News Article

Talking Point: Steel Diver: Sub Wars Proves That Nintendo Can Make Free-To-Play Work

Posted by Damien McFerran

Nintendo's first freemium game scores a direct hit

Let's all be brutally honest here — when Nintendo announced that its first foray into the wild and wacky world of free-to-play gaming was going to be an update of 3DS launch title Steel Diver, it was hardly the most heart-stopping news ever. Steel Diver was — and still is — a nice enough game, but it felt more like a tech demo than a fully-fledged release, and has since been forgotten by all but the most dedicated early-adopters. However, you could argue that this made it the ideal IP to retrofit with new-fangled freemium mechanics — if the experiment fails, then it's no massive loss.

Thankfully — as you'll know if you've consulted our Steel Diver: Sub Wars review — the gamble has paid off. The game is a surprisingly engaging take on the team-based FPS genre, with muscle-bound space marines being replaced by sluggish, delicate submarines. Nintendo has called it a "contemplative first person shooter", and that's not actually a bad stab at summing up this unique title; with no respawns and a generally methodical approach, it's a game which rewards carefully-planned strategy as much as it does quick reactions.

However, what's possibly more interesting is the way in which Nintendo has tackled the thorny issue of free-to-play gaming. The free edition of the game features only two single-player missions but grants full access to the online side of the game. While you can unlock more submarines and solo missions by investing in the premium version, it's perfectly possible to enjoy the gratis edition without having to reach for your (virtual) wallet.

This is where the genius of Nintendo's take on free-to-play becomes apparent; Steel Diver: Sub Wars sucks you in with its addictive gameplay, encouraging you to keep playing so you can boost that winning streak, increase your in-game rank and prove your dominance over players from every corner of the globe. Even if you enter this underwater battle with the mindset that you're not going to spend any real cash, after the first few hours only the staunchest of individuals will be able to say that they weren't even the slightest bit tempted to "go premium". Steel Diver: Sub Wars is much more than just a demo, but stops short of giving players so much content that they don't feel compelled to spend any money. And even if they don't decide to pony up the dough, Nintendo still benefits because more people will be glued to their 3DS consoles and locked in captivating submarine warfare, putting their smartphones and tablets aside for a brief moment. Who knows, Steel Diver: Sub Wars could even be the game which reminds lapsed owners exactly why they bought a dedicated handheld console in the first place, thanks to the fact that it's entirely free to download and enjoy.

Infamous titles like EA's recent Dungeon Keeper reboot have given free-to-play gaming a bad name, but Nintendo has been in the game long enough to know what does and doesn't work. There are no paywalls, no gameplay-limiting stamina gauges and certainly no "pay to win" elements in Steel Diver: Sub Wars. The premium subs are nice, but in the hands of a master player the default subs which come with the free version of the game can be just as deadly. Likewise, the "shop" option in the premium version — which allows you to purchase a limited selection of historical subs via in-app purchases — is a neat bonus rather than a challenge-killing shortcut to victory.

You can tell that Nintendo is still trying to figure out what works with this kind of venture; no doubt the feedback gained (how many users have gone premium, how many bothered to download the historical subs, and so on) will be used in future free-to-play offerings on both the 3DS and Wii U. This is a company which is moving into hitherto uncharted territory, but it's reassuring to see that Nintendo's first steps are the right ones. Steel Diver: Sub Wars isn't just a fine video game with a surprising amount of depth (pun intended), it's also one of the most convincing freemium efforts we've seen on any system to date.

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If you've downloaded Steel Diver: Sub Wars, have you also purchased the premium content? (223 votes)





Not yet, but I intend to at some point in the future


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Would you like to see Nintendo adopt the same approach in future eShop titles? (231 votes)

Yes, I think it's a good way of hooking in buyers without the pressure


No, I prefer to buy my games outright and get everything from day one


I think it's too early to say if this approach will work on Nintendo consoles


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User Comments (88)



Klimbatize said:

I purchased the premium version after enjoying the multiplayer mode. The online connectivity has gotten way better since it first launched, too.



Peach64 said:

I think it's a case of most users on here simply not trying other free to play games. They assume they must be awful, but of course when Nintendo tries it they give it a go, and are surprised that free to play is not as bad as they'd thought. Sucking people in with a free, addictive core game and then asking for payment for extras is not Nintendo genius, that's just the free to play model. It's similar to FIFA's ultimate team mode. I bet if Nintendo released a game that worked like that, people would be raving about it it's brilliance. There's a ton of well done free to play games out there if people just look.



ferrers405 said:

I prefer full content games, i don't like to buy microtransactions (rarely there are exceptions), but if it work, Nintendo should do more because it needs more success than lately has achieved.



Mk_II said:

"Nintendo has been in the game long enough to know what does and doesn't work.".Hear hear! And Sub Wars is an excellent example. I haven't splashed out on the full version (yet?) but the game is just as enjoyable for freemium players. And because there is no entry fee, the servers are crowded and there is always a batlle waiting for you.



HyperSonicEXE said:

Yes, but there are no ads for generating even further revenue.

Obviously any Nintendo franchise could be diluted and damaged on a mobile platform. That's been established.

But why Nintendo decided against ads in these F2P's (and only EVER in the F2P's), I really don't understand. Companies would pay premiums for that kind of marketing. It could be done tastefully too - in the F2P baseball game, make some banners and billboards.



luke88 said:

Have been so surprised by how much I'm enjoying it, the free online multiplayer on offer and the sale of Dual Destinies have reinvigorated my 3ds after a post-ALBW dry spell.



ICHIkatakuri said:

I like this model as its sort of how pc demo's used to work, and with a play limit on nintendo demo's its certainly a lot more effective.



shane1228 said:

I bought the premium almost immediately after I realized I would be playing this game a lot and wanted to support the developers and help finance possible updates and DLC and i will be honest, I would pay a whole lot more than $10 for this game. It's one of the funnest multiplayer experiences out there!



shingi_70 said:

I could probably name at least ten free to play games not from Nintendo that work.



MetaRyan said:

Man, I'm not sure why, but I think I'm addicted to the multiplayer in this game. I really want to buy the full version, but A) Thanks to the new tax implementation on the eShop, I'm 53 cents short, and B) I often randomly disconnect; of course, that problem might be on my end.



Bender said:

I enjoyed what I have played this far, and while I haven't paid yet, I intend on buying the premium upgrade soon.



CanisWolfred said:

It works because its really just an "Unlimited Demo" instead of a fully accessible game like, say, League of Legends. Personally, I'd prefer they didn't call it "Free-to-play" at all, since it's a bit of a misnomer, seeing as it's more of a starter pack/demo rather than the full game.



Bliquid said:

@CanisWolfred : i was about to write the same thing.
F2P games are full games where later portions can or cannot be hidden behind a paywall, or full games with so called vanity items on sale for real money.
As you say, this is a demo, and not one of the most generous i've seen on 3DS, btw.
Bravely Default comes to mind, where you had hours of gameplay not comprised in the full game.
Honestly, the only difference between SD and the demos on the eShop is that it diesn't have limited uses.
But surely it is NOT a free to play game.
Not by today's standards, at least.



6ch6ris6 said:

payed for premium after a few days of playing the game. i love it. the gameplay is really good.
contemplative FPS for the win !



SanderEvers said:

@CanisWolfred It's not a demo. A demo is a part of the final or unfinished game, and static.

It's also not a starter pack, for one. You always purchase starter packs. You didn't purchase the game.

It's a trial version with an unlockable full game. But without limitations in playtime. So yes, it IS free to play. It's not pay to win, like other so called freemium games.



ToniK said:

I was surprised how addicting this actually was. Behind the extremely clunky controls it's a pretty nice and simple multiplayer experience. I'm usually not interested in multiplayer at all. I have my tablet full of different games with real nice graphics and all but I actually prefer Sub Wars. Playing it with full 3D and earphones makes it pretty atmospheric even



Emblem said:

@Peach64 I think its console gamers in general, F2P is a new concept to most modern console gamers who may have only really experienced it with the recent smartdevice boom. For console gamers PS3 was the first afaik to try it with any real success and now PS4 launch window has no less than 3, each with different interpretations of F2P. Their success will no doubt have an influence on future titles.

Anyone who has been gaming on a PC will have come across all different kinds of good and bad implementations of F2P in the last two decades.
For the record of the 100's of F2P games i've played over the last decade i can safely say that most are awful, only a few good ones stand out and they are few and far between in the endless ocean that is F2P.

That said the particular type of F2P model Sub Wars has gone with is one of the better ones and the game itself is decent enough to make it an attractive package.



Sinister said:

Sry but this game is a light version of P2W. Without spending money you will not have access to the better subs.
One could argue it is a unlimited trial version but it was launched qas a F2P game so i call it P2W. It is not the worst kind tho since one purchase get you to equal footing.



GalacticMario28 said:

I definitely like the approach Nintendo took with this game. There's a decent bit to do in the free version, especially with the online multiplayer, so people can safely get an idea of what the game is like and decide if they want to pay to get more, like I intend to do next week when my classes end.



Jazzer94 said:

I don't know if this should be considered F2P its more of a glorified demo with unlimited uses but its still a good start.



unrandomsam said:

The only way Free to Play works for me is if everything you pay for is cosmetic (DOTA2) or something like the first third is free pay for the rest if you like it.

Not interested in cases where if you pay you get an advantage in multiplayer.



andrea987 said:

Loving the game, no ads, no limits for the online (which is the main attraction of the game, really), that's how you do f2p. And yet, I see myself going premium soon, once I get to a decent level.



brokenfang said:

@noonch dont -e- ven go there... lol

Great game though. I hope N supports it with more content!

"See" you commanders out there, i'll be listening...

cmmdr. ironfang



unrandomsam said:

@andrea987 The subs that you pay for are better though. The way Killer Instinct is seems better to me. One character but not objectively worse. No pay to win.



Shiryu said:

I really, REALLY love this game but can't play it properly online on my home router and the fault lies with my ISP. I think this is an excellent foundation for Nintendo free to play schemes, no crappy "pay-to-win" garbage. Hope this also gets to Wii U.



TruenoGT said:

You know, (I almost want to bite my tongue saying this) this model might work really well for a future Star Fox and/or F-Zero. Give away a modest online battle/race mode and have single player content (missions, races, etc) and more customization as a pay-for option. Could be a good way to build a big community and enthusiasm around these great franchises that frankly hasn't been big enough in the past to warrant sequels.



JaxonH said:


Anything to bring back F-Zero, even if just on 3DS. I say do an HD remake of GX with online multiplayer, and release it on the Wii U eShop. Win-win.



TruenoGT said:

@JaxonH Sold and sold. Man, a fusion of the simple elegance of F-Zero X with the ship customization of GX, and the card-based player record system of AX could make a killer budget eShop release. Throw in a basic 64DD style track editor utilizing the gamepad UI and I could die happy. Of course, a new game with the lavish production of the original GX would be wonderful, but I'd be all over your GX HD Online idea!



TruenoGT said:

@JaxonH Along the lines of the F2P model (and again I almost don't want to suggest this) F-Zero would also make a cool franchise for NFC collectable ships on Wii U. Sell as an (inexpensive) game featuring only Captain Falcon, Pico, Dr. Stewart and then have the rest of the cast available as (hopefully inexpensive) NFC toy model ships ala Skylanders. I'd love to have a set of mini F-Zero ships lined up for a race on my desk. Don't kill me everyone!



Bliquid said:

@TruenoGT : you should work at Nintendo, as it is a great idea.
But you don't, so we won't see it realized.
Unless this Stell Diver isn't in fact a testing ground for something like that.
It would work greatly for both Star Fox and F-Zero, even if the latter one would be perfect for this.



JaxonH said:


Now you've sold me. I collected all 20 Pokemon NFC figures (18 + 2 separate pre order bonus figures) just for the sake of collection. And I'm not really a big fan of Pokemon. You give me F-Zero ships??? Oh dude I'd flip out if they did something like that...



unrandomsam said:

@Shiryu It is pay to win - you get an advantage with the paid subs over the free ones. They are not just different they are objectively better.

It also has levelling up nonsense. Doesn't just reward the most skillful.

DOTA2 or Killer Instinct is a better model.



Slapshot said:

I see no genius here at all. Nintendo did a good job of bringing the F2P concept to the 3DS.

@Peach64 Yep, and EA retooled the mobile version of FIFA 14 as a F2P, by giving the entire Ultimate Team away for free - no strings attached. That, in my opinion, was a smart marketing ploy, as it kept the game on the charts for months after it released. Heck, I even spent the $10 to unlock the additonal modes, after enjoying UT so much.



Gashole said:

I really don't like all the praise this game is getting. I bet almost all of you never even played the original, as it was a HORRIBLE, BORING gaming experience for me, and countless others. The 1-player mode in Sub Wars does nothing different (but wow, it's now a first-person shooter!). It's only the multiplayer mode that has anything good in it. Nintendo dropped the ball on this one (big surprise), PRECISELY because of the multiplayer being IN THE FREE VERSION! Don't get tempted to pay $9.99, PLUS $15 for additional filler, people, we're wasting enough money as it is on that premium version with more 1-player levels. OOOOOO!



Wilford111 said:

I suppose you could argue that this game is pay-to-win because of the subs you unlocked after buying it, but it doesn't grant you that much of an advantage since all of the subs are balanced one way or another.
Plus, buying it doesn't just grant you access to other subs, it grants you access to every single-player mission.
All in all, I'm happy with not being able to pay anything to experience the full online multiplayer, but I still want to pay to not only get the full game, but to also support this kind of game in the future.



Wilford111 said:

@SuperMarioBros3 It's true, I've never played the original, but how does that even matter? I'm not talking about that game.
You're comment sounds more like a troll than anything else. I just don't see any logic coming from your comment.



cdude said:

@Emblem @Peach64 Very well put from you both. I cant help but wonder what the nintendo audience that loves this game would think of things like tribes and warframe among many many others.



Gashole said:

First of all, Wil, I wasn't even talking to you in particular, so you can eat crow for that one.
It matters that you've played the original, so you're not stupid and remorseful enough to waste 9.99 on more 1-player filler.

And as for my logic, once you pay for a digital game, there's no going back, you're stuck with it. Kinda like you're stuck with your own gullible, slow nature right now.



Gashole said:

You were just warned not to insult other commenters directly, and since you just went out of your way for the sake of doing it again, I'd like to wish you a fond farewell.

--The Mods



Damo said:

@Bliquid It's free to in the game can be played without paying money. That's different from a demo, which is usually a short taster of a much larger game.



Philip_J_Reed said:

While I don't object to the terminology, if anything this makes me feel like Nintendo has discovered Shareware. Get the first set of levels (or "episode" as they used to call them) for free. Tell your friends, have a blast, enjoy it to your little heart's content.

Then, if you'd like more, we'd be happy to sell it to you.

It was a great model until the internet and easier piracy rendered the whole thing moot...or so I thought. This is a great way for that spirit to live on, and I really do hope we see more of it.



sinalefa said:

I beat the first game, and I downloaded this one but I haven't sunk many hours in it. I am not too fond of online games, and the multiplayer seems to be the meat and potatoes here. I guess I will try it to see if I like it.



schizor said:

This game is really, really bad imo. Tried 3 multiplayer battles. Thank god it's free



Bliquid said:

@Damo: i take the example of Bravely Default's demo again, which is free and comes with a portion of game not present in the full title.
But to be more on topic of your description, almost every demo on the PSN nowadays lets you play the first one/two levels ( for free ofc, as they are demos) and then ask you if you want to unlock the full game, while on the main menù many voices are locked (like further levels and additional submarines in Steel Diver), with usually at the bottom the "unlock full game" option.
Are they called Free to Play?
No, they are called Demos.
The line is getting thinner between the two concepts, i get that.
But Steel Diver is a demo, not a Free to Play title.



brokenfang said:

@Philip_J_Reed I agree. This model actually works really well. The best part is free (online) and the paid content affordable enough for those that really like the game to enjoy even more if they want. Win - Win.



unrandomsam said:

@brokenfang Should have as much chance of winning having never played before as anybody else. Only thing that should matter is who does the best in that game. (Like any worthwhile online game).



Ren said:

I got this free one kinda skeptical and I'm super hooked. Intend to get the full version but it's actually still a fun challenge just trying to own others with only the basic sub. Once I get past, maybe lvl50, I'll buy the whole thing. Such a great game, all I can think is this has been long overdue; I hope they get the feedback they need to finally take this as a "Go! Go!" on more cheap/free games as entry into paid content, it's just a no-brainer. Clearly this model is not only for the worst mobile devs and when done it's a brilliant way to hook users on the game and the machine. I've been shouting how this should have been done on the old Wii Shop since it launched (onslaught was close in some ways).



Ren said:

And the Morse code is a crazy fun little feature that adds a weird/cool level of skill mixed in like hasn't been done before(to my knowledge).



DreamOn said:

As C. Brutus stated, Nintendo is making shareware hip again moreso than utilizing a number of F2P tactics that are out there at the moment. And I like it!



Giygas_95 said:

I actually somehow put 90 hours into the original Steel Diver. Don't ask me how that's possible. I'm a submarine-atic. When things like submarines interest me as much as they do, it's easy for me to play the same thing over and over and over again. I really like Sub Wars too!



unrandomsam said:

@Philip_J_Reed I dunno whether it was a great model - prior to the internet I don't think I ever was able to buy any of them other than when they were released at Retail. (Which I did when I could).

It was an honest model though they were never trying to rip people off and the amount of content was good especially for stuff that was different.



HAL9000 said:

I bought the premium edition because I loved the gameplay of the trial version, and wanted to support the developers of this innovative game. Populating the servers with free to play subs is a great idea as well.



khuenq said:

@HyperSonicEXE I think it is because of Nintendo's core value that it never allow such advertisement. Just think about it carefully, while having banners and ads may ensure the increase in revenue, it will produce more low-quality games because the developers will focus more on how to gain money with ads. Furthermore, with a relatively small screen, the 3DS is actually not a good device for such advertisement and soon enough, ad banners will ruin our experience for sure.

Instead, I suggest placing ads in the actual game's objects. For example, there might be a building in the game with a screen that shows logos or ad units. Of course, this method only works when Nintendo has a contract with certain company before making the game.



khuenq said:

@Bliquid I don't think so, because Steel Diver allows full access to online multiplayer features while demo games don't. This game only keep you from the fun of single player mode with limited levels and it is obviously different from the demos we're seeing on eshop.



2Sang said:

I like this idea a lot and hope it continues. It's great to see nintendo do something other than mario. However, I don't plan on buying this game because it isn't really my cup of tea.



Philip_J_Reed said:

I dunno whether it was a great model - prior to the internet I don't think I ever was able to buy any of them other than when they were released at Retail. (Which I did when I could).

That may have been your experience, but the fact that it kept a large number of major companies afloat, with minimal to no advertising costs, and fostered talents that are still working in the industry today...I'd say that's the sign of a pretty tight model.

Sure, for kids without a credit card it made it difficult to buy the full games. But for what it was the model worked, and it was self-sustaining. Credit where it's due.



BlackHearted1 said:

I've been lurking on this site for more than a year and finally made an account anyways just wanted to say i hope to see more of this, its kinda like an extended demo, if you like it you buy premium if not than well you didn't just go out and spend full price for a game you don't like.



Noonch said:


I think it does reward the better (skillful) players with leveling up and unlocking different subs. I think it's great and worth the $10. Nintendo is trying to make money off of it, nothing wrong with that. But a skillful player with a free sub has only a slight disadvantage, if any,over a paid user. Free to play, but not pay to win.



Uberchu said:

this game isn't P2W, its P2O

Because you need to pay for serious Ownage in multiplayer!



Damo said:

@Bliquid I was about to explain, but @khuenq beat me to it.

A "demo" offers a short portion of a game with the intention of encouraging players to buy the full title, which offers much, much more than is shown in the demo.

Steel Diver gives you the entire multiplayer experience, and is free to play as much as you like. If it were a demo, why would Nintendo allow both premium and free players to play against each other online?

A demo can be seen as "free to play" as it costs nothing, but it's not the correct definition. Free to play is about giving players the whole experience from the start, but offering bonus features at a premium cost. That's exactly what Steel Diver is - the additional subs are extras rather than essential, and the single-player missions are basically training for the multiplayer.



nik1470 said:

After only owning a 3ds for a few weeks this was a nice welcome to the world of Nintendo handheld gaming and I found myself abandoning my WiiU to play this instead as it is sooo addictive.
I've been using the circle pad pro which I think works perfectly with this game. I fully intend on picking up the premium version before my next holiday to expand the single player.



unrandomsam said:

@Damo They allow free and premium to play each other because premium has an advantage. I am only interested in winning a fair game. It is like a game of chess where the best player has two queens it is a waste of time. I prefer the model Killer Instinct seems to use. Or the DOTA2 one is miles better. (All levelling etc is within the specific game. All paid content is cosmetic).

There is nothing that says that a demo has to be short. (Panzer Dragoon Saga was the fist disk).

PC Shareware usually gave away the first third no other restrictions.

Demo's did used to have more content for the most part as well and no nonsense like limits.



Damo said:

@unrandomsam Premium players have more subs to choose from but as has already been stated, the subs aren't better - they're just balanced in other ways, so you can opt for things like speed and faster turning, but these come at the expense of other aspects, such as torpedo power, reloading, etc.

Panzer Dragoon Saga is a totally unique example - basically the Saturn was dead in the UK at that point and the guys at Official Sega Saturn magazine worked hard to convince Sega to allow them to put the first disc on the front so it would drive sales of the game and the magazine. If the Saturn had been in better shape that would never have happened - Sega would have spent time making a proper demo, I'm certain.

This isn't shareware either, as the main portion of the game - the online mode - is there for everyone to play. Shareware was more generous that a demo, but it still locked away a fair amount of content from the player. Steel Diver doesn't do this, what is locked away behind the paywall is stuff which is entirely optional.



Pod said:

Hoping to see a Starfox game for Wii U built in the same manner. That would be a great way to revive the brand and bring new fans in.



Bliquid said:

@Damo : i can come up with as many examples as you want to say that this is by no means what is usually referred as a Free to Play game.
But first, let me be clear: 2 subs, 2 missions, 1 Last Man Standing multiplayer mode with no means to organize with friends.
Is this what you call a full game?
If there wasn't Nintendo written on it it would have got a resounding 3.
Also, you tell me the other single player missions are optional for being basically a tutorial.
Really? Do i have to PAY for getting the tutorial in a game, now?
Don't misunderstand me, i'm not condemning the game itself, even if i found it kinda boring and uninspired.
What i'm saying is that Nintendo didn't discover hot water, and Steel Diver is nowhere near the holy grail of the Free to Play concept.
Again, there was waaay more content in Soul Sacrifice's demo (DEMO) with hours of single player gameplay, multiplayer online and the possibility to transfer progress in the full game.
You may say it didn't have all the contents found in the full release, but that would be pretty nonsense, since it still had a lot of content.
I could make a game with one character, one stage and one mode.
Could i call it a full game? Yes.
Would it be worth it? Hell no.
So the lack of content in SD can't be an excuse to call it a full game that comes for free, it's just a poor game.
Or a demo.



Damo said:

@Bliquid Sorry, but you really don't seem to understand what I'm saying here. Your points now seem to be addressing the fact that you didn't find the game interesting, a fact which has absolutely no impact whatsoever on this being free-to-play or not.

Let's take another approach to this — this clearly isn't a demo, and it's not shareware, so what would you call it?



Sinister said:

@Damo Sry but the ships you get access to when you pay are better than the ones you have access to as a free player. Alone the possible crew slots are enough to make this point.

With players of the same skill level the one that pays will win most of the time. And that is what P2W is all about.

The holy grail of F2P at the moment is dota 2. A game i do not like to play but it does everything right when it comes to F2P.
Another game that does everything right is Path of Exile.



Bliquid said:

@Damo : let's not read selectively, now. I said that my points have nothing to do with the fact that i find it uninteresting. I'm saying that the sheer lack of content makes it impossible to consider it a full game. It's a mere matter of quantity.
And i'd like to turn around your question, if you allow me: if this wasn't presented with the label "Free to Play" on it, would you find so strange in calling it a demo or a trial version of the full game? I understand that you consider the rest of the single player missions and the additonal subs optional, but are they? Without them, isn't this a extremely basic 1 mode online game?
I see people are having fun with it, so i'm not arguing that ( my dislike of the game is a personal matter, not an absolute truth), but what i think is that Nintendo is giving the wrong label to something that has been done thousands times before.
You may or may not like what Free to Play means as of today, but one thing for sure is that it's a different model from the one adopted in SD. And it's not like Nintendo can arrive and say, for example, that their new soccer game is a third person shooter.
They can't give their own meaning to concepts already established.
LoL, Hearthstone, Plants vs Zombies 2, those are good examples of what a free to play game is and should be.
This? This is a demo.



Damo said:

@Bliquid This is not a demo.

You may not realise but I also write for other sites where I review mobile games, and therefore have F2P games shoved down my throat on a weekly basis. Steel Diver is F2P - it offers a full and lengthy online experience even to those who choose not to invest in the full version. In fact, aside from the additional solo missions, "free" players aren't missing out on any gameplay - they can enjoy the game just as much as those who choose to spend cash.

A demo would only offer one online map, or only offline missions, and it certainly wouldn't allow free players to compete with premium ones. Seeing as people can download and play Steel Diver for hours, days or even weeks without having to pay any more cash, calling it a "demo" is totally and utterly inaccurate.



Bliquid said:

@Damo : i do realize you write for other sites, i've seen some of your articles on Pushsquare, a very friendly environment. What i didn't realize is that there was no room for debate in a featured post called "Talking Point" where you sing the praises of the Great Nintendo, bringing us all the divine revolution we were so in need of.
Maybe " Damo speaks Truth" would be a more suitable title for the feature.
I'm sorry i wasted your time bringing plenty of examples of why i think what i think, while not undertstanding that your repeating that this is not a demo should have sufficed my complete lack of knowledge of the topic.
Thank you, now i see things as i should, from the perspective of someone who knows so much more than me due to his writing about it.
I mean, if it's on the internet, it has to be right, right?



Damo said:

@Bliquid Wow. You've totally misunderstood what I was trying to say.

I play a lot of F2P games, and they come in a lot of different forms. Some use stamina gauges to restrict play (unless people pay up) while others offer practically everything from day one, with the developers making money from special items/power-ups offered via IAPs for the dedicated players. Some F2P games avoid IAPs altogether and instead use ads to make their revenue (Angry Birds, Flappy Bird, etc). Others give players the whole game, but lock away cool extras (Angry Birds Go being a prime example - some of its karts are stupidly expensive).

If you can explain to me why Steel Diver doesn't fit in the same catch-all category as those F2P games and should be seen as a "demo", then I'd be happy to listen, but from where I'm sitting it has more in common with those types of game that a simple demo.

It's not like any demo I've ever played before, but perhaps that's just me.



sevex said:

I think the key to a successful f2p game is to not describe it as a "free to play" game. Just look at the League of Legends site, no mention of it.



Bliquid said:

@Damo : i'll be honest, although it's pretty obvious: i didn't purchase the premium content in SD, so my thoughts are spawned by speculations on what i read from both sides( that is, dedicated sites like NL and user comments).
So i really don't know what impact it has on the experience as a whole.
You say it's completely optional, and i have truly no reason to believe otherwise.
So what is left to me is to evaluate what is there for free.
In my experience (i'm sure there's no need to use capital letters for "my"), i found it lacking in both content quantity and diversity, features that, i hope you'll agree, can fit pretty well when describing a demo.
The fact it has full online features has not a big weight, as that "full" is thin.
I guess the definition IS tricky, because while i say it lacks content, many here, you included, may answer that they have played it for hours, days or weeks while having a blast.
So, in a way, the quantity of content in SD is curiously up to the user, and you won't see me write that that's a bad thing.
Fact is, when i think free to play, i think of a bigger, more varied content (not necessarily fun, mind you) that comes totally for free.
The many descriptions you made in your last comment of what a F2P model is perfectly fit what i mean when i say Free to Play, while SD doesn't.
And when i look at what's on offer, the closest thing that comes to mind is Trial version.
In the end, i think that Nintendo could have put a little more in there if they wanted to call it a F2P game, but i guess we are stuck in a sort of "lost in translation" issue.
I had fun in discussing this with you, but i think neither of us are gonna budge, so let's just have fun ( or not, in my case) with it and stick on it whatever label we like.
Sounds reasonable?



Damo said:

@Bliquid So your issue is that there's no enough content? I think that's down to personal preference. I think there's more than enough here to justify spending cash on the premium edition of the game, but at the same time the free portion of the title offers weeks of gameplay if you don't feel like spending any cash.

No free to play game which doesn't use adverts for revenue offers "everything" for free - if it did, then the developers wouldn't make a single penny.

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