Tuesday, August 11, 2009
What if they called it shareware?
Adam commented on microtransactions: "Seems like developers get to take polished game features out of the main game and then resell it to you at a premium on a per month basis? Why not just make annoying features and bugs in the free game and then sell you "fixes"?" And I couldn't help but think, "Congratulations, buddy, you just invented shareware!".
I was recently looking into affordable video conversion software. And most of the shareware programs were either limited to X minutes per video, or added an annoying logo to the converted video. And of course they sell you the "fixes" for those annoying features or left-out polished features. Everybody accepts that. After all, if the developers didn't, people would just use their software for free, and even programmers have to eat sometimes. You get something for free, so you can test it out, but if you want full functionality, or annoying splash screens etc. removed, you will have to pay. This is how shareware works, and it is working well, for decades. So why does Adam call the same concept "dumb and ugly" when applied to MMORPGs?
There are a lot of games out there where you would be unwilling to pay $50 for a box and $15 per month, but where you would be willing to try them out for free. But sooner or later the game company *MUST* receive some money from the players. They have employees to pay, servers to run, and lots of other costs. The "what do you mean, I can't have everything for free?" attitude of entitlement of some people really bugs me.
So lets just relabel this. Instead of calling these games "Free2Play" games with "microtransactions", what if we called them "shareware MMORPGs"? Do you think then people would understand that somebody needs to pay for all the work needed to create and run an MMORPG?