Saturday, March 26, 2011

Low cost airlines of Games - Part 1

With the on-going boom in ‘free to play’ games on both PC and iOS platforms, it becomes impossible to ignore them and not to comment about them. But hey! Am I talking to the right audience?

Well, let's begin it this way...

First of all, there are games that you must pay for, to play. There have always been such games, and I am not talking about the peanuts some pay for the pirated CDs. When you understand that ‘games’ = ‘free’ is ‘your view’ = ‘wrong’, can you understand the gravity of having the ‘free to play’ games.
Free to play games are games that you can download and play (up to a certain extent) free of charge and then when you are addicted to them, you can purchase in-game stuff to keep going (efficiently and fast). This shift in the way games are made, distributed and monetized have been largely because of two reasons.

1.      Rampant Piracy
2.      Game Publishers’ sudden itch to have an on-going relationship with their customers, even with the ones that don’t pay. (As a thumb rule Italics = Satire that I want ALL my readers to get.)

Okay so whatever the reason is, such games exist and pretty much all the games in future would use this model to distribute the games.

Now, because such games are free to play, the game developer cannot provide all the in-game content right at the beginning. It's not a charity, you know. Therefore, the game developers keep quite a lot of the game content locked so that people can purchase it sometime down the line. Of the millions of players who play such games only a few thousand players actually end up spending real money on these games. And because a game publisher needs to stay afloat and recover the game’s manufacturing costs and perhaps make a profit, he makes the paying players pay for almost every thing in the game.

Publishers say, 'We are not forcing anything on anyone. Either way the non-payers never pay, then why stop the payers from paying us if they wish to.'

On the face value this argument seems perfect. But there's more to it than meets the eye... To know more, catch the Part 2 of this article tomorrow, with Part 3 close at its heels with some awesome virtual hilarity.


Amit said...

Hey Abhishek, the article is really interesting.. waiting for Part 2 and 3:)

Jayanta said...

Keep them coming.