#2) To Be Honest, I’d Rather Look At Ads
Yeah, it’s a minute I’m not gaming, but I can do what humanity has always done when faced with an unskippable ad: get a snack, urinate, send a text message. Is it annoying? Absolutely. But it does take this mechanic of selling stuff out of the equation.
#1) If You Have To Sell Ads, You Have To Make Games People Want To Play, Not Skinner Boxes
Most F2P games stink because they either relentlessly push you towards buying stuff, and do so via blatant attempts to play off your psyche. For those unfamiliar, a Skinner box is what you use to train an animal via operant conditioning. For example, if you show a rat that if he presses a button, he may get a pellet of food, the rat will hammer that button constantly.
It’s true that early arcade games were pretty much like this, but we’re well beyond this as a gaming experience at this point. And frankly, the attempts to do this are so blatant in F2P games most of the time it’s insulting. This is what Blizzard tried to do with Diablo III, only to discover it didn’t work.
But, if developers instead are inspired to create rich, open worlds that, if we want to, we can buy, and if we don’t, we’ll still sit through the ads to play the game… well, it’s hard to see a loser in any part of that scenario.
Seriously, Square Enix didn’t pick Hitman: Blood Money by throwing a dart into their library. They picked a beloved entry in a popular series for a reason; it’s an episodic game that people want to play more of. It’s a really good TV series.
So, really, what do you want? Crap games that try to get you hooked and squeeze your credit card one nickel at a time? Or developers trying to make the most compelling game possible?
Of the options the game industry will give us? I’ll take door number two.