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Free-to-Play Games: Three Key Trade-Offs | Don't Worry About the Vase

Most free-to-play games, especially mobile free-to-play games, use similar models to extract revenue and keep players coming back. These models work by creating toxic trade-offs that are central to their functioning. This post highlights the main three, and will act as reference for future gaming posts. Note that some games that can be played for free, such as the excellent Path of Exile , mostly do not do these things and are not fundamentally ‘free-to-play’ games, rather they are games that are free. But they are the exception, the extreme end of a continuum from ‘so friendly we just give you this great experience in the hopes you’ll want to throw us money’ to ‘ made a pact with the Canadian devil .’