Re: F2P titles — one game, known as CSR Racing, which is essentially the drag racing events from Need For Speed Underground with an energy system, earned $12 million in its first month. TWELVE. FUCKING. MILLION. They describe it as a “triple-A” mobile game and while the production values are good, it’s still shallow bullshit that expects you to cough up money for energy… sorry, “gas” every so often. The devs behind it (who include some “mainstream” industry talent) made a rather wishy-washy defense of it here in response to this article, which I agree 100% with.
As Alex says, though, F2P isn’t universally the devil. F2P PC games are consistently pretty good now, and I can think of very few examples that I’d describe as “exploitative”. I’d consider the fact that you can play pretty much all of the base DC Universe Online experience without paying a penny to be pretty fucking generous, actually.
Facebook and mobile games, though? Those ARE the devil. Every time I play an otherwise good puzzle game that offers to sell me solutions, or any game that invites me to “get more coins!” I die a little inside — especially when this system shows up in games that are otherwise brilliant like Hunters 2.
One thing I’ve noticed in my current role is that mobile and social developers have no idea what the words “hardcore” and “strategy” mean. They seem to think that both mean “boring” and “poorly presented”, which means that their “core gamer” offerings are also among the worst games I have ever had the misfortune to play. I fail to understand why this is, given the quality of talent at some of these studios. I guess it’s easy to make something on the cheap then monetize it out the wazoo, though.