play games has been an increasingly popular model that many game developers and publishers are approaching. Through micro transactions made within the game, profits are made, some even greater than those who release the game with a price. The model has gotten its share of optimism and criticism, but what are the results of taking one of the largest online games and making it Free to Play.

Team Fortress 2, an online first person multiplayer shooter created by Valve, has been keeping gamers glued to the game since 2007. Items, maps, weapons, and various new features have been added throughout the game’s life, keeping it fresh and new to everyone who plays. Valve saw an opportunity when sales through their newly added in-game Mann Co. Store were surpassing game sales themselves.  Then, just two weeks ago, Valve announced that Team Fortress 2 was now embracing the Free to Play model, leaving many overcome by joy and many others perplexed by the move.

Being free to play, Team Fortress 2 can now be accessed by many gamers that have been yearning to try the game but not ready to shell out the cash. Even those who were skeptical of the game have nothing to lose with this free download. This strategy only brings more players to the game, making it even more popular and widespread. Only those who choose to purchase in-game items (hats) are paying, and that is completely a choice. The sheer fact that Valve was able to take one of their best games and hand it out for free is a tremendous feat.

Now for the negative side of the argument. Loyal fans of the game were quick to worry about the money they spent to purchase the game. It was an understandable question, and Valve made it clear that anyone who purchased the game before the “Free Update” owned a premium version of the game. This version allowed for more options in trading and crafting, and players are able to collect rare weapons within the game. It is even possible for a free user to purchase anything in the Mann Co. Store and receive all the benefits of a premium user, leaving the game equal for everyone. Fans also believed the mass amount of newcomers will disrupt the gameplay, but this argument won’t be valid for long as this is only a temporary inconvenience.

The Effects of Free to Play are evident and clear. The new model used for Team Fortress brought a popular game to even higher heights and grew it’s user base to a new milestone. With everyone given a chance to play, the appreciation for the game is greater than it has ever been and will continue to grow as time goes on. The change is all for the better, and has already shown remarkable effects within the gaming community.

Categories: Daily Feature, Editorial

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