The term free-to-play (often seen as F2P) is often seen as a dirty word in gaming, mostly because of what major publishers have done with the whole world of F2P on mobile phones, tablets and with social games on Facebook and such. There have been some cool F2P games in the realm of PC over the years, but when there is such a rich library of better games to play like on PC, they often get swept aside.
Sure, I think that Planetside 2 is a really cool game, but then again, so are Battlefield 4, Rising Storm, Insurgency and the host of other shooters that I have at my disposal at any given time. Planetside 2 is a nice distraction, but I have options and nine times out of ten I’m going to choose the game that doesn’t require me to spend more money to be able to get better weapons and perks. Interestingly enough, when it comes to a system like the PlayStation 4, I’ve found that F2P is what I’m turning to more and more. In fact, in the many months since I’ve had my PS4, the games that I’ve played the most have been F2P games.
Most of these games that are F2P on PlayStation 4 are, interestingly enough, games that are available on the PC. Warframe, War Thunder, DC Universe Online, the upcoming Planetside 2 PS4 release and whatever else will be coming down the pipe. They were PC games first and console games now, but for some reason, maybe the need to find a reason to justify a purchase of a next gen console, they are the games that my friends and I find ourselves booting up together.
Battlefield 4 is absolutely available on PlayStation 4, but I’ve heard so many negative things about the game on next generation consoles (and had a ton of problems with it on PC) that justifying another purchase of it just isn’t gonna happen. My day one PS4 purchase was Killzone: Shadowfall and there just aren’t enough people playing it, nor is the game all that fun compared to the alternative, F2P options. Then comes the fact that due to how atrocious the single player campaign is and how limited the multiplayer is, most people don’t want to buy a game that they’ll know will be just “okay.”
Free-to-play is, well, it’s free. The only thing you have to worry about is time invested to download and play the game. If you like it and want more you can feel free to buy some in-game money to make your life a bit easier, but even then, you don’t need to really do that if you are having fun with friends. My group has had a blast with games like Warframe and War Thunder thus far, with each of us even invested about $10 apiece on each game just to check out some of what you can get in the game.
Traditionally speaking, console launches are usually met with serious droughts in games, but on PlayStation 4 the F2P selection has really put some ease on that. Granted, it might be a bit sad that I’m looking forward to a console release of Planetside 2 over most of the announced triple A titles coming in the fall, but it also shows that Sony’s strategy of pushing F2P games on the PS4 was the right move. It’s infinitely easier to ask a friend to download a free game to have a game in common to play than to ask them to set down $60 on a game they might not otherwise care about for that much money.
This could also be a good thing for F2P games in general. F2P games have found a new home on consoles and in a way, they feel “right” on a controller in front of a television.