EvilSnoman graciously penned a guest post for your reading enjoyment. FPS lovers, listen up!
Game over COD? Perhaps not right now. In the works however, are some tantalizing new areas of gaming previously only touched by those dirty DND Nerds.
Enter the free to play online FPS. This category is subdivided into essentially two differing paths: single map FPS or an entirely new genre, the MMO FPS(Massively Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter). Nonetheless, a few notable companies appear to be flirting with the idea, namely Sony Online Entertainment and Crytek Kiev.
I know that question, I can sense it already. “If the game is free, what is in it for the game developer?” Let us take a lesson from one of the most successful online game providers, Blizzard entertainment. The Blizz has built an empire of fanatic loyalists, and know exactly what strings to pull.
In early 2010, Blizzard introduced a new vanity item, the Astral Steed, in its online store. The Store is a place where players can spend real money for in game vanity items. Okay so yes, Blizzard also charges a fee to play its game, but the store offers items not found natively in the game. The moment the Astral Steed “mount,” which is something players can use to get around the world, hit the virtual shelves, it was an instant success. Here is an article about it on 1up, but I’ll sum up the essence of it for you. In just 4 hours, a simple vanity item brought in $2 Million dollars
This is the power of a fanatic game culture. A bit of artwork, some simple code lines, and in four hours you rake in a cool 2 million dollars. Sounds like a darn fine idea to me. Yeah, I can see the eye rolling now. How does this apply to an FPS Mr. EvilSnoman?
Simple. Impatient people.
Why spend hundreds of hours when you can spend hundreds of dollars and have it all NOW! Items, camo schemes, guns, upgrades for armor, and in some cases in-game currency, can but bought with real money.
It’s that simple. Developers are betting you will be more likely to throw a few dollars at a game that essentially cost you nothing. While some free to play FPS games seem to favor the mighty dollar, yuan, or whatever currency is your choice, the balance between purchased punching power and hard earned pint sized peashooters is always a hair thin line.
The real issue that has been a topic of debate is how to get cheapskates (me) in on the buying frenzy. It is all about the incentives. Some of the games allow you to rent weapons for a nominal fee, or purchase them outright for a higher price. Others offer in-game currency in exchange for your hard-earned greenbacks. One company even offers “Premium” memberships for a monthly fee, in exchange for an allotment of currency and increased point generation. It all comes down to how bad you want that shiny new boomstick.
So what is there to stop you from taking your fill of free FPS fragging glory? Well therein lies the issue. Obviously, these companies do not want to make free players feel unwanted, nor do they want their paying customers to feel like they just got the digital shaft. The actions taken are wide and ranging but the basic premise remains, set. The in game amounts you make are low enough that over a few weeks you’ll see people with cool guns. and you are running around with the same old peashooter. I bet you would cave just to get that edge, especially if it would only cost you a few dollars.
This all sounds great, but how’s the quality of a “free” game? Surely this utopia of awesome can’t be cutting edge, mind blowing, 3D graphics?
Check out these videos. You tell me.
An upcoming work by Crytek Kiev, maker of Crysis
Warface. This is the official site, so you may need to add your age to see the media, but do give it a look see.
How about this one?
Blacklight Retribution What the Huh? The reviewer dares say this is “Better than COD!” BLASPHEMY!
Okay, so the uber fast paced shooter not your thing? What about these?
Sorta a cross between a FPS shooter and a Role-playing game like World of Warcraft
Not into a top down action game? How about this one? Team fortress meets… WoW? That’s odd..
So as you all can see, I’ve been busy searching for the newest thing out there. While I won’t definitively say that this IS the future of gaming, I will say it’s going to happen in some form, whether you choose to believe it or not. Hell, COD already does this, forcing you to purchase map packs to keep playing with your friends. Keep racking up that bill, I’ll be fragging away happily for free… well maybe not… that Saron HPV for my Magrider is looking very tempting.
Thanks to EvilSnoman for this thought-provoking post. What say you FPS fans?