Opinion: Why is free not really free?

Opinion: Why is free not really free?

There have been many words spoken and written regarding the apparent lack of care taken by Apple, Microsoft and Google to protect our oh so innocent children from the perils of in app purchases and warning parents to beware of said children spending thousands of their hard earned wedge on said purchases.

Thankfully this is not one of those articles.

When I were ‘t lad I remember catching the bus to my nearest large town to go to the computer shop in order to buy a game for my Commodore 64.  After working hard at my paper round all week, I had enough to buy a game that a group of people had developed over a period of time and my money helped to fund the development of further games.

Fast forward a few (many) years and we arrive at the current situation. Now, console games are the price of a months worth of paper rounds and mobile gaming is more prominent than ever before.

This means that the younger generation more than anyone are looking for those games that don’t cost an arm and a leg and provide a few hours of entertainment.

Cue certain types of developer and publisher finding a way to make an easy buck.

Now I’m a realist.  I realise that developers don’t and shouldn’t work for free.  I realise that games cost time and money to make and that those that make them should be rewarded in the correct way.

This however does not excuse the way that certain types of game cannot be finished or played to a decent level without the purchase of some super expensive add on that can only be bought via an in app purchase.  There are games that need higher grades of weapon, shields, car enhancements, level unlocks and so on that can only be obtained by spending money.  Yet these games are offered for free.

If a game is advertised as free then it should be able to be completed without the spending of more money.

If as a developer you are unable to do this then go back to the model whereby you are charging for your software and include all the bits and pieces.  I for one would rather pay a reasonable sum for a game and be able to complete it than have to pay extortionate amounts for credits or pieces of digital fruit.  If you are advertising you game as free then really make it free to play and complete.

Perhaps then we’ll stop seeing these reports of Ginny complaining that dear Tarquin has made a £3000 purchase on a piece of onion leaf or that Tabitha has spent a small fortune on a ribbon for her pony.

I quote from a nameless colleague “Freemium is the devils work” and surely its time to make a stand against those developers that are seeking to make extortionate amounts of money and offering very little in return.

Are you a developer offering freemium games, have you had a bad experience with freemium offerings?  Do you agree with the opinion above?  Then leave your comments below or contact me at [email protected]