Free-to-play as a model has a very negative stigma at the moment, but it's not an inherently evil mode of monetizing games. The concept of letting players try games for free and invest if they like it is an inherently noble premise. What we're seeing though - and where the negativity comes from - is a corruption of this idea where publishers and developers consider the process an excuse to get as much money from customers for every feature of a game.

Through demos, expansion packs, and other age-old practices, we've seen how this method can work in a way that doesn't make the customer feel like they're in an ever-costing treadmill. The trick of the matter though is in providing real benefit for the investment, one that doesn't feel like a cheap pay-to-win situation or one where players feel the need to consistently invest to make the most of their first investment.

Expanding our minds about the free-to-play model (both as developers and consumers) could mean a future where the next generation of games offers an infinite number of new, free experiences with players investing heavily in those they genuinely enjoy. Customers win by getting a very tailored experience for their money, and developers who capitalize on providing that tailoring well could walk away with a lot more money than a simple $60 sale.