‘Free-to-play’ games may be coming to Xbox Live in the near future, according to a ‘trusted source’ that spilled the beans to IGN.
As many of you will know, the term ‘free-to-play’ (‘F2P’) is a carefully spun half-truth. While F2P games do indeed cost nothing to play, progressing in them depends on the user paying for items, upgrades, or some other virtual doohickey to ensure they remain competitive. Such titles, like Battlefield Heroes (above), depend on players spending a few bucks here and there on microtransactions.
In other words: get ’em hooked, then go for the wallet. Yes, I find this kind of insidious, yet have also fallen for this trick in the past.
While no specific games were mentioned by IGN’s source, the appearance of free-to-play games on a console feels like a natural next step for publishers. The F2P model is already used in various MMORPGs on the PC, while social networking games like FarmVille have raked in money from the practice.