Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

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Opinion: The Death of Free Games

Opinion%3A+The+Death+of+Free+Games
Aditi Patel

Tired of being poor? Unable to afford all those cool, fun games you see your friends playing? Well, say no more! Steam has a plethora of free and fun games for you to enjoy, with only one condition: You won’t actually be able to enjoy playing the game until you have spent money on it, pretty much defeating the whole purpose of playing the free game at all. 

For gamers who are unwilling to spend money, finding good free games is next to impossible. Perhaps there were once free games that were of equivalent quality to paid ones, choosing to make money off the occasional in-game purchase from a player instead of charging to play the game, but the time of those games has long passed. Now, after a long, slow decline, the free game is no more. 

Somewhere in the past decade, these previously sparse purchases, meant to keep the game afloat, were phased out in favor of a new type of spending. Buying premium currencies in order to make Microtransactions. By doing this, you can purchase anything you might dream of. Whether it’s a cool new look for your Kalashnikov or a dance you can force your online persona to suffer through, the number of things you can buy is nearly endless. Now, in many “free” games, the majority of buttons are ones to make a microtransaction and get a quick advantage. 

Playing a game without pressing one of those many colorful and shiny buttons is next to impossible. Not only do many gamers lack the patience to not take the opportunity to get ahead quickly, but it has also become near impossible to do well in some games without paying. 

As an example, let’s take a look at a game quite close to the heart of many gamers who like shooting things realistically: War Thunder. War Thunder is a free-to-play online game where you can unlock progressively more and more modern military vehicles, and end up losing match after match against pay to win players, who hold the advantage on all aspects of the game. 

Even with unhealthy playtimes of five to six consecutive hours of neverending matches, the progress that players make without a premium account is still slower than the line for wraps during lunch hour at school. 

But there exists one way to beat the slow slog towards perfection: buying a premium account. A key concept of game development is making money, and having a free game with a premium system allows for game companies to make a steady stream of payments instead of a quick one-time purchase. 

It is near impossible to play these pay-to-win games for free, as you are required to spend extraordinary amounts of time in order to  compete with the people who have paid. 

The “free game” is no longer free due to the focus on making more money rather than keeping players happy. The free game is dead and there is no bringing it back.

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