Like Freedom, “Free” to Play Isn’t Free At All

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See that screenshot above? That’s the otherwise fun Fat Princess: Piece of Cake locking up on my poor Vita for the fourth time in the middle of a tough board (Mission 42, to be exact). A big fat BOO to that nonsense. As a free to play game I haven’t yet spent a dime on, it’s not bad at all (random freezes during play aside). On the other hand, as I refuse to buy into the micro-transaction model and complete online connectivity to receive daily rewards the game has been designed around, I’ve hit a huge roadblock in my progress that shows the failings of the F2P model in nearly any game it’s implemented in. If you’ve played the game, you know that it’s around the Happy Hills map (Mission 54, to be more precise) where the game comes to a complete stop for anyone not willing to shell out for additional content or able to connect online for certain random bonus items.

Yeah, yeah. “Everyone “should” have an always online connection these days!”, right? Wrong, and even if thy did, the fact that far too many games, free or not, are linked to this model means there’s less common sense among game developers and publishers who aren’t paying attention to that “small”amount of their potential audience they’re not getting a dime from thank to the shady business model that’s taken over the industry. South Park nailed it perfectly:

(thanks, macyosos8!) 

Now, are there any decent “free” to play titles? Yes indeed. I’d recommend Rubicon’s spectacular and completely FREE Combat Monsters in a heartbeat, although the persistent online connection needed makes it not attractive at all if you live in an area with spotty connections or simply don’t want your data tracked. That said, the developer does F2P right because you can indeed play the game for ages and not drop a dime on anything. Stuff that does cost money is priced fairly, makes sense (as in there’s NO pay to win content) and the dev team has polished it all up with a pretty addictive and thrilling game experience.

That said, It seems that the days of buying a retail or online product, registering it and never having to hear a peep ever again about your purchase or have your gaming life poked into are gone for good… but they aren’t. As long as you can grab an older not connected to the internet console or handheld and play games you like without being prodded in the pocket for payment, you’re good to go. Of course, you’ll be missing out on the shiny, shiny draw of somehow spending money on something that was advertised as “free” to play. But that’s one of those things that probably needs to to a high court to decide what the heck that word actually means in this day and age.

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