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Not free: This is how companies earn money with free-to-play games

2022-05-18T13:15:46.911Z

Not free: This is how companies earn money with free-to-play games Created: 05/18/2022, 15:08 By: Omer Kayali Many popular video games are free to play. Nevertheless, the developer studios generate record sums. How is that possible? Free-to-play has proven to be a successful business model. Titles like "Fortnite", "Call of Duty: Warzone" or "Apex Legends" are played by millions of players. Alt



Not free: This is how companies earn money with free-to-play games

Created: 05/18/2022, 15:08

By: Omer Kayali

Many popular video games are free to play.

Nevertheless, the developer studios generate record sums.

How is that possible?

Free-to-play has proven to be a successful business model.

Titles like "Fortnite", "Call of Duty: Warzone" or "Apex Legends" are played by millions of players.

Although the basic versions of these titles are free to play, free games now account for a large proportion of video game sales.

According to market researchers at SuperData Research (via

Buffed

), 78 percent of total sales in 2020 came from free-to-play games — even though they're free games.

What exactly are players spending so much money on?

Loot Boxes, Season Passes and More: The Cost of Free-to-Play Games

Fortnite is one of the most popular free-to-play games.

© Herwin Bahar/Imago

With free-to-play games, the developer companies and publishers earn money through

in-game purchases

.

However, many gamers usually react very sensitively to it.

The so-called

"loot boxes"

that contain random content have a very bad reputation.

In addition, this random principle is criticized because it is

close to the limit of gambling

.

For this reason, EA had to pay a fine of 10 million euros in the Netherlands for the "FIFA Ultimate Team Packs" in "FIFA 21" - even if it is not a free-to-play title.

In Germany, too, the discussion comes up again and again.

Nevertheless, some concepts have proven themselves, which are accepted by the players and not condemned as "pay-to-win".

Developers therefore usually rely on the following in-game offers:

  • Additional Content

    : Certain items, abilities, or character skins encourage purchases.

    Many developers put together whole packages with the season passes, which contain several bonuses.

  • In-Game Currency

    : Players can "transfer" their real money and use the in-game currency to purchase content.

    For example, in "Fortnite" these are the "V-Bucks".

  • Faster progress without restrictions

    : Most content can usually be unlocked, but this takes several hours.

    It is much faster if you buy a boost for double experience points, for example.

Free-to-Play Games: What motivates players most to make in-game purchases?

A study published on the website

sos-spielsucht.ch looked

into the

motives for in-game purchases in free-to-play games

.

A total of 776 people took part in the survey.

The results looked like this:

reason for purchase

percentage of participants

to get the most out of the game

74%

to continue playing

48.2%

to increase the chances of winning

36.3%

to increase playing time

28.5%

aesthetic reasons

16%

Support player community

12.1%

different reasons

16.8%

Games are also offered as free-to-play titles afterwards

Free-to-play has become mainstream and more and more developers are considering offering their games for free with optional in-game purchases.

The "FIFA" competitor

"Pro Evolution Soccer"

- which is now called "eFootball" - has already dared to take this step.

It is quite possible that other larger titles will follow suit.

(ok)

Source: merkur

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