Free weekends have been around the gaming industry for quite a while now. But are they realy good thing? Let’s find out.
A free weekend for a game is usually only part of the promotion. Typically a sale comes around with it. If you play the free weekend and are interested, you are more likely to buy the game anyway. When you tag on a sale, it encourages people to buy the game even more, as if they really enjoy the free weekend, they won’t want to miss out on the sale and risk spending more money. It makes sense to right? You already have potential customers interested. Why not sweeten the pot?
Convince on the fence customers
Many gamers, myself especially, are on the fence about a lot of games. I normally never buy a game unless it has a good sale because for one I want to save money, and two even if the trailers and gameplay look cool, I will never know if I like the game until I actually buy it. Free weekends solve this problem. Playing the game for free for a short period of time can really determine if you like a game or not. If you play it once or twice during the free weekend, then you’re probably not really into it. If you play it many times, even playing the free weekend instead of your normal video game favorites like Overwatch or CSGO, then you know you like it, and will probably buy it.
Current players get bad teammates
You have been playing your favorite multiplayer shooter for months, and are winning more and more. One weekend, you decide to play a bunch in an attempt to rise through the ranks. When you get in your first game for the weekend, you are shocked and disappointed to find that half your teammates are in spawn learning the controls, and the other half can’t hit a mountain with a rocket launcher. This is one of the negative effects of free weekends. All the new people are still learning the game, some of them even may be new to the genre. For current players, it can be very annoying to have novice teammates, because they normally cost you the match. The only solution for them is to play a ranked game mode, which some players don’t always enjoy. When I play quick play in Overwatch, I’m not playing super hardcore, but I still want to win. If I have a bunch of teammates new to the game, it’s very annoying to not even have a fighting chance. Granted, the enemy team will more than likely have new players too, but all around it’s not a very fun experience for the current players of the game.
Abusing the system
Titanfall 2 has a free weekend this weekend and has had some before. I’ve played it each time during the free weekend, but have yet to buy the game. I really like the game, but I’m satisfied with only playing it during the free weekend. Although the free weekend may get a lot more players buying, if you do them too often it can come back to hurt the developer. I don’t plan on buying Titanfall 2 because there have been a good amount of free weekends, and I just enjoy them when they happen. The rest of the time, I just play another game I like. Free weekends can be great if used correctly, but having them too often can encourage people to not buy and just play it when available for free.
Overall I think free weekends are a great thing for games. It’s a great promotional tactic and lets the developer get a lot of feedback. There are a few drawbacks like creating a bad environment for current players and too frequent free weekends can negatively impact sales, but as a whole, free weekends are a plus.