I’ve written a few items around F2P monetization, from Blizzard’s application to a self aware review of how companies have goaded me into making justified contributions to work I’ve spent many hours in. Thanks to the Pope invading Philadelphia during my travels around the northeast I had a lot of time to think. Canceled trains, closed bridges, unknown returns provided me with ample time to continue the introspection. It led me to realize that I’m really only hung up on two aspects of the model: perceived value and ownership.
Perceived value is fairly obvious. Do I feel that the Founder’s packs are worth their entry fees? Do the items provide the benefit to earn the coin in my pocket? Perhaps most ironically and difficult to pin down, will I play the game long enough to make full use of the purchase? Or in the recent case of Blood Gate, will I even enjoy the game past the first 20 hours? Straightforward idea. Plenty of room for discussion. How do you perceive a purchase’s value in the F2P realm?
More difficult for me is the idea of ownership. I’m a long-time collector of video games having a historical archive dating back before my birth. Some items that’d even make it into the select museums. As such, ownership of what I am paying for remains important to me. You never own anything in a F2P game. You’ve zero claim most of the time, since you haven’t paid anything. Even when you do pay it’s in the Terms of Service that, naturally, you don’t own squat. You become uniquely aware of this issue when a beloved title disappears after you’ve spent time and money with it.
I realize that I own nothing in MMORPGs, F2P or the subscription model of World of Warcraft. That once I unsubscribe I lose all access to my character. I’ve struggled with the notion before. If only in a light passing. I rationalized the memories of the fun as the value.
Is this ownership concern a generational gap? Nope. I couldn’t care less about owning my music or movies. What about you?