EpicBattleCry - Can "Free-to-Play" Games Really Be Called Free?

Recent events pertaining to the free-to-play model on mobile have sparked debates about the state of the genre and what's a truly fair description of the experience. Nico Viegas P. (@MonkeyBot9k) is curious about our take on the situation and we do our best to answer by offering up some truly free insight.

Got a question for the EpicBattleCry crew? Hit us up on Twitter via @EpicBattleAxe and tune in Monday-Friday to find out if your Q gets an A on EBC!

Subscribe to our channel on YouTube!

Follow us on Twitter!

Views: 236

Tags: EpicBattleCry, podcasts

Comment by Aaron B on July 31, 2014 at 1:06pm

Free-to-play Micro-transaction games are all about psychological warfare. They're designed to slowly chip away at your will until you give in and buy something in the in-game store. No company is out to make a game for free like tony said; they know that micro-transaction based games are potentially a lot more profitable than paid games.

Just look at clash of clans or candy crush, or god forbid, that stupid kim kardashian game. They rake in the $$$.

Comment by Adventure's Infinity on July 31, 2014 at 2:45pm

I personally think that games with microtransactions are one thing, I don't play games on phones but Smite and Dota 2 definitely run on them. The difference I think is when games incorporate microtransactions as a consequence for failure, I don't think those should be quite considered "Free," maybe "Limited Free play," and besides that I don't think that's an appropriate use for microtransactions and, NO DUH, they're going to design the game so that consequence comes up as many times as you're willing to pay for it. I think games that have a microtransaction strategy like Smite and Dota 2 are doing it right, completely optional, you can play the game all freaking day if you really wanted to and not pay a dime no matter how much you suck, but if you really like certain Skins or other characters you can pay to unlock them and then keep enjoying the game with your new swag. Microtransactions should facilitate the further enjoyment of a game, not be a consequence to keep playing the game, imho.

Comment by Actrip on July 31, 2014 at 10:58pm

It depends on how its done, I really like Blacklight Retribution but the amount I would have to spend to get a lot of the weapons turned me off quickly.  I spent $15 on the game and don't complain about that since I played maybe 7 hours worth but to get later level accessories would cost way more than $60 and the level requirements are way to high to continue.

Comment by Corax on August 1, 2014 at 3:07am

Google pretty much implemented the change the same time they made the announcement.

Any item on Google Play now says either "Free", "Offers in-app purchases" or lists a purchase price (and paid apps with in-app purchases). Which in my opinion completely the correct way to list the store items.

Now this is just how Google lists the items. Candy Crush Saga description is this, so it's not like the apps are banned for using the word free themselves:
"Candy Crush Saga is completely free to play but some in-game items such as extra moves or lives will require payment."

Comment by Joshua on August 1, 2014 at 10:09am

I couldn't disagree with you guys more.

While there are legitimate free to play games out there (e.g. Team Fortress 2), most of them are simply manipulative. They prey on peoples addictions in the same way tobacco companies do. At minimum, I believe they should come with addition warnings.

Comment by Bart Spits on August 3, 2014 at 9:14am

Taking responsibility for themselves =/= companies trying to get kids to buy stuff.I do not so much have a problem with the 'free' part of free to play games based on microtransactions.

To play the game you want to play, it's not free. So I do not consider them free per se. You could say that there is a way to play a shadow of that game for free, but to play the game proper you're going to have to pay money. But whatever, it's a grey area to me. Especially considering there are true free games out there, that are not ad based or microtransaction based. That's right, they are actually free. And you could very well make the argument that there is a consistent difference between modern "free to play" games and the games that are actually free.

The part that I have the most trouble with is the word game. Now there is definitely a split between free to play games. There are the actual games made to entertain, such as Tribes: Ascend, and then there is the vast group of free to play games that have a clear different intention and make up. Such as Dungeon Keeper. The latter are designed around manipulation of the general human mind to make it spend money and not to entertain it. Entertainment is so far removed from their intent that I do not consider them actual games. The entertainment they can (accidentally) provide is solely there because they play into the addictions that most of us are vulnerable to. It's a byproduct that you may or may not call fake. (Where does that leave WoW though? :x)

If we have to call these manipulative programs games, and if we cannot force them to at least add that they are horrible manipulative programs to their description, then I think forcing them to make their intent clear by doing what the EU is doing is the next best idea.

Comment by Michael Bumüller on August 4, 2014 at 9:32am

hi there, its quite a long time since i writting here, 

just wanted to sugest 2 things

1) not always the question on the forums will be great, thats why how bout doin once a week a 20-30 minutes bout gaming news

2) not that much of a sugestion, but!!... just wanna tell u guys, loving this format, .... its gonna take a long while til the show produces an decent incoming and wanna tell you, hang in there, let your passion drive EPC for the opcoming years

danke, und schönen tag 


Comment by Zoltan on August 5, 2014 at 3:08pm

Tony, I love you, listen to your show like it's my religion, but the constant interruptions have gotta stop man. Makes it hard to follow DK or Brent when you don't give them a chance to finish their thoughts sometimes. It's especially noticable this time.


You need to be a member of EpicBattleAxe to add comments!

Join EpicBattleAxe

The War Chest


The Axe Factor Poll!

What was YOUR take on The Game Awards
I thought nothing could've failed harder than the VGX...I was wrong0%
I think they had some technical issues but it was otherwise a strong showing.0%
Didn't watch; don't care0%
Medicore, but I think they're moving in a good direction0%


  • Add Photos
  • View All

Community Blogs

Radiophonic Sea Creatures#3: Games of the Year

Deftly avoid the flailing man-o-war because the Radiophonic Sea Creatures have resurfaced once more!

In 'The Shallows' we discuss Geoff Keighley's Video Game Awards, next gen Grand Theft Auto V, Interstellar and Her.

Then in 'The…

Announcing The Outlaw Gamers Society!

Hey gang! Although we're taking the week off from the regular show, we thought it would be a great oppotrunity to sit down and finally drop all the details on the new podcast, the new site, and where things are going from here.

There's a lot of info to share but the bottom line is that we've been…

Radiophonic Sea Creatures#2: Movies of the Year

Clean the seaweed from your gills because the Radiophonic Sea Creatures have resurfaced!

On the shallows this week we chat about Guilty Gear, the casting announcements for the Suicide Squad movie, the TV show Fargo and The…

The Axe Factor 183: Another Man Down!

Helium balloons cannot save you from The Axe Factor! This week, we check out gameplay from Uncharted 4, Metal Gear Online, The Order 1886. Plus, we discuss The Game Awards and whether it is a video game award show we can be proud of.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: There will not be an episode of The Axe Factor next week as Lorin will be traveling. We'll be back the week of Christmas. See you then!…

Radiophonic Sea Creatures#1: Captain Toilet Plunger

Watch the crush-depth needle closely because the Radiophonic Sea Creatures have finally flippered into view!

In 'The Shallows' this week we discuss the new Smash Bros on WiiU, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the movie version of Mortal…


2nd annual epic battle axe community game of the year!

Started by Raminder Singh in Site Discussions. Last reply by Abel2Disable 14 hours ago. 18 Replies

Hey Axeheads it's that time again, since last year went off with a hit I thought we would do it again. Same rules as last year name your top 5 games of the year in order. Then I will total up the…Continue

*IMPORTANT* - Notice for EBA/GTA5 Crew Membership Applications

Started by Abberjam in Game Discussions. Last reply by CornRPeople2 yesterday. 93 Replies

Greetings fellow Axe-Heads! Since the last Axe-Factor, we have had many people join the GTA5 crew ready for October. Initially we had an open policy for folks to join, but already a few "unknowns"…Continue

Going to the new website?

Started by Karoc in Site Discussions. Last reply by CheerMeUp yesterday. 25 Replies

Just curious how many Axeheads are going to be heading over to the new website, once Lorin and Brent get it up and running?I will be for sure.Continue

unskippable far cry 4 intro videos

Started by Adam David in Game Discussions on Monday. 0 Replies

Step 1:Download the Dunia 2 tools from http://www.nexusmods.com/farcry3/mods/5/.Step 2:Extract the Dunia 2 tools to any…Continue

Tags: 4, unskippable, cry, far, patch

© 2014   Created by Lorin Baumgarten.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service