I don't have a problem with the freemium model, as long as it stays reasonable. Yes, I said it. This is an extremely touchy subject, and I figure its the perfect one to get back to my blogging(like anyone ever reads it anyway). But I digress...
Honestly, I don't really have a problem with any of the "free" games really, as long as their prices are reasonable. I have been gaming for like 25 years(I will be 32 this month). In that time, I have watched gaming grow up. Things have become more and more sophistcated, and overall fun. Yes I said it. Modern games ARE more fun than their older counterparts.
For many years I allowed myself the elitist attitude that older is better. Then recently I went back and tried to play Final Fantasy VII. I was absolutely shocked when I couldn't even bring myself to get to the end of disc 1. Sure, I have played the living crap out of the game, so maybe I am just too sated to enjoy it. However, I really don't think that is the case. Sure, the story and music still pop just much today as they did in 1997. However, the rest of the game is just pathetic compared to most modern rpgs(let's not talk about FFXIII please).
My point is that as the technical level of games has grown, so to has their cost to develop. Sure, it is still possible to turn out amazing games with a small team or even a single person. The indie scene proves this everyday. However, to make a blockbuster AAA title it costs millions. Publishers and developers need to find creative ways to increase profits in order to keep up with the increasing costs. Thus, new sales models are born.
Now, as I said before, I don't have a problem with many freemium or f2p games. However, the costs of some are simply outrageous. Compare the cost of your average Facebook or mobile game to that of something like a free to play mmorpg. If I wanted to play for say 5 hours straight on Farmville 2, it would cost literally hundreds of dollars. Compare that to something like The Secret World or The Old Republic, where I can put hundreds of hours into them without spending a dime(minus the initial buy in some cases).
Now which game have I spent more money on? Believe it or not, it is the one that lets me CHOOSE what to buy, and not be forced into it. This is where the freemium model falls apart. I am currently playing Guild Wars 2. Granted the initial cost of the game was much higher than a freemium, but it's business model is similar. It is not uncommon for me to plunk down $20 every couple days, or once a week for gems(the GW2 version of virtual currency). The same went for The Secret World, The Old Republic, Lord of the Rings Online, and many other games that have used the freemium model.
So why am I willing to pay that much? For starters, the quality of gameplay, which is vastly superior to most of the freemium games out there. The virtual currency on those games enhances your play experience, but does not dictate it. This is where the line is drawn. When you are forced to spend money to keep playing, it becomes WAY too expensive in many cases for the average consumer.
There is a fine line between forcing someone to spend money, and coaxing it out of them gradually. It is the freedom of choice, and it makes all the difference. Gamers are going to be much more willing to shell out $10 for some extra goodies that they are just to keep the game running, no matter how fun that game may be. Sure, some consumers may be able to afford a $500 session on any of the 'ville games on Facebook. For the average gamer(and I use that term lightly) though, that is simply unacceptable. The freemium sales model is still in it's infancy. I think as it evolves, more developers and publishers are going to become better at toeing that fine line. I simply cannot see the "pay now or quit" model being anymore than a niche market in the future. Not when many games are already able to walk the line so much easier.
My 2 cents, for what their worth.