Free to play games: the great socialist victory

Free to play games, or “fremium”, if you will, is all the rage in the game universe. If you want a free videogame to play, you have a lot of options, if nothing else, log onto Facebook. I’m sure you’ve been barraged with hundreds of messages asking for your helping poking chickens or planting settlers.

The thing is, people spend money in these free games. They spend a lot of money. Like, fuck tons (metric, not imperial). I think developers make more money by making their game free, and then charging money for, say, a hat. Or a weapon. Or the ability to log in. They must be making more money, the games aren’t free due to altruism.

Here’s the tricky part. Not everyone pays the same amount of money back into these games. Look at this chart (from joystiq):

This is beautiful. People at the height of their earnings potential pay way more than those with lower incomes. The 35-54 crowd (ostensibly those making the most money) pay in twice as much as they play. The 25-34 crowd is hot on their heels (or heals, if they play a stupid class) paying in 5/3 over their playing ratio. Simply put, wealth is being redistributed from those with more of it to those with less of it. It’s not even necessarily a response to having less time to play; 18-24 year olds have jobs, go to school, and possibly even do both. They simply have less money to spend.

This is great data to have. Perhaps we could fix our healthcare system by making it free to play. Just imagine, anyone can go to the hospital… but if you want a gown, it’s for “premium” members only.


Free to play games: the great socialist victory

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