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Op Ed

Cliffski's Blog - The psychological value of ownership, and how free to play games use it.
Free to play works because it doesn’t ask you to value the game until you already feel you own it. How much would you pay for farmville to buy it outright? maybe $5? But play the game for free for a month, build up your farm, invest it, and then hit a plateau in the game where you really need to buy coins to continue…. and suddenly YOUR game is worth a lot more than $5. You value the game you already own very highly, and so buying add-ons for it is just common sense. I suspect this is why DLC works so well, and sells so well. You have already made a commitment to valuing the game, by investing your time. Only a fool could try to rationalize NOT spending money on it now…

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23. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 18:21 Suppa7
 
Gamers are such pieces of dogshit. Gaming has really gone into the shitter with these newer gen gamers. They will just backwards rationalize getting raped and invent narratives that their small monkey brains can handle in attempt to justify their addiction to shit.  
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22. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 13:32 Verno
 
Ownership isn't a factor for me when weighing F2P games. Do I enjoy playing it? Is the business model in my face or is it reasonable? Those are the things I care about and what determines if I spend money or not.  
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Playing: South Park, Dark Souls 2
Watching: Enemy, Network, Wer
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21. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 13:11 avianflu
 
I have found that freemium games are not actually fun -- bottomline. They are totally off my radar these days.
 
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20. removed Feb 12, 2013, 12:48 Orphic Resonance
 
* REMOVED *
This comment was deleted on Feb 12, 2013, 17:45.
 
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19. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 07:01 InBlack
 
TF2 is another great example, although I did get TF2 in the Orange Pack and back then it wasnt F2P.

Sure some games can turn into a huge moneysink, I spend a shitload of money on World of Tanks for the better part of a year that I played it actively. That game was nightmare grind and you were basically forced to buy premium time if you wanted to advance past a certain level. I did enjoy it during that time though, more so than any traditional MMO I tried before.

There is a huge prejudice against F2P games with 'hardcore' gamers though and I find that its largely unwarranted. Every once in a while a great game turns up with that moniker, and a lot of people pass it bye to play something a lot more mediocre because its not a 'proper' game. Well, your loss I guess....
 
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I have a nifty blue line!
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18. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 06:38 Fletch
 
Sepharo wrote on Feb 11, 2013, 21:13:
Let's just get this out of the way early this time.

cliffski = Independent game devloper Cliff Harris
CliffyB = Former Epic design director Cliff Bleszinski

This is an article by the former.

Ooooooh, shit... That's what I get for being a smart-ass based on the quote and not even reading the article. How embaraskin...
 
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17. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 05:17 eRe4s3r
 
True that. But that game somehow never counted for me as f2p.. Given that I got it in that valve pack... sure it's now f2p, but I also never bought it specifically.

I guess huge packs are also an exception... I can easier justify not playing games when it's just 10% of a pack. As long as 1 or 2 of the games in it were kick-ass...
 
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16. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 05:08 Armengar
 
technically TF2 is free to play. Old but still played by many.  
Its not the cough that carries you off but the coffin they carry you off in.
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15. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 03:38 eRe4s3r
 
Flatline wrote on Feb 12, 2013, 01:15:
Tom wrote on Feb 11, 2013, 23:12:
eRe4s3r wrote on Feb 11, 2013, 22:32:
Part of the reason for that is of course that there are no f2p games that offer any immersive fun gameplay experience.

Meanwhile, League of Legends has like zillions of players, then there's Tribes: Ascend, Airmech, Path of Exile, Mechwarrior Online, Planetfall 2, etc. F2P is not just crap like Farmville, browser games, and failed MMOs. It includes some hardcore games, some of which are actually pretty good.

It's a brave new world. Between F2P and KS, publishers are being kicked to the curb pretty good now. LOVIN IT!

And all those decent F2P games tend to not hold your sense of fun hostage, at most they allow you to quickly customize your play experience to what you want for some cash.

Which again is completely missed by Cliffski here.

And I agree with Eraser. For many games, if I haven't plunked money down on it, I have almost no attachment to the game. It has to rock my f*cking socks off for me to keep coming back to it. Whereas if I'm already invested, dammit, I'm going to get my money's worth of fun out of this thing if I have to wring it dry.

Let's make this a practical example. If Cliffski had made Gratuitous Space Battles F2p, and I started playing it strictly on it's merits, I probably would have lasted about 10 minutes... well before even the first hypothetical pay-threshold. As is, since I blew 20 bucks on that... thing... I stuck with it for a few hours before moving on.

Yeah that's exactly what I mean. When I buy a game, after deliberation I am invested in it. I literally DEMAND my fun then, and I wring it dry. I only stop playing a game I bought when It is really and absolutely not fun anymore.

Of course like any gamer I bought some real stinkers in my time and I don't play stuff that aggravates me from the first minute even if I bought it....

But for f2p games It is completely the opposite, if the first hour doesn't blow me away so far that I can pick samples on Mars it's going in the "yeah I have that installed.. somewhere" list. Which usually means I forget I ever had it. ^^

To me, none of the f2p games listed by Tom are anything I want to play.. if you ask me what I want to play right now? It'd be, Project Eternity, that Dreamfall Kickstarter game, and Sim City 5. Also MAIA, Impire, and .. I am sure there was something else... Clockwork something. Besides that, Startopia, and Dreamfall: The longest Journey (Yes, the old game ,p) I just finished the Longest Journey.. missed playing that for some reason. Absolutely awesome. And BF3 of course, every now and then.. and Euro Truck Simulator 2 (after playing BF3) to chillax again.

None of these games are free to play. So maybe it is just weird me.. but there don't seem to be any f2p games I like or want to play. Especially Mechwarrior.. I played Mechwarrior for the Story, I only even got to the games because of the books. And that's why I think MW: Online is a travesty in a way...
 
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14. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 03:36 InBlack
 
Path of Exile...this game turns Cliffski's reasoning completely on its head. Great F2P game, I urge anyone who hasnt tried it to give it a shot. Surprisingly polished beta too....  
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I have a nifty blue line!
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13. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 03:23 eRe4s3r
 
Yeah, and I haven't found any of the games you listed entertaining for more than.. 5 hours at best. I rather play real games that I own, at least then I have to justify the expense and time I put into them. So if a game is not fun, I usually also don't buy it and certainly don't play beyond whatever "first impression" i got of it..  
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12. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 03:22 mag
 
Cutter wrote on Feb 12, 2013, 01:45:
Cliffski = Derek Smart Jr. Value is relative. People spend 100 million plus on a painting. It's some swirls of coloured oil on canvas. Forgetting the "investment" aspect of art, really, what is $20 worth of materials worth? No more, nor less than what someone is willing to pay for it. Same with F2P games. Virtual or not it amounts to the same thing in the end.

What happened to Derek Smart (Derek Smart! Derek Smart!!!!) anyway? I haven't heard about any new Battlecruiser Whatever games in a while.
 
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11. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 01:45 Cutter
 
Cliffski = Derek Smart Jr. Value is relative. People spend 100 million plus on a painting. It's some swirls of coloured oil on canvas. Forgetting the "investment" aspect of art, really, what is $20 worth of materials worth? No more, nor less than what someone is willing to pay for it. Same with F2P games. Virtual or not it amounts to the same thing in the end.
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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10. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 01:15 Orphic Resonance
 
So rationalizations that allow you to do what you want are "common sense" while rationalizations that prevent you from doing so are only "rationalizations"?

Common sense says that virtual commodities which only exist on servers run by an outside corporation that could disappear at any time are not "owned". To approach the idea of "ownership" of virtual goods would require some sort of download or local access which is independent of outside control.
 
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9. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 01:15 Flatline
 
Tom wrote on Feb 11, 2013, 23:12:
eRe4s3r wrote on Feb 11, 2013, 22:32:
Part of the reason for that is of course that there are no f2p games that offer any immersive fun gameplay experience.

Meanwhile, League of Legends has like zillions of players, then there's Tribes: Ascend, Airmech, Path of Exile, Mechwarrior Online, Planetfall 2, etc. F2P is not just crap like Farmville, browser games, and failed MMOs. It includes some hardcore games, some of which are actually pretty good.

It's a brave new world. Between F2P and KS, publishers are being kicked to the curb pretty good now. LOVIN IT!

And all those decent F2P games tend to not hold your sense of fun hostage, at most they allow you to quickly customize your play experience to what you want for some cash.

Which again is completely missed by Cliffski here.

And I agree with Eraser. For many games, if I haven't plunked money down on it, I have almost no attachment to the game. It has to rock my f*cking socks off for me to keep coming back to it. Whereas if I'm already invested, dammit, I'm going to get my money's worth of fun out of this thing if I have to wring it dry.

Let's make this a practical example. If Cliffski had made Gratuitous Space Battles F2p, and I started playing it strictly on it's merits, I probably would have lasted about 10 minutes... well before even the first hypothetical pay-threshold. As is, since I blew 20 bucks on that... thing... I stuck with it for a few hours before moving on.
 
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8. Re: Op Ed Feb 12, 2013, 00:37 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Cliffski discovers the skinner box.  
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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7. Re: Op Ed Feb 11, 2013, 23:12 Tom
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Feb 11, 2013, 22:32:
Part of the reason for that is of course that there are no f2p games that offer any immersive fun gameplay experience.

Meanwhile, League of Legends has like zillions of players, then there's Tribes: Ascend, Airmech, Path of Exile, Mechwarrior Online, Planetfall 2, etc. F2P is not just crap like Farmville, browser games, and failed MMOs. It includes some hardcore games, some of which are actually pretty good.

It's a brave new world. Between F2P and KS, publishers are being kicked to the curb pretty good now. LOVIN IT!
 
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6. Re: Op Ed Feb 11, 2013, 22:32 eRe4s3r
 
Amount of successful F2P games vs amount of failed F2P games.. someone make a statistic? Because I would bet it's like 1:100

But I find the thought interesting though because for me it's completely reverse, I never cared for F2P games, ever. Because I don't feel like I own anything. So I have no reason to spend money on it or to play it beyond where it is fun (and lots of F2P games are not fun) or only for the first few hours. Part of the reason for that is of course that there are no f2p games that offer any immersive fun gameplay experience. Farmville is nothing but a stupid time waster, unfun .. like those stupid old browser games where you had "turns" that passed every 3 or 6 hours a day.... wait a second, they still make money with that aren't they? .. Hated them back then, loath them now...
 
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5. Re: Op Ed Feb 11, 2013, 22:18 jdreyer
 
I think it's obvious he's talking hypothetically and in simile based on a book about psychology, not actually calling people fools. He obsesses over and struggles to understand free to play, because he's never pushed that model before, yet must compete with it. Personally, I think it's fascinating what he's pointing out based on that study, and it shows why a free to play game can extract much much more from some people than a they would pay for a game than if they bought it off the shelf. And, yes I realize those people are a slim minority of players.  
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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4. Re: Op Ed Feb 11, 2013, 22:18 Flatline
 
Optional Nickname! wrote on Feb 11, 2013, 21:45:
"Only a fool could try to rationalize NOT spending money on it [a game you paid nothing for] now…"

Very well Cliffski, now please make all of your Gratutious game titles a real gratuity and offer them for free.

Only a fool wouldn't give away his games for free, according to your 'logic'.


You're assuming Cliffski's games are actually fun investments of time. In my personal experience... they aren't.

Yeah, Cliffski is kind of a blowhard and is demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of the Farmville F2P game model.

In reality, most players either peter out before that plateau, plunk down a buck or two and quickly hit the next plateau then get frustrated and quit playing, or play sporadically, and due to the lengthy wait induced by the plateau, and forget about the game and stop playing.

It was something like the .01% of users that are referred to as "whales", that will spend tens of thousands of dollars on your game that the game actually markets to. They spend so much that it makes the game overall lucrative.

And that is, exactly, the math and the rationale behind F2P.

The problem with Cliffski's approach here is that you're basically strong-arming gamers. "hey... that's a nice little game you've got there. Lots of fun right? Be a real shame if all that fun and investment suddenly went kaput right? 99 cents ought to clear that right up though for a day or two however..."

I can't remember the last post he's made where I haven't thought "f*cking asshat..."
 
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