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The success of free-to-play games is 'selling feelings'

The success of free-to-play games is 'selling feelings'

November 20, 2015 | By Christian Nutt

"One could argue that an insistence on limiting the calculation of value to items that are permanent, physical, and easily listed on a spreadsheet is the real irrationality."

- tech blogger Ben Thompson

In a new post, noted tech blogger and consultant Ben Thompson examines what it means to live in an all-digital era, and points out what makes virtual item sales make sense for companies like Riot and Valve, and contrasts them against real-world purchases.

His point is aimed at a tech-savvy but game-naive audience, and that detachment from the subject matter ensures that the insights are also useful for developers who are trying to wrap their heads around the free-to-play market -- but don't quite get it.

"It doesn’t matter that it’s digital, by the way: any one person’s reality is ultimately wherever they choose to focus their attention and time, which makes games like League of Legends far more real to their inhabitants than the fashion boutiques in Paris would ever be — and far more exclusive. After all, there is only one seller," Thompson writes.

The full post synthesizes the appeal of free-to-play item sales, and is worth the few moments it takes to read.

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