Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a well-made free-to-play game any day over a rushed AAA game made by a company who cares for nothing more than petty cash. But changing a game’s price from paid to free can ruin it irreversibly, and here’s how.
How Making a Game Free Ruins It
Arguably speaking, making a game free means that anyone is entitled to download it, right? Right. And that means regardless of their behavior and / or use of illegal third party software, if the game’s anti-cheat isn’t regularly updated, hackers, toxic gamers and generally anyone that makes the game a lot worst gains access to it. And this isn’t just an exception or two, this has happened many, many times. Don’t believe me? Look at ‘Team Fortress 2,‘ or perhaps even the iconic ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive‘ that experience a 300% increase in player bans on December 2018, coincidentally the time that ‘Valve‘ decided to make their game free.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
-George Santayana (16 December 1863 – 26 September 1952)
The Case With ‘Team Fortress 2’
First case, ‘Team Fortress 2.‘ Before ‘Team Fortress 2‘ went free-to-play, players all around the world are enjoying an almost toxic-free and non-hacker gaming environment. Unexpectedly, when it went free-to-play, the quality of players in the community didn’t quite went down. Instead of hackers and toxic trolls that the paid community had expected, an influx of new players joining the game meant that ‘Team Fortress 2‘ stayed relevant and alive in the market for much longer than it was expected to. Don’t get me wrong, this might happen to ‘Team Fortress 2‘ exclusively because people generally play the game casually and not as competitive as other online AAA games.
The Case with ‘CS:GO’
Unlike ‘Team Fortress 2,’ ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive‘s’ reputation took a huge hit when their developers, ‘Valve,’ decided to make the game free-to-play. Instead of an influx of new players that genuinely showed interest in the game, there came a 300% increase in hackers, toxic-players and other terrible players that ‘Valve‘ banned in the December of 2018. Ever since, that number has rose slowly yet steadily. And it isn’t just ‘Valve‘ experiencing these changes either. The community itself who have paid for the game before it went free-to-play has also aired their discontent. And I, myself, as someone who has paid good money for the game, feel this change. I’d say ever 1/2 match that I join, there’s either a hacker in the enemy team, trolls in mine, or toxic-people in both team.
My 2 Cents
Alright, listen. Before you go on and berate me for anti-free game activism, let me voice my 2 cents and you can hate me all you want. From my experience, if a game is free-to-play, keep it free to play. If a game is paid, keep it paid except maybe for a promotional event. Why? Because like what happened to ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,‘ making it free can bring in an influx of both hackers and toxic people. We paid good money for an enjoyable gaming experience only for it to be ruined by free-to-plays? Nah. That doesn’t sound like something I’d enjoy.