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Why Free To Play Haters Are Wrong

Why Free To Play Haters Are Wrong

Every month in Play Magazine, we take a hot topic and look at the arguments for and against. Free to play is the subject of debate this time, with Play’s Drew Sleep arguing that free to play games don’t deserve the hate they get, because they’re actually awesome. Next week we’ll have the response from free to play critic, Retro Gamer’s Darran Jones.


I have a reputation in the office for being something of a recovering addict. That addiction was a certain free-to-play game called League Of Legends.  I played that game for 1,283 hours. That’s 53 days of entertainment which I didn’t have to pay for, so let’s just go ahead and say that I’m a fan of free-to-play games. 


The main benefit of free-to-play games – like LOL or PlanetSide 2, for example – is that they live and die by their audience, similar to subscription-based MMOs. The developers for these games have to constantly tweak gameplay and economy by patching their games at least once a month in order to keep the game interesting and fair. Take a look at similar full-price games, let’s say Destiny, and you’ll find they receive a patch maybe every three or four months, and even that manages to turn the game on its head and send its community into a whirlwind of salty backlash.


 Now, I know what you’re thinking, and it’s what most haters say: free-to-play games require money to ‘win’ or they require you to grind for millennia and paying money will bypass that the time. Sure, there are games out there that do that, especially on in the mobile gaming scene, but these games aren’t inherently good games and they not vanguards of the genre. Saying that all free-to-play games are pay-to-win is like saying that like Daylight is solely representative of the survival horror genre and that’s not on.   


So, the majority of free-to-play games are found on PC or mobile, right? So what about PS4, what’s the state of free-to-play over on Sony’s console? Well, it’s surprisingly good, actually. Sony has seen that free-to-play is a huge market on other platforms and is looking to capture some of that magic for PS4. Games like Guns Up!, APB and H1Z1 are all heading to PS4 as console exclusives and I simply can’t wait.


The aforementioned PlanetSide 2 has arrived on PS4, and despite making your console sound like a wind turbine, it’s a solid game. Alongside that, you have other great free-to-play games that have already proven themselves on PC. Warframe and DC Universe Online are ready and waiting for you to fall in love with. We even have a page in this fine magazine showcasing the best free-to-play games PlayStation has to offer – turn to page 90, go learn more about PlanetSide 2.


The best part of this is that you only need one game to get you hooked. When I was in my dark pit of LOL, I only played LOL. In fact, I only needed to play that game. For better or for worse, they’re all designed around getting you addicted and once you are, you’re in for the long haul, which makes it brilliant if you’re gaming on a budget. When it actually comes around to the point where you feel like digging into your wallet, it’s entirely justified as you’ve already spent the same amount of time on that free-to-play game than you have done with a host of full-price ones. 


There’s no denying that there are a lot of shovelware titles and, frankly, mean free-to-play games out there that take advantage of players, forcing them to shell out money in order to make the games actually playable. But, there is also a great collection of brilliant free-to-play games across a huge range of genres, from shooters to MOBAs to sports games and card battlers, for you to get your teeth into. And, if you’re still on the fence about them, then you have literally no reason to not try them… they are free, after all.

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