Free stuff is great. Whether you have a buy one get one free deal, or someone gives you some kind of gift that may or may not be the most useful thing in the world, it’s still great to get something for nothing. Now for a while games have mostly been a kind of isolated instance from each other. Sure we’ve seen stuff like sequels and franchises and series and the like, but each time it’s this sort of pre-packaged experience that we can pop into a console or computer and just have fun in for a while. With the advent of the internet it got a lot easier for developers to get those experiences to us. Not to mention how much easier it got to link all those experiences together.

From games like Halo or Call of Duty with their more prominent focus on multiplayer experiences, to the huge monolithic MMORPG releases like World of Warcraft and Everquest, games have been moving toward a very coherent and connected feel in how they provide for community interactions. And now we’ve seen an even more interesting trend in recent years: the Free to Play model.

Now there’s been this stigma that Free to Play games are just attempts at making as much money as possible through exploiting players with extremely restrictive and unnecessary microtransactions. And yes there are plenty of games that go this route, but luckily they seem to be dying out in recent years, and for the most part are in general severe failures in terms of monetization.

zynga-logo
I’m looking at you Zynga.

While these types of blatant money grabs are disappearing for the most part, plenty of other Free to Play models are succeeding in providing players with quality gameplay and content without requiring a huge investment in consoles and physical media. Whether it be through a service like Steam or other means of digital distribution or through a download on a website, we’ve seen many different genres of game provide a whole slew of interesting and new games, with the player deciding how much they want to invest in their gaming experiences.

TF2_Group
Free to Play is credit to team!

Games like League of Legends, Defense of the Ancients 2, Tera Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, or probably the most well-known Free to Play shooter Team Fortress 2, there have been plenty of examples of games that don’t require a player to pay $60 for a game disc and upwards of $400 for a console, or even more if playing on a PC. In fact, there are plenty of Free to Play games that work on lower end systems reasonably well.

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