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'Free 2 Play' games, Ubisofts decision, and the future of traditional games.

Stuart360

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Sep 9, 2018
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Free 2 Play games have never really bothered me, and i never thought of them as a theat to traditional game releases.
Then we got Ubisofts decision to move at least some of their franchises to the F2P model.

Now nothing wrong with any of that really, but i was just watching a streamer on Twitch, a smallish streamer by the way, spend $120 on Genshin Impact trying to buy 2 characters, and she didnt even get what she wanted. Apparently she has spent so much money on this, and other F2P games, and it just got me thinking how widespread this kind of spending is on F2P games. Especially with us living in the moblie phone era where we are overflowing with F2P games.


Really starting to feel that Ubisoft could be first of many publishers going towards the F2P model in the coming years, and eventually 'traditional' $60/$70 releases of 'full' games may end up a thing of the past.

Now i dont know about anyone else but i'm not really looking forward to a F2P future where 90% of games are lower budget games where you will end up spending hundreds of dollars to get the 'complete experience'.

Should we be worried about this, or just wait and see what happens?.
 

Jigsaah

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Jan 31, 2018
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I just bought BioMutant for whatever that's worth.

I'm also very wary of this. If you're gonna do it, follow in Warframe's F2P footsteps. Sure there's a lot of microtransactions in the game, but nearly everything can also be earned in game so you don't HAVE to spend money.

Ubisoft though...I mean even if they didn't go the F2P route, their games have been full of MTX for years. Really annoying.
 

Stuart360

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I just bought BioMutant for whatever that's worth.

I'm also very wary of this. If you're gonna do it, follow in Warframe's F2P footsteps. Sure there's a lot of microtransactions in the game, but nearly everything can also be earned in game so you don't HAVE to spend money.

Ubisoft though...I mean even if they didn't go the F2P route, their games have been full of MTX for years. Really annoying.
I just worry that when F2P games become more widespread in traditional gaming, publishers will start locking so much shit behind paywalls that we will end up literally paying hundreds of dollars to play the 'complete' game.
Its one way publishers could get around the constant moaning about $60 not being high enough for AAA games etc.
 

laynelane

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Aug 21, 2019
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Ubisoft has been veering towards F2P type transactions for a while, haven't they? For example, time savers. This just seems like the next logical step for them. I guess I look at lots of other developers who are still developing games, some with MTX and some without, and don't feel too worried at this time. With the streamer you were watching, I wonder if there's a ceiling for how much people will spend. Will there ever be a sort of fatigue associated with that type of spending in F2P games? As it stands now, it seems the sky is the limit on what game companies can make on these types of transactions.
 

Jigsaah

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Jan 31, 2018
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I just worry that when F2P games become more widespread in traditional gaming, publishers will start locking so much shit behind paywalls that we will end up literally paying hundreds of dollars to play the 'complete' game.
Its one way publishers could get around the constant moaning about $60 not being high enough for AAA games etc.
Facts.

Another thing I worry about if this happens...it will likely kill fervor for services like Gamepass. If the biggest games are F2P stuck in MTX hell...then what does that do for the value of GP?

Hate to say it but I hope Ubisoft fails at this.
 

Kagey K

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Dec 18, 2013
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I just bought BioMutant for whatever that's worth.

I'm also very wary of this. If you're gonna do it, follow in Warframe's F2P footsteps. Sure there's a lot of microtransactions in the game, but nearly everything can also be earned in game so you don't HAVE to spend money.

Ubisoft though...I mean even if they didn't go the F2P route, their games have been full of MTX for years. Really annoying.
I like your example as Warframe is free to play done right.

Too bad there's so many that do it wrong and battlepasses are so popular now.
 

TonyK

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Aug 13, 2020
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I don't know why but I can't spend time in free to play games. If the game is free I feel it doesn't deserve my time, that I'm wasting it.

I feel games closer to a movie or book experience but interactive, not like a sport or gambling. Or ar least the games I like or how I play. So multiplayer, competitive, free to play, etc... are adjectives that immediately make me to avoid a game or that part of the game.
 

Kagey K

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Dec 18, 2013
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I don't know why but I can't spend time in free to play games. If the game is free I feel it doesn't deserve my time, that I'm wasting it.

I feel games closer to a movie or book experience but interactive, not like a sport or gambling. Or ar least the games I like or how I play. So multiplayer, competitive, free to play, etc... are adjectives that immediately make me to avoid a game or that part of the game.
That's a shame because there are some good ones under the crap.

Warframe and Dauntless would be my choices for dipping your toes in.
 

cormack12

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Mar 21, 2013
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I actually liked Hyperscape but the problem is if you play 3/4 games that are built to this model, are you really getting your moneys worth from the cosmtics you buy etc. There's been only one game I bought MTX on and that was the Division 2. I bought the DLC, and some credits to spend on caches. Not a lot but £25-ish. But I think overall I'm approaching 700 hours in that game.

Regarding completely F2P games, I don't like XP boosts, weapons etc. on MTX - cosmetics etc. are fine though. I think it's better to buy end game boosts when a sufficient amount of people are at end game already. The problem is that when you buy a game you can see instantly it's cost £40. But when it's free you're more likely to spend £4.99 or £7.99 to acquire something as the 'game was free'. However there are no trackers for lifetime - it would be interesting if all these games were forced to display total player spend on the first screen
 

Ikutachi

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Aug 20, 2019
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Blame it on the whales.
If you spent more than 1$ on MTX on a videogame: this is your fault and you suck.
 

LectureMaster

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Nah, Ubisoft is the very company that chases all trends and usually can't work out.

When they find this F2P mode is not profiting for them they'll just quietly quit and act like there is not such plan.
I think they made a F2P battle royal game and how does that pan out? Haven't heard the game since it launched.
 

Bernd Lauert

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Apr 15, 2018
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People want 200 million dollar AAAAAAAA blockbusters, but they're quite risky to do without any additional monetization, as you have to sell 10m or so copies just to break even. So publishers come up with monetization schemes to reduce the risk of bombing. Can't have the one without the other, I'm afraid.
 
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Miles708

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Sep 11, 2019
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I actually liked Hyperscape but the problem is if you play 3/4 games that are built to this model, are you really getting your moneys worth from the cosmtics you buy etc. There's been only one game I bought MTX on and that was the Division 2. I bought the DLC, and some credits to spend on caches. Not a lot but £25-ish. But I think overall I'm approaching 700 hours in that game.

Regarding completely F2P games, I don't like XP boosts, weapons etc. on MTX - cosmetics etc. are fine though. I think it's better to buy end game boosts when a sufficient amount of people are at end game already. The problem is that when you buy a game you can see instantly it's cost £40. But when it's free you're more likely to spend £4.99 or £7.99 to acquire something as the 'game was free'. However there are no trackers for lifetime - it would be interesting if all these games were forced to display total player spend on the first screen

F2P exist only to keep you interested long enough to buy the next pack. That's it.

Of course you're gonna spend 100s of hours on them, that doesn't mean the time spent was worth it. It's a constant padding game, with layers and layers of counters to fill. Grunt work 75% of the time.
It's colourful, but it's still work. A data-entry position where you use a dual shock instead of an excel file.

The entire design gravitates towards exploiting your patience and restraint because that's the only way these products can be profitable. You have to make up scenarios in your head to convince yourself the time and money spent were worth it. We didn't fill our quota of loot bars today, let's keep on shooting.
 
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ZywyPL

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Ubisoft (and EA) have been making mostly GaaS type of games, so going further into F2P model was just a matter of time really. I personally don't mind F2P games, unless the business model turns the game into P2W, or you have to infinitely farm XP/money etc. otherwise, but then again, you can always just quite the game and lose absolutely nothing since it was free to begin with.

For example, I've spend overall like 1k on LoL skins, I quit the game years ago, and I regret absolutely nothing, it was fun when it lasted, no one forced me into it, the skins didn't broke the game in any means, that's and example of F2P done right. But there have been also games, mostly mobile ones, where playing without paying simply doesn't make any sense at all, it'll be nothing but a waste of time (like the obnoxious ads weren't enough already), so the moment you realize you're fucked you just go to the settings menu and hit uninstall.
 
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Miles708

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Ubisoft (and EA) have been making mostly GaaS type of games, so going further into F2P model was just a matter of time really. I personally don't mind F2P games, unless the business model turns the game into P2W, or you have to infinitely farm XP/money etc. otherwise, but then again, you can always just quite the game and lose absolutely nothing since it was free to begin with.

For example, I've spend overall like 1k on LoL skins, I quit the game years ago, and I regret absolutely nothing, it was fun when it lasted, no one forced me into it, the skins didn't broke the game in any means, that's and example of F2P done right. But there have been also games, mostly mobile ones, where playing without paying simply doesn't make any sense at all, it'll be nothing but a waste of time (like the obnoxious ads weren't enough already), so the moment you realize you're fucked you just go to the settings menu and hit uninstall.
Instead of having a 60$/€ game with costumes already included and unlockable by playing, we have free-to-play where you can spend A THOUSAND and have the same things.

Maybe in too old for this shit, I don't know what to think.
 

ZywyPL

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Instead of having a 60$/€ game with costumes already included and unlockable by playing, we have free-to-play where you can spend A THOUSAND and have the same things.

Maybe in too old for this shit, I don't know what to think.

The reality is, a dolar or two every once in a while doesn't hurt as much a throwing 80€ at once. The said 1k was spend throughout something like 6-7 years, so while the end sum does look large, it never hit me in the wallet, at all.
 

Miles708

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The reality is, a dolar or two every once in a while doesn't hurt as much a throwing 80€ at once. The said 1k was spend throughout something like 6-7 years, so while the end sum does look large, it never hit me in the wallet, at all.
This, though, brings developers to drip-feed content and never complete anything.

I understand what you're saying but I can't help feeling that gaming as a whole becomes a little bit worse for every mtx sold. This is not the future we envisioned as childs.
 

kikkis

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Free market will solve it just fine. Games complete with rest of the products for what people will spend on their leisure time. If games are just crap p2w titles then people will just stop playing them and publisher loses money.
 

IntentionalPun

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It’s a big market.

Ubisoft is just late to it is all.

They still need to make a game that’s actually good to make money so whatever.
 
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Hydroxy

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Free to play is good. Traditional games are also good. Play whatever you like. Paid games will not go away don't worry.
 

Alx

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Now i dont know about anyone else but i'm not really looking forward to a F2P future where 90% of games are lower budget games where you will end up spending hundreds of dollars to get the 'complete experience'.

Should we be worried about this, or just wait and see what happens?.
I think the problem is specifically wanting "the complete experience". It's ok to just get what you need, instead of all there is to get out there.
Considering Ubisoft's output, I would be perfecty fine with getting a free access to a core gameplay and pay for a stream of new content. To be honest I've been enjoying their Assassin's Creed, Rayman or Just Dance IP but in the end it's just the same game with added content (historical environments, levels or songs). It would work perfectly in a free to play model, and it would be fine if I don't get to play all AC eras, all Rayman levels or all Just Dance songs on their marketplace.
Same goes for many other genres. I mean sport, racing, fighting games feel more like continuous update of the same experience, it makes more sense to follow a GaaS model for those than try and sell independent games at full price.
 

ripeavocado

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Traditional games are fucked, the market is changing, people have no standards anymore and are willing to waste their time with anything and even pay lots of money for it.

Publishers just follow the money.
 
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GHG

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The way to counter this is more people buying full release games and flat out ignoring F2P games.

Unfortunately Fortnite Battle Royale's success has come at a cost, all the other big publishers are now chasing down the cash.
 

ripeavocado

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The way to counter this is more people buying full release games and flat out ignoring F2P games.

Unfortunately Fortnite Battle Royale's success has come at a cost, all the other big publishers are now chasing down the cash.
most young people have grown up with clash of clans, fortnite and other f2p bullshit, their brain is melted by shitty loot games, twitch streamers and other crap.

they will not buy your buy AAA games in droves.

Old people are older and have more thing to do rather than play video games for entire afternoons, the only old people still doing it are the losers, but the losers are cons and they will eat the f2p shit.
they are the ones simping on onlyfans
 
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Shut0wen

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Full paid games will never be a thing of the past, i guarantee you ubisoft will make 3 F2P games that will end up being shit and they will go back to GAAS, all big publishers will try and make a decent f2p but i personally have no faith in them, activision as warzone and ea has apex while epic has fortnite and all games are seeing a decline atm, the industry was like this when blizzard made world of warcraft and no mmo has ever came close to achieving what blizzard did
 

HoofHearted

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As long as a F2P game allows a path to obtain all the same characters, items, etc., via playing the game normally … I’ll play it. I eventually pay for a few items as I progress through the game.

Many of the mobile games I play follow this model and, though at times it becomes a grind to level up versus MTX options - at least there’s a choice on which path to take to play the game.

If a F2P game doesn’t provide this option - my cardinal rule is - I don’t play it.
 

ZywyPL

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The way to counter this is more people buying full release games and flat out ignoring F2P games.

It's not people's fault that F2P games offer so much more value and so much lower point of entry as oppose to 70-80€ titles that can be finished during the weekend and that's it, and the lack of demos to try out all those titles doesn't help either, the publishers often don't even show a proper gameplay of their games, so no wonder people don't want to blindly throw 70-80€. I actually find it ironic how we went from "stop buying games on day one, they don't deserve your money!" to "we must support AAA games as hard as we can!" within such short amount of time.

Now the thing is, I personally don't mind 8-16h campaigns, that's actually how much I expect from a SP game, everything more usually means there's no compelling story, rather it gets dragged, with many loose ends, just for the sake of prolonging the gameplay, which itself can be enjoyable only for so long as well, so that 8-16h mark is IMO a sweet-spot, but I don't see a single reason for the price to keep increasing for the exact same 8-16h experience. Throw in some co-op, a horde mode, multiplayer, anything, then we can talk about higher price.
 

DGrayson

Mod Team and Bat Team
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One one hand I applaud their honesty. The base price of the game is irrelevant now, its all about money from DLC, MTX etc.

On the other hand I have no time to invest in this kind of gaming model. I will continue to play standard prices games for the full experience with perhaps some story driven DLC/expansion until I either die or stop playing games.
 

Rikkori

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The traditional model makes no sense in a world where 80% of the spend is MTX. Frankly you'd have to be an idiot to not go full out for your game like that. There will still be single-purchase games, no worries, but that's going to be mostly for AA/indie because they don't get the choice. It's also an economies of scale thing, so for AAA(A) it makes a lot more sense both from profit-making and development cost recoupment.
 
Mar 17, 2020
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Free 2 Play games have never really bothered me, and i never thought of them as a theat to traditional game releases.
Then we got Ubisofts decision to move at least some of their franchises to the F2P model.

Now nothing wrong with any of that really, but i was just watching a streamer on Twitch, a smallish streamer by the way, spend $120 on Genshin Impact trying to buy 2 characters, and she didnt even get what she wanted. Apparently she has spent so much money on this, and other F2P games, and it just got me thinking how widespread this kind of spending is on F2P games. Especially with us living in the moblie phone era where we are overflowing with F2P games.


Really starting to feel that Ubisoft could be first of many publishers going towards the F2P model in the coming years, and eventually 'traditional' $60/$70 releases of 'full' games may end up a thing of the past.

Now i dont know about anyone else but i'm not really looking forward to a F2P future where 90% of games are lower budget games where you will end up spending hundreds of dollars to get the 'complete experience'.

Should we be worried about this, or just wait and see what happens?.

Yeah seems you don't know much about that stuff.

Free to play games are mostly held alive by "whales".
People that spend lots of cash for Microtransactions.

Sometimes its because they have tons of cash and nothing else to use it for, or because they are stupid or addicted to the game and spend all their living wage for imaginary stuff. It should be kept in mind though that game design is going to be affected by this, too.
Game will have more tedious tasks that can be skipped or accellerated by spending real money on "InGame" boosters.

I'm no fan of F2P games even though I like some of them.
It never feels "fair".

Thats why I'll rather spend 70€ on a game ( even smaller ones ) then play some F2P games.
 
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Derktron

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Ubisoft will regret taking the path of the f2p model, not even EA or fuck 2K games or even Activision would take this path because they still believe that payable games are still the future....This honestly bothers me, I was rooting for them still. This is why I still say Indie games will always be king in modern gaming, because of the uniqueness of some of those games. They have more creativity than what these major companies spit out and want you to pay $70 to $200 for a fucking game. So I hope this brings Ubisoft down so far that they change their way of thinking and I'm talking about when it comes to investors who I heard were angry about the decision on Ubisoft changing their point of view and the blame should be put on themselves for taking this route.
 

DaGwaphics

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MTX are heavily worked into most of the $60/$70 games already. Making it difficult to say that F2P is altering the landscape more than traditional releases. People really need to smarten up and quit spending money on useless content for these games, that's the only thing that stops the trend. :messenger_tears_of_joy:

I'm just old I guess, but I just don't give a rat's ass what outfit my character is wearing, truth be told. But the younger set that stream a lot seem to be really invested in cosmetics. The only MTX that bother me are those that create pay to win scenarios or shortcuts to needless grinding etc., the cosmetic stuff is a waste but if that's your thing, go for it.
 

Fafalada

Fafracer forever
Jun 22, 2004
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Really starting to feel that Ubisoft could be first of many publishers going towards the F2P model in the coming years, and eventually 'traditional' $60/$70 releases of 'full' games may end up a thing of the past.
That's just feelings - everything you're noticing as 'future' has already happened, and then some.
Most major publishers (Ubisoft included) have pivoted hard towards F2P model around a decade ago (some started earlier, but that's just details). In fact - industry as a whole (including at least one platform holder) was firmly convinced that was it for the traditional business model before last gen of consoles arrived.
The decade (perhaps predictably) didn't play out that way in the end, and many of the publishers have fumbled their move into service badly for years, some are still getting it wrong today. If things have shifted around as quickly as predicted, some of those probably wouldn't be in business today - but I digress.

Now i dont know about anyone else but i'm not really looking forward to a F2P future where 90% of games are lower budget games where you will end up spending hundreds of dollars to get the 'complete experience'.
90% of games are lower-budget today. Actually I'd argue it's closer to 99% - but anyway. Frankly I don't believe there was ever a point in the history of video-games where that wasn't the case.
Now if you believe that 'AAA' budgets will disappear, there's ample evidence to the contrary. 'Big' F2P games have not been low-budget for a decade now, and some of your own examples run counter to your narrative. Eg. Genshin Impact has production values that rival & exceed the game it copied/was inspired by, so if anything - it shows budgets follow the money, even without an established IP to attach to. And F2P competition does not result in a race to the bottom, the opposite.


Should we be worried about this, or just wait and see what happens?.
Industry will continue to evolve to be more service (and online) centric, this isn't something that can be avoided short of killing the internet. But active-game population continues to expand, so if I was predicting anything is that variety of market-segments will grow, as the same online-centric distribution model also showed it effectively counters the segregation caused by traditional physical distribution. So no - I don't expect we'll ever have 'everything was F2P' situation. The dominant mainstream model though - possibly, it's hard to predict since subscription services effectively counter a lot of the advantages F2P has.
 

Bo_Hazem

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Feb 10, 2020
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Free 2 Play games have never really bothered me, and i never thought of them as a theat to traditional game releases.
Then we got Ubisofts decision to move at least some of their franchises to the F2P model.

Now nothing wrong with any of that really, but i was just watching a streamer on Twitch, a smallish streamer by the way, spend $120 on Genshin Impact trying to buy 2 characters, and she didnt even get what she wanted. Apparently she has spent so much money on this, and other F2P games, and it just got me thinking how widespread this kind of spending is on F2P games. Especially with us living in the moblie phone era where we are overflowing with F2P games.


Really starting to feel that Ubisoft could be first of many publishers going towards the F2P model in the coming years, and eventually 'traditional' $60/$70 releases of 'full' games may end up a thing of the past.

Now i dont know about anyone else but i'm not really looking forward to a F2P future where 90% of games are lower budget games where you will end up spending hundreds of dollars to get the 'complete experience'.

Should we be worried about this, or just wait and see what happens?.

With how Valhalla forces you to buy "resource" to upgrade all your gear collected, this doesn't sound good. After fully finishing everything in the new DLC and finished one map of the River Raids I couldn't even fully upgrade one extra outfit.
 
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jufonuk

not tag worthy
Jan 1, 2009
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Jim.
..........................ummm what made you think that.....Don't you mean Microsoft with gamepass?
Nintendo better not play that game with my heart or we are through. I’ve been your fan since the nes days. Nintendo you my boy dog. I don’t give a crap you wanted to keep on going cartridge and your stubborn behaviour created your greatest foe in the PlayStation. I forgive you for the VB. we all have that weird emo phase we understand. Hell even if your online is still kinda Whack it’s ok. But you ever go all F2P I swear down on me mum fam. We are finished. I couldn’t take that kinda betrayal. I’m tearing up just thinking about that. Don’t you do that. Don’t you dare!!!

Sad Cry GIF by Team Coco
 
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Roni

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In one breath this, in the other: CDPR should go bankrupt for Cyberpunk 2077.

You yourselves are being manipulated into killing this industry.

The hate mongering you fall prey to weakens the people at least still trying to release complete games for that $60 price tag while the gatcha ridden F2P goes unseen while it festers. My girlfriend's son is all about those V-Bucks, and so are his friends. They're the future of the industry, our voice is only getting weaker and weaker.

Learn to support those who uphold the same ideals you support.
 
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Clear

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That guy who supposedly spent $2m over 4 years... W. T. F.

Thats $1,368 a day. Every day over that time!
 
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SleepySlippy

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As long as a F2P game allows a path to obtain all the same characters, items, etc., via playing the game normally … I’ll play it. I eventually pay for a few items as I progress through the game.

Many of the mobile games I play follow this model and, though at times it becomes a grind to level up versus MTX options - at least there’s a choice on which path to take to play the game.

If a F2P game doesn’t provide this option - my cardinal rule is - I don’t play it.

People should always ask themselves "Am I having fun?" while playing. If the game offers you to pay in order to avoid playing, it's a safe bet that the answer is no.
If it isn't worth my money, it isn't worth my time. And games that offer me both ways are worth neither.
 

Jigsaah

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I like your example as Warframe is free to play done right.

Too bad there's so many that do it wrong and battlepasses are so popular now.
I don't mind battlepasses in some games. Apex skins generally suck, but I like the rewards at the end and that if you play enough, you earn enough of the currency not to have to pay for the next battlepass. I think the worst implementation of it is probably Valorant. They gouge the hell out of you and give you radiant points, which can't be used towards the next battlepass but can only upgrade weapon FX for, you guessed it, weapon skins you have to pay an inordinate amount of money for. 70 something dollars and you don't even get the skin for all the weapons in the game? Absolute insanity.
 

peter42O

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Personally, I have never played a free to play game and have only purchased a single $10 micro-transaction (Treasure Map Pack in AC Odyssey) as they normally don't interest me at all but with Ubisoft which is my favorite publisher/developer, I will be giving The Division: Heartland a chance since it does have some kind of PvE in the game which is all I care about. If the game is good, I may support it but I may not depending on the prices/grind/what you're getting in return for that money spent. I am looking forward to seeing it at the Ubisoft Forward event in June.

Also, Ubisoft isn't actually changing their setup of AAA games to free to play as that's not what they're doing. They're simply adding free to play games to what they're already doing with AAA games. Ubisoft is still giving you Far Cry, Assassin's Creed, etc. and they signed a deal with LucasFilm Games to do a Division type open world AAA Star Wars game so yeah, they're not changing much.

They're simply looking for their Fortnite/Apex Legends/Warzone hit. Once they get that, you may see one here and one there but look at HyperScape. It bombed, it's dead and they're pretty much already moving on. All Ubisoft is trying to do is get their "hit" which to be honest, I want them to have even if I don't play the game because if they end up bringing in all this insane money from it, that will make them more likely to keep doing $150M AAA titles because the risk would be reduced and even if a AAA title bombs, it won't impact/hurt them nearly as much as it would if they didn't have a free to play "hit".

AAA wise, im getting new content for The Division 2 late this year and an expansion next year. They have a new AAA Assassin's Creed game which they will always have on annual or bi-annual basis. Far Cry 6 is within a year of release. They have Skull & Bones, Beyond Good & Evil 2, Avatar and the previously mentioned Star Wars game. So if they can nail The Division: Heartland which I do believe will be their best chance at doing so, then while im sure they will attempt another here and there, they won't be all in with in if they already have a massive success. They also have Rainbow Six Parasite and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake.

Just have to wait and see how it all plays out. I for one am hyped to see exactly what Heartland is and im pretty sure it's releasing this year so for me, im definitely hyped when it comes to Ubisoft!!