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PT Guides: Like... Freemium? You'll Love These!

Wed May 17, 2017 3:30 pm

Free-to-play is here to stay. Like it or not, the micro-transactional business model is very successful and mobile gamers have grown quite used to not paying up front for games.

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Re: PT Guides: Like... Freemium? You'll Love These!

Wed May 17, 2017 5:08 pm

I don't mind freemium in these scenarios:

- game is free for the first few level, pay once to unlock the rest
- base game is free, but if you want to also play the Mystic Island of Sintarra expansion or whatever, it's another $5
- game is free, various non-essential cosmetic addons, colors, logos, etc. cost
- game is free to see enough of it to decide, but you really need to pay a price if you want to play it (trial version)

I don't think most gamers mind those. What gamers hate is not so much freemium as neverending pay:

- games where you need some resource but it's glacially slow to acquire...unless you want to pay real world dollars
- games where your character is going to be completely pathetic unless you pay to improve him. New character? pay more...
- nearly anything where in-app-purchase refers to coins, tokens, levels, etc. - the idea of trading real-world dollars for in-game dollars

The only people who like these kind of ongoing subscriptions/IAPs are software publishers.

More and more, I avoid free games. I don't mind pay $5 or more for a game. I've probably got $75 in PanzerCorps expansions. But if PanzerCorps required me to spend real-world cash to buy Prestige to improve my units...NFW.

I can also get into games like Bloons TD5. I think it was $5 or something to play, and I've gotten very far without ever paying additional real-world cash. But you can pay money (not stupid - like $5) to get in-game cash if you want, but it isn't needed. Compare this with the rapacious business model of a Marvel Contest of Champions or something, where they routinely push $50 and $100 re-ups. If the cash is just an option to accelerate if you want, that's OK...but it's such a slippery slope that it quickly becomes "realistically, you'll need to add this game to your monthly budgeting..."

Another concern with all of these in-app models is...what if Tiny One Man Game Company, Inc. goes out of business?

tl;dr my post here is probably Captain Obvious, but to recap: it's not freemium, it's ongoing IAP or real-world-cash-for-in-game-cash that really grinds gamers' gears.

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Thu May 18, 2017 1:16 am

@raindog308--nice addendum to the article. You make a lot of good distinctions, and I generally agree with all of it.

I don't usually like freemium games, but I play a few of these and enjoy them--great guide, Nick!

I might add a couple of good free games to the list:

--Gems of War: Yep, it's a match-3 game, but it also has story-lines at each location on the map, deck-building in the form of changing your troop line-up to handle each battle effectively, and leveling said troops in different ways. The chests (think booster packs) are not hard to earn, and the more areas you complete, the more gold you earn just by logging in each day. There's even a sort of head-to-head match if you want that. It's a pretty generous game with earning rewards, a mini-game, plus high production values. To me, this is among the gold standard for freemium.

--Bonza Word Puzzle: While not as challenging as TypeShift, this is a solid little word game with widely varying degrees of difficulty. Essentially, you get a board with little fragments of words and a clue as to what the words will all have in common. You move the various fragments around to make the words with one catch--all the words must connect, sort of like a crossword. You earn in-game gold for completing puzzles and can use that to get hints or open up puzzle packs. There's also a National Geographic version as a separate game, and both offer a daily challenge.

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Thu May 18, 2017 2:20 am

I agree with both the article and the comments above that there is a distinction between good and bad FTP. It is really hard to find the good ones.

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Thu May 18, 2017 6:27 pm

I would like to add one freemium RTS game, felt like real RTS - Art of War 3 (avaliable on both major platforms). It's all about good-old fight between blue and red (claimed to be different) factions over the earth domination. It has single player campaign (with quite poor scenario but still descent one) for each of 2 fractions and, of course, PVP battle of "all red against all blue", with weekly seasons.
You can upgrade your units and your base - premium currency is bought for doint that faster. To gain it you can watch ads or install other games.
Main cool thing is the battles - they are really felt like command&conquer. Everything like on the scrinshots in the store - it's not photoshop, but actual gameplay! You build your base as fast as you can, build troops and rush to the enemy base, reconing map for money packages on your way.
Game graphics are controversial though. In-game rgaphics are great, models are beautifuland the terrain is realistic. Interface, on the other hand.. Quite toxic-colored. Not very modern. Overall stylistics not very polished, I turned the sound off from the beginning.
It would be cool if you guys write a review for it!

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Thu May 18, 2017 7:25 pm

For those who prefer simulation-style games, I'll recommend Townsmen. Free to play, pay-for currency entirely unneeded, though for a few bucks you can get unlimited speed-ups which is really nice.

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