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Free to Play and Online Gaming

Online gaming is everywhere. Whether you’re looking for a good PC/Console game or a good online bingo site, there’s something for everyone. More and more these days it seems that developers are shifting towards the Free to Play model.

A lot of the Free to Play games really aren’t free to play. Sure, you’ll be able to play for free to a certain extent. But as soon as you get the hang of it most developers want you to purchase extra skills, levels or accessories. You are of course free to decide if you purchase all these extras. The thing is that these free games can quickly become more expensive than a normal game you would’ve bought from your local retail store. One baffling example is the free to play Theme Park game on iOS. You basically get to build one ride and shop, and after that you’ll have to pay big bucks to get new rides and shops. This causes the game to be a lot more expensive than usual. Basically you get to play a very short demo.

I’m not against the free to play model, but it should make sense and not be aimed to rip off the customer. A game like Tribes: Ascend for PC does it right in my opinion. You get to play the full game by unlocking (most) stuff by putting in a lot of hours. Don’t have the time? Then purchase the unlocks. For now a lot of free to play games are stripped down demo’s and I don’t think that’s the way to go.

Time will tell if the free to play model will survive. I think it will as long as a developer doesn’t overdo it with the in game purchase options. My personal preference though is to buy a game. That way there won’t be any surprises and you (hopefully) get what you pay for. It’s also a lot more honest towards the customer, whether it’s a game you play online on a website or a normal console game, you know what you’ll have to pay upfront.