Towards a free-to-play gaming future

Posted by David Konow

We've spent quite a bit of time in recent weeks analyzing the "free-to- play" gaming phenomenon.



It certainly should be interesting to see how the trend develops, especially with a really big gaming season - led by Halo 4 and CoD: Black Ops 2 - coming up this Fall. 

At first, the reaction to piracy reminded me a bit of the Napster crisis that hit the music business, except it seems as if the gaming industry is dealing with things in a much smarter way than the music biz did.

 
The music business refused to try and find a way to work with the reality of unauthorized downloads - and ultimately the major labels lost the fight. The gaming industry, however, is taking a different approach by hoping it can benefit from gaming instead of hurting it. And apparently, this can help new games like McPixel succeed.
 
As Cinema Blend reports, McPixel is "a devilish adventure full of crude humor, hilarious hijinks and a quest to get rid of bombs in the most ridiculous ways imaginable." That description alone makes you want to play it, no? You can buy McPixel, but its popularity also grew on the torrent sites, and the game's creator, Sos Sosowski, has helped with promoting the game on the free sites.
 
Sosowski told Blend, "I know that not everyone can afford entertainment. But everyone needs it. Even though I make games for a living, I am most happy just to see people enjoy them. So today, you can download a torrent of my game. And if you like it, throw some coins in my general direction." 



And one hopes that the fans will indeed pay to play the game because they'll understand how hard it is for an artist to launch something and try and make money back for all your hard work.
 
Again, it's interesting to see the gaming biz not fighting free-to-play, but fighting fire with fire, or as the other cliché goes, they may be doing a "can't beat 'em, join 'em" strategy that could benefit games and the industry overall if it all works out. 

It's a given that whenever anything hits the streets, whether its a movie, an album, a book, or a game, somebody'ss going to buy it used or get it for free somehow. But if enough money gets back to the creator, especially via in-game purchases or a subscription, well, the F2P model will likely prove its worth sooner rather than later.