With the economy the way it is these days, people are perhaps more ginger about throwing down 60-100 dollars (depending on your place of residence) for a full-price video game, perhaps even more so for MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games). MMORPGs require a monthly fee of around $15 or so, paid continuously, in order to continue playing with your character(s). However, MMORPGs add the noteworthy feature of a continuously expanding world with a constant stream of new content- very distinct from the patches we have come to expect for all games. The genre that is lead by WoW (World of Warcraft) has undergone a recent trend of change, with more MMORPG developers adopting a free to play model.
No gimmicks here, many games have a completely free to play model
which lets you embody your character in the game world and enjoy the
full game experience, for nothing more than using your internet space.
There are paid donations which give you access to more character slots,
new items, more storage, exotic pets, and the like. Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach, and Warhammer Online
are games with a full-featured free gaming option, with optional
donations. The industry behemoth, WoW, recently introduced a more
limited free to play option where you may play a character up to level
20, and have limited gold and skill options. Paying removes all the
Offering a product for free is a bizarre concept to most people’s
sensibilities, particularly when talented people have to work for years
to craft it. Is it a sign of an increasingly demanding and selfish
consumer base for video games, one who wants access to a game for free
before they plonk down cash? Developers are volunteering to use this
model to attract a greater number of users, and hope the donation
options will provide a sustainable salary (it does seem to be profitable
for some companies!). Video game consumers are used to paying a lot of
money for their product, and are often restricted in the use of their
medium more than partakers of other hobbies. So perhaps the consumers
are not getting too demanding. Perhaps the free to play model is an
increasingly attractive financial option in the crowded MMORPG market,
especially with walltets tightening for many people.
Either way, the consumer wins. Despite the access to bonus content
for paying customers, there are a lot of free to play MMORPGs which
feature full worlds and huge amounts of play time for anybody.
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