Playing hard to get: free to play business models 101

There has been a lot of talk about free to play models in gaming. And a lot of words have been thrown around that people may not truly understand. There has also been a fair amount of people saying that games that have a fair (more on that) business models are “Pay to win”. so here are the many types of business models you may encounter.

-Pay to win

This model ONLY counts in games that feature a dedicated Player versus player experience. A model that allows players to buy items that give them a SIGNIFICANT advantage over the ones that do not, making the game unfair.

-Pay to play

a model that severly limits the players options in content until the player puts Money into the game.


A model that only offers cosmetics or boosters (these must only be able to help unlock gear or items that are diffrent but not just flatout better) in the cash shop.


As long as the game is dedicated to co-op you could offer a 100 dollar flaming dinosaur for all I care because it benefits EVERYONE on the team and does not disadvantage anyone.

Now all of these buisness models have one thing in common THEY DO NOT DETERMINE IF THE GAME IS GOOD OR BAD. Just because Zombies Monsters Robots had a huge cash grab for a buisness model doesn’t mean it isn’t a high octane B-movie thrill ride. Yeah Loadout is a little unbalanced when it comes to things you can buy in the cash shop, but it allows you too easily build some crazy fun weapons without spending a dime. So at the end of the day the progression and buisness model is only half the game and you have to consider that these developers have to support continued development of the game.




4 thoughts on “Playing hard to get: free to play business models 101

  1. quackfi

    Hi Mr. Earlegrey, I was wondering about what you thought about games that limit you to what you can do with a point system. The game I am mostly talking about is League of Legends, this video explains what I am trying to say. The too long don’t watch is that champs in league are expensive, runes (give you in-game stats) in league are expensive and you really have to spend A LOT of time playing to really get any substantial amount of IP. Of course you can buy IP boosts with real money but most people don’t want to have to pay.

    The video goes on to say how games like HotS have a much better system that lets you try champions out to see if you like them, and how you are able to earn much more points in HotS through quests and stuff. So I just wanted to know what you thought about the topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well quackfi he is right, it is unfair however i am not a very big league player but from the little i have played i have not encountered runes. However the idea of a super competitive game like league offering people a leg up others seems like a shady thing to sell. So i have a question how big of a impact do runes have on gameplay.


      1. quackfi

        Well with a basic attack damage carry rune set witch is AD reds, armor yellows, magic resist blues, and AD quints you get +15.3 AD, +12.6 magic resist, and +9 armor. Witch in numbers may not seem like too much but let me put it like this, 1 AD is worth around 35 gold, so if you multiply 15 * 35 you are starting the game with 525 extra gold. Magic resistance is worth around 18 gold per unit, and armor is worth around 20 gold per unit. So you are theoretically starting the game with an extra 932 gold.


        1. well that seems a bit unfair. This does seem like something that would gate competitive play and is an unnescessary source of income for such a large game. however it isn’t quite pay to win but it defenitley seems to make competitve play more expensive.


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