Why Free-to-Play Game Platforms Work for Developers

The free-to-play platforms have gained a significant amount of popularity among the gaming community. This is where a developer produces a game that can be played for free but has the capacity to offer more for those that spend money. For instance, many first-person-shooter games are available on Steam. Using real cash, you can get in-game money that allows you to buy equipment upgrades and other goods available only to those using that form of currency. Instead of charging $60 for a game per a single player, the game has the capacity to generate more income through these in-game purchases.

Team Fortress 2 is a highly popular free to play game available on Steam

Engaging a Larger Audience

By offering a free game, you’re able to engage a larger number of people than what you could otherwise. While many game players may not have the $60 upfront to purchase a game, a large portion will have a few extra dollars to purchase in-game gear and equipment. This income is money that wouldn’t have been generated otherwise. Although a small purchase of $1.99 may not seem like a big deal, consider the number of people that are purchasing in-game items in order to enhance the experience.

Changing Platforms

Many titles that were once pay-to-play have converged to the free platform as the possibility for greater revenue is apparent. By analyzing their business structure, technology and future needs, these businesses realized how much of an impact the free gaming market has made. One of the most notable games that has made this change is Sony Online Entertainment’s, EverQuest. Although expansion packs are regularly developed that are not free, the bulk of the game is available for everyone. This game was once a purchasable title including a monthly subscription fee. While the upfront purchase is no longer required, the monthly subscription fee provides for an enhanced gameplay beyond the in-game purchases free players can obtain.

The Marketing Aspect

As free titles are attractive to any game player, the free-to-play platform offers an excellent opportunity for marketing both brand and game. This is apparent with Riot Games, the company that developed the extremely popular, League of Legends. Both game and title are now common elements for millions of people whether they are players or watchers. Aeria Games increased its popularity after the FPS hit, Wolf Team. Now, Aeira produces a variety of titles ranging from MOBA games to anime MMORPG. Without sacrificing gameplay or graphics, these companies amassed an incredible amount of popularity as players could enjoy themselves for free while being engaged.

As more developers put time and effort to build a free game that is alluring to the masses, big corporations such as Sony have had to modify strategies in order to compete. By offering a free platform, virtually anyone can play the game while providing a way to encourage extra revenue streams. As in the example above, the person spending $60 for a single game often spends more than that inside the free-to-play platform over the course of his or her play. For many, it’s a win-win situation where players get to be entertained and developers make enough to continue building world-class businesses.

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