What’ll Get Me to Pay in Free-to-Play Games?

lh_wildstar_f2p_purchaseIn general, I’m a major purchaser of everything video games. I’ve kickstarted a fair share of titles, the latest being Bloodstained. I grab magazines, retro titles and items, Collector’s Editions and far too many versions of 3DS. Yet F2P games have made little dent on my budget. Comparatively, that group of purchase may not register higher than rounding over the course of a year. Perhaps most shocking is that I truly don’t know why F2P games take ~<1% of my gaming budget. An obscene inverse relative to how much I play them. This general lack of interest flies in the face of my former role as a Community Manager where I helped get millions of other players to purchase in-game currency.

I can count on one hand the amount of free-to-play purchases I have performed this year. Or I could use a goose egg. It’s that bad. Over the years the genre has flourished, it may be two hands. What has made me pull the trigger? That’s secondary to the important question; why haven’t I been pulling the trigger?

Well, first, it’s important to note that those purchases are spread across the F2P gauntlet, from titles like the just-closed RaiderZ to the twitch-based insanity of SMITE to the frenetic Brawlhalla. Clearly, genre isn’t a defining factor. So what is? Checking the recent purchases I recall shows a trend. That trend is perceived worth of the purchases. There are no time-limited items outside of inexpensive buffs. There are no cosmetic items. Certainly no pay-to-win investments. There are even few convenience items, like those inexpensive buffs that aid in experience gain and such.

What I’ve time and again purchased is content. Content that won’t disappear. More commonly, it’s content that’ll come in the future. I’m so deftly referring to Founder’s packages. I’ve repeatedly purchased Founder’s packs were I felt the value offered warranted the price. Perhaps one of the best purchases was of SMITE’s.

That value keeps on giving. Although that may have not been the greatest financial move on their part.