You Can't Play With Us!
Why do some games feel the need to NOT let me play?
Games like Candy Crush Saga, Peggle Blast, and Angry Birds Pop that use the "Free-to-Play" model are just annoying. Most of these games are made as time wasters or something to do while sitting on the toilet.
These basic games, with a nearly infinite amount of levels, entice you to pay a small fee to continue playing or buy power ups in order to win. Since the dawn of these "microtransactions" some people have called these games exploitative, especially toward children.
In fact, the Apple App Store has often featured game categories without in-app purchases. I understand that the idea of free-to-play is appealing to casual gamers and kids. I get it. However, the majority of people who have been gaming since they were a child, find this model to be massively annoying.
A while ago, Nintendo entered the mobile market when they released Super Mario Run and let us play a few levels as a demo before asking for $10 for the complete game. A fully featured $10 Super Mario game?
Seriously, how could it go wrong?
Well, one of the problems with mobile gaming is that when a game has a continuous revenue stream through microtransactions, it can continue to release content. Even though most mobile gamers spend very little money, if any, on microtransactions, they do help produce content. That's why people continue to play an obscure puzzle game about crushing candy that looks like it belongs in a glass dish at a nursing home and Super Mario Run was a blip on the radar of mobile gaming.
This is where the divide happens between "casual" and "hardcore" gamers. The casual market basically exists as Trojan horse due to the fact that nearly everyone owns a cell phone that can play games on it. Hardcore gamers tend to be the people who are willing to buy additional hardware, such as consoles and controllers, in order to enjoy their gaming hobby. For the most part it's difficult to cross this divide.
So what is the solution to the microtransaction model? Really, what it always is with gaming. Vote with your wallet.
If you like something, drop some money on it to help the creators. If not, then don't. But also, be aware of what your kids are playing and doing on their mobile devices. There are apps, settings, and information out there to help parents keep control of this. The one I use for my kids is called "Our Pact".
Or... do what I just did... wait until the timer that replenishes your lives in Angry Birds Pop is finished. In the meantime, you can bitch about having to do so on your blog.
Whatever floats your goat.