Back in the 80’s, playing games only cost a quarter for every five to ten minutes of gameplay. In the late 80’s & 90’s, retail game sales took over the industry as people would rather purchase a console than play at some arcade in public. Other than the digital revolution for downloadable sales, nothing has changed for game sales other than the fact that more games come out on a weekly basis than anytime previously. What if you can change the way people pay for games?
This isn’t a revolutionary idea as free-to-play games has become a large part of the industry. Games like Furcadia & Runescape created a market that is now even being utilized by big corporations such as EA for Star Wars: The Old Republic. What is a different way that hasn’t been done before? How about gamers getting half of a retail game for free and if they decide they like it, they can buy the second half?
Back in 2009, Microsoft attempted to give away the first fifth of Fable 2 in an attempt to get gamers to purchase the last four-fifths for more money. The tactic didn’t work and sales for dividing the game into episodic form failed. Recently, Sony released the first two episodes of The Walking Dead game free for Playstation Plus subscribers. I contacted the PR at Telltale games three weeks ago but I never got a response back on the sales data for episode three comparing to the first two. I believe that since gamers were given a chance to play the first two episodes for free that many of them would have purchased episode three.
Purchasing portions of a game’s story is interesting and all, but a lot of gamers these days often don’t really play all modes of a game, they choose to ignore either the single player campaign or multiplayer mode, depending on the game. At my baseball job, I talked to several of my coworkers and found out that they purchased Call of Duty: Black Ops just to play the zombie portion of the game. They could care less about the competitive multiplayer & single-player modes, they just wanted to blast zombies. When Bioshock 2 came out, some ‘Irrational’ fans were irritated that some of the development cycle was taken away from working on the single-player experience to work on a multiplayer mode.
Game modes were not made available to purchase on their own until
now earlier this year with Killzone 3. Last month, Lightbox Interactive followed suit by releasing their newest game Starhawk which is a sequel to the popular PS3 multiplayer vehicular shooter. If you want to buy the whole game, it’ll cost you around forty bucks but if you just want the multiplayer you can get that for twenty. Playstation Plus subscribers also got the chance to get the single-player mode for free.
How cool is it that now we can purchase the parts of games that we do want and ignore the parts we don't? There are still plenty of new and different ways to purchase games but if successful,
Starhawk's Killzone 3 and Starhawk's method might start a trend. We'll just have to wait and see.
Edit 11:07pm: Included Killzone 3 info - O.G.