Thursday, March 8, 2012

Is Freemium Gaming the Way of the Future

Hello All,

I just want to start this off by saying I am sorry that there was no Wednesday post. It was my first day at a new job so that pretty much consumed my entire day and then Thursday was my lazy day. It's actually a good thing that I had work on Wednesday though, because I was having a chat with someone and they mentioned to me that they play a game on Facebook called "Marvel Avengers Alliance". I just want to get this out of the way now: I generally dislike Facebook as a gaming platform because most of the games involve asking harassing your friends to play the games so you gain items and experience and what not. I believe FarmVille is the tool of the devil used to help give people technology addictions (although to see what kind of a hypocrite I am, I play "Zombie Farm" and "Smurfs Village" on my iPad and iPhone on a regular basis although that's a story for another day).

Anyway, Wednesday night I decided to look into this particular game and give it a try. Turns out the game isn't half bad. When I did my research on the game it was described as a "freemium" game. This is a term that has been thrown around for quite a while. The most prominent example of freemium is games like FarmVille, as the game itself is free but there is premium content you can purchase to make the game move faster and gain upgrades. This got me thinking, could freemium gaming be the way of the future?

The short answer is maybe. You see, to me it seems freemium games seem to be mostly restricted to games like "FarmVille", "Zombie Farm", "Smurf Village", and the new EA title "The Simpson's: Tapped Out" which is currently out of the App Store due to insufferable server capabilities. Granted, not all freemium games are like that. One company in particular, Nexon, hit the nail on the head in my opinion. They offer games across a plethora of genres, from First Person Shooters (Combat ArmsSudden Attack) to Action, RPG, or Strategy. While Nexon technically bills their games as free to play, they are included in my definition of freemium. You get the game for free and then have the option to purchase additional content.

In order for this to really be a part of the future of gaming though, we need to see a few major changes come quick. First and foremost, we need to see a major developer get behind this. EA counts, but I think we might even be able to get bigger than that if we try hard enough. Second, and most important, we need an actual effort from the company making the game. Do me a favor: go click  on the link for Combat Arms, install the game, and play it. That's a hell of a multiplayer first person shooter that is costing you NOTHING to play. Just imagine if games for next gen consoles were made with the quality that pay games are at now, and then offered as a freemium model, instead of the current robbery model.

In short, I think freemium could be a way of the futures if more developers shy away from the current farm trend of freemium games. What are your thoughts on freemium? Do you think it is a good business model for the gaming industry or do you think it's a waste of time? What games would you like to see as freemium? Sound off in the comments below.

Until Next Time,


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