The ironic thing about free 2 play is the games can work out to be far more expensive than traditional buy once affair.
In some ways I don't have anything against them but it's really when you look at the finer details that you get to see what's on games publishers' minds. And I don't for one second believe their thinking of the poor dear developers either.
People were bemoaning all the little tat items in BF3 Premium, like special dog tags and uniforms but really, where does it end with the free 2 play model? The imagination's the limit as to what developer's can offer, or should I say publishers, as they will very much be the ones still in control. And even more so.
It's all about locking the user in and keeping them in, a bit like MMORPGs subscription model but based on lots and lots of little 'micro' transactions instead. Things you take for granted now will be totally removed from the game experience in the coming future. Again, the sky's the limit as to what to expect in terms of (the poor) player handicaps that will be written into the game if (and when) publisher's don't get the amount of revenue they're after.
It won't likely just be lack of ammo, or health or a good game or some other competitive disadvantage but something really fundamental beyond a sprint key. Such as limited overall graphics detail/resolutions settings or something. I don't know but there must be a million things you can leave out. Perhaps FPS players will suffer from malaria or something, eh? Their vision will be impaired or they'll have the trots and run around with brown trousers until they pay for new ones or somesuch.
I seriously think that the future of gaming is going to be all about control and revenue maximisation not freeing up developers or maybe even cutting out the middle man with pure digital distribution models - you can bet we gamers won't be getting the cost benefits of the savings to be had and additional (?) revenue from combating, what admittedly is probably quite a serious issue: software piracy. If you never were going to sell something anyway then that, in my view, is not a lost sale but could actually work out favourably in increasing recognition of your product and promoting next time sales perhaps, and yeah, this is fundamentally where I do see light at the end of the tunnel for software/games developers as people could potentially pay what they can afford for (hopefully) decent features:. It's better to have some revenue, however small, than nothing at all.
So, call me cynical and perhaps say I'm looking mostly at the negatives but I seriously think the whole F2P area is going to be one giant control fest. It will tie in - of course - with cloud gaming and this again has advantages and disadvantages though I think this has got to be the way we're heading. Actually, one little quirk about me is that I don't really like renting or subscribing so that definitely taints my views. Instead I prefer to own the media or hardware so I can re-watch/re-play films or games or music as many times as I like or pass them on if I'm done with them.
I like to spec my own computer and have it there rather than use my bandwidth and pay someone to stream games down to my monitor or telly. I'm not totally against the idea of doing this in future when internet issues are much less a problem (hopefully the whole world will be fibred up by then) and I'm getting used to paying for apps on my Android phone that are digitally distributed but I would be really miffed if, in future, I can't access the apps or games or music/video because the publisher says it's expired for some reason or other. And history tells us these industries like nothing more than to sell us consumers the same thing in a million different ways all the time: DLC, expansion packs, micro transactions, special (limited) editions, director's cuts, extended scenes, special recordings blah blah blah.
About digital distribution: I like it a lot if done right. Steam is good for things like sales, fast download speeds, good tech support, community stuff and variety and availability of content. And importantly, with Steam, they have a fair usage policy regarding what devices you can play the games on (Mac or PC if supported or even someone else's PC) and there's no limit to how many times you can download the game if you have to. Plus it's an excellent way to patch games and keep them up to date not to mention a better way to deal with cheats. But I really resent the fact the content isn't at least refundable or transferable at all. That's something I've come to live with but I've tied shop bought (physical) games to Steam not realising I couldn't then pass them on after so I think that's fundamental 'wrong'
. I guess games you actually buy for download from Steam isn't so bad and there obvious reasons why you can't transfer your right to play them between people (!) but it's still a bit restrictive.
Anyway, I'm ranting on and on and I would be really amazed if T2D gets this far reading. He will likely have a fit when he's sees how long my post is. So, in a nutshell "I'm a little uncertain about the future" to quote one of my favourite lyricists, Jimbob from Carter USM but I do feel all better now for having had my say. Thank you mrnelster sir. Got it all out of my system (for now), just like having a good [censored], I mean, clearout!