I can finally stop saying it (Gaming)

by EffortlessFury @, Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 07:32 (359 days ago) @ Cody Miller

One of the biggest issues with paid games is that you have to be willing to put down the money for something you've yet to actually play, and often times you don't know that you dislike it until you can no longer refund it. (in the case of physical sales, the moment you open it, you can no longer return it) Free to play has the advantage of letting a player determine they enjoy the product and then give money to the developer if they so desire. Even if the game's design was completely reasonable in its pricing and what it offered, this would still be more advantageous as it greatly increases reach and thus a greater potential for profit.

That doesn’t fully explain why developers don’t just use shareware then. Download a game for free, which contains the first couple levels. Like it? Pay one time to unlock the entire game.

This is a good thought, but if anything it probably comes down to being an unproven model that is seen as highly risky. The wall that appears that blocks you from the rest of the game will have its own unique effect on play retention as opposed to a F2P stamina system, for example. It's not much different than a demo, so to get more insight on this thought I'd want to look into how the industry perceived the effectiveness of demos over the years.

The main reason they're not made anymore is that it takes time and money away from actual development, and obviously corners will be cut wherever possible. Demos didn't have to lack value for their funding to dry up, but there could be more to it.

Game Pass is a decent alternative to this and is what I have always liked about it. Developers of traditional, non-MTX (save for significant DLC) games get paid and players who have the subscription have zero barrier to entry for any of those titles. Instead of whales subsidizing the cost of a F2P game, a subscription subsidizes the cost of every game on the service.

I imagine we will find down the line the economics are similar to streaming, i.e. not great. Especially as more and more games are added I don’t see how it would pan out for developers. Either that or it would warp incentives. If developers are paid by say, playtime, then the incentive is to maximize playtime which is often at the expense of fun and artistry.

I would hope and imagine that there'd be a strict upper bound on any funds sent based on playtime. AFAIK, the Game Pass deals involve a solid upfront payment, so I'd guess that any kickback due to playtime would not be worth designing your game around. Also, one of the best aspects of Game Pass is that its model aids games that aren't specifically designed around maximizing playtime in being accessible.

The key to making Game Pass work is a limited library. Things must rotate in and out and there must be an upper bound on how many games are on the service at a time. This ensures enough funding to properly pay developers for the games on the service.

Additionally, the team over at Game Pass pays a LOT of mind to what they put onto the service. They're not perfect, but they're pretty good at their job, and they most of the games you'll find on there are at least worth a try.

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