What do gamers really think of free-to-play?

Last week, MCV revealed that 40 per cent of French, British, German and Spanish players felt that in-game purchases harmed the enjoyment of video games – versus just 13 per cent who disagreed (the rest either had no opinion or didn’t know).

For the UK, the criticism is more pronounced – 47 per cent of those surveyed were critical of free-to-play mechanics (versus 13 per cent).

However, players across the four countries seem to like the concept of ‘free’ games, with 43 per cent agreeing that they are good because they allow gamers to sample a wide variety of titles.

This week, we’ve broken those figures down even more, to find out if these views are consistent for all forms of gamer.

Surprisingly, console gamers are some of the users most in favour of free-to-play business models. 48 per cent believe it’s a good thing because of the variety it offers. Meanwhile, 28 per cent agreed that free-to-play games offer better value for money over premium games (23 per cent disagreed).

The interesting area is the smartphone/tablet players who do not play games on consoles or PCs. This is an audience that largely plays free titles, and as a result, they’re the least critical. However, they still agree with the rest of the audiences that, on the whole, in-game purchases reduce the enjoyment of games. 37 per cent felt it damaged enjoyment, versus 15 per cent who disagreed with that.

In fact, regardless of the type of gamer, the consensus is that free-to-play is a good concept that offers value for money, but can hurt the enjoyment of the title.

The one exception to this is with PC gamers. 25 per cent of these players disagreed with the statement that free-to-play titles offer better value for money, versus 23 per cent who agreed. This could be because premium PC games are often cheaper than other platforms, and therefore this group feels it gets better value for money from their products.

Data courtesy ofIpsos Connect’s GameTrack project

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