Free-to-play and freemium games: What’s the difference?

The terms ‘free-to-play’ and ‘freemium’ are often used to describe games, with the two terms sometimes used interchangeably. It is certainly true that there are similarities between them and it is not always easy to see where the line should be drawn. But there are also some differences that can help you decide what category a game fits.

Is there any cost?

The apps that are free to download to a tablet or smartphone and web-based games that are free to access and have no additions to buy are easy to categorize. Many apps, such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku, are like this, as is the phenomenally successful web-based game Wordle and its spinoffs. Fairly simple in their structure, there is no financial element at all and they are certainly ‘free-to-play’.

However ‘free-to-play games can have some in-app purchases. These can enhance the game but are not essential. Examples include a limited number of lives in any given time period, but there is the option to purchase additional lives if you want to keep playing or you might be given a basic avatar for an adventure game, but in-app purchases allow you to acquire different skins. But for those who choose not to pay for any extras, the game is still complete.

Essential in-app purchases

A freemium game might have a basic game that can be played without any cost, but you may only be able to play to a certain level and need to purchase additional levels. Another example is that you can play the basic game to its completion, but in-app purchases unlock other features that make the game more immersive. This can be helpful for gamers who want to try a game before spending money. If you enjoy the game, then you have the choice of paying to take it to the next level, while if you do not, then you have discovered that without cost.

Free-to-play versions

Some freemium and payed-for games have free-to-play versions. This might be used for gamers to try a game before laying out money or they may be directed at a different kind of gamer. A good example of this can be seen in the online casinos. Many of these have free-to-play versions of their games that can be played without any real money being lost or won. These are ideal for those wanting to try a variety of online casinos before settling on one they like best or for gamers who enjoy the thrills of the casino but have no wish or means to risk real money.

These free-to-play versions are often of a high quality and are fun to play. For those who want the thrillthat the financial gamble brings, the freemium or payed for options bring the excitement of a real-life casino, often with bonuses and rewards. Vegas Bonus 360 is a site with a casino bonus search so that you can easily locate the best bonuses currently on offer.

Which is best

While we can all enjoy something for nothing, it is impossible to say if free-to-play games are better than freemium or vice versa. Ultimately it comes down to personal choice and many gamers will play a mixture of the two.

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