Friday, June 24, 2011

Free is No Longer a Unique Selling Proposition

Some years back I was tempted into playing a fairly crude mmorpg called Minion's of Mirth for the sole reason that it was free to play up to about level 20. This was back before F2P, before free trials, before the digital download revolution and weekend sales. Back then free gaming opportunities were few and far between.

How things have changed. Not a week seems to go by without another major mmorpg announcing that they are transitioning to a free to play model. It's not just mmos that are affected. Digital downloads and their weekly sales now provide gamers with a never ending diet of quality gaming for buttons. The rise of free high quality flash games and mobile apps have lowered price expectations even further. Today's announcement of a major non mmorpg game: Team Fortress 2 transitioning to a free to play model is particularly significant.

Of course all of these games still hope to make money either through sale of stuff in a cash shop or through advertising but the point remains that you could spend every waking minute playing high quality games without spending a penny.

In this new reality free isn't a big deal any more and is not a guarantee of attracting customers.

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