‘Dungeon Hunter 4 and the trouble with the free-to-play fun tax’

Two minutes: that’s about how long it took before Dungeon Hunter 4’s in-app purchase system first reared its ugly head, with the tutorial explaining that equipment upgrades could be “sped up” by paying a few gems. Mind you, I wasn’t encouraged to spend any money yet; that wouldn’t happen for another two minutes, once I saw the first “special offer” on a loading screen suggesting I spend some gems on an item (evermind that I hadn’t seen much in the way of action yet). A minute later came the introduction to the Dungeon Hunter item shop, where I learned all about buying gear (it was on sale!).

This doesn’t sound so much like Free to Play as it is, Pay to Win. That’s an obnoxious business model and I absolutely detest those sorts of games. It’s like being back at the arcade and having your pocket continuously emptied of quarters, but not by your lack of skill – just by the game’s greediness.

  • Couldn’t agree more. I also have a problem with all of these in app purchases in games to buy gems or coins or whatever to continue to play. I have no problem with in app purchases to buy new levels or expansions, in fact I look forward to those & buy these when they are released, but they are a one time charge for those new levels or expansions. This constant need to ante up just to keep playing the same game is a strategy I abhor.

    Allot of these type games are very popular & receive very high ratings, so I know that my take on this is definitely in the minority, but I just will not show any interest in any game, no matter how fun it might be, that has this system in place.

    • MacsenMcBain

      I concur. I’ll pay up front, and I’ll pay for additional content, but when a game has in-app purchases to advance or enhance, I see it as a signal to move along. I’ve never been a fan of the nickel-and-dime approach.

  • lucascott

    Yep this is the dark side of games. Things like Temple Run I can earn enough coins in game to keep things going. Even Real Racing 3 if you play smart you can go without cash.

    Buy these games that pull stunts like making you pay for land or you are basically done, that blows. IAP should be used for dumping ads, level packs rather than separate games or even 99 cents to get the HD materials to play the game on your iPad and make it look pretty rather than a different app for all that stuff. Otherwise just charge a couple of bucks and be done with it