Free isn’t tempting any more April 30, 2011 cliffski I read an interesting, I may even say *insightful* post on a website recently. No wait! stop! I really did! It was a debate about a new game, which had been released as ‘Free To Play’. There was some comment along the lines of how this was great because it meant there was no barrier to trying the game in this case, and that posters A and B would check it out. And then came the genius of poster C, who said something like this: “So? Free isn’t a big deal any more. There are too many free / very cheap games. I have to weigh up whether the game is worth my time, rather than care about the cost”. And I think this is going to be an increasingly popular view. I don’t blame people who put games on 90%-off sales. and I don’t blame people who immediately impulse-buy a game they haven’t even seen a video of, because it’s 90% off and sounds like it might be fun. I know how we have got where we are. But where we are may not be sustainable. A lot of gamers now complain about a huge game ‘backlog’. Games they bought for $1.99, which claim to have 30 hours of gameplay. There is this big thing of ‘backlog guilt’ where people try not to buy new games until they play all the ones from the past sales. It hasn’t happened to me, I’m very critical of games and only buy maybe 6 a year. The last two games I bought I played for maybe 8 hours combined. I do, however have absolutely no feeling that I *should* go back and *finish* them. I got my moneyworth, it’s not like I ‘owe it’ to the game makers to finish them. Most portals 2 buyers don’t finish the game, according to valve. Clearly I’m a freak, and atypical, so going back to all these people with a big backlog of games and not enough time to play them, I think (hope?) we may see a change in mindset to this: “I have limited free time. I enjoy games. I want to spend my limited free time getting the highest quality entertianment as possible. The fact that some games are very cheap is not an enticement, if I can afford to spend my limited free time playing the non-cheap stuff, and still have enough money to fill my free time in this way”. It’s the way I think about food. I can afford to buy good food, and I know that there is only so much food I can buy, so I tend to spend more money than I have to on food. I don’t agonise about the economy / luxury decision when it comes to a chocolate cake (mmmm cake), because even if the economy cake is mega-cheap, there is only so much cake I can eat, so it may as well be good cake. Do you think like this? or are you still drawn towards a game because it’s $0.99, even if you know it’s not as good as the game next to it, for $5.99…?