Why are Free-to-Play Games so Popular?

Posted 19th February 2021

 Following yesterday’s Saulderson Spotlight on our very own Rocket League star Pickapixel, we decided to talk a little bit about the rise in popularity of free-to-play (FTP) video games. Rocket League is a prime example of a popular FTP game, alongside games such as Fortnite, Rocket League, Apex Legends, Fall Guys and more. Over the past 5 or 6 years, titles like this have taken the gaming world by storm; proving that FTP games are no longer ONLY based around microtransactions, but that they can be just as full and expansive to play as paid games.


So why have they become so popular in recent years? One of the reasons could be that they make the experience of gaming so much more accessible in a time where bigger more developed titles have become pretty expensive. Someone that owns a PC/Console pretty casually or even just a mobile phone device or tablet will be way more likely to give something a try if it’s free, as it eliminates the risk factor in potentially paying for something you might not like. It also opens up the potential for lots of new players that may not have been able to afford to pay up to £50-60 for one game. 


Essentially this means the more players trying the game, the more likely they are to recommend it to friends, keep playing it and even get into it long term. This could lead to an increase in microtransactions over time. In fact, almost 80% of all digital game revenues, which include console and PC games, is generated by free-to-play games – the majority of which comes through mobiles. Nowadays though, microtransactions are almost purely cosmetic and for fun, which don’t affect the players ability to play and or be successful at the game – therefore engaging fans even further. 


Overall, FTP games are continuing to engage a wide range of players, both typical gamers and non-gamers alike. The ability to try out a game for free and see if you like it means that titles are getting way more downloads, increasing levels of hype and a greater retention of fans – it could very well be the future of modern gaming!