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Site now heavily pro-freemium?

12-06-2015, 08:40 PM
#1
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 91
Site now heavily pro-freemium?

I will admit I've not been following the site for a hugely long time but I have for a couple of years and other the last few months I'm wondering why the site is going heavily pro-freemium? is it by accident, they pay for more advertising or simply another reason?

It's not just I who has noticed this, a friend of mine who actually got me to iOS gaming now no visits here because it's basically a freemium promotion centre (as he put it, not me)

Please bear in mind, I don't make this thread to argue or upset anyone, I'm just wondering what the reason is. (Rather than just leave and not return like he did)

I would totally appreciate honestly with your answer (of course it's also your right to tell me to mind my own business, but that's up to you)

thank you for reading this.
12-07-2015, 12:43 AM
#2
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Ibaraki, Japan
Posts: 908
In what way do you mean? We're not knee jerk violently opposed to free games the way it seems like some readers would like us to be, but we're not going to ignore cool games that are extremely popular with most of our readership just because they're free. So yeah, you're going to see a lot of stories about stuff like Hearthstone, Vainglory, Clash of Clans, etc.

But I feel like that's not coming at the expense of our coverage of paid games or anything. TouchArcade is one of the very few places you'll find huge, detailed reviews of mobile games, and most of the games we review are paid games. I'm also pretty sure we're the *only* site giving regular feature-sized coverage to older iOS games that everyone else seems to forget as soon as the jingling keys of the next week's releases sound. We have two podcasts that generally cover paid games, and we print as much news as we can find about paid games, too.

I mean, do we give more coverage of F2P games than we once did? Yeah, I think we do. And we're not interested in dumping on games just for their payment model, but I think that's the only fair way to do things. We call out games that are too exploitative if we feel that way about them. We're just not interested in harping on what is basically a tool that can be used for good or ill.

We still offer as much, if not more, coverage of paid stuff as we ever did. I write thousands of words a week about paid stuff. But yes, we are covering some things that some people aren't interested in. I suggest not reading such stories if they really bother you, and instead re-reading that week's RPG Reload.

Last edited by Shaun Musgrave; 12-07-2015 at 12:57 AM.

12-07-2015, 08:15 PM
#3
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 3,288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldgamer View Post
I will admit I've not been following the site for a hugely long time but I have for a couple of years and other the last few months I'm wondering why the site is going heavily pro-freemium? is it by accident, they pay for more advertising or simply another reason?

It's not just I who has noticed this, a friend of mine who actually got me to iOS gaming now no visits here because it's basically a freemium promotion centre (as he put it, not me)

Please bear in mind, I don't make this thread to argue or upset anyone, I'm just wondering what the reason is. (Rather than just leave and not return like he did)

I would totally appreciate honestly with your answer (of course it's also your right to tell me to mind my own business, but that's up to you)

thank you for reading this.
I'm sorry if this sounds harsh but this is just plain moronic. Our site is not "pro freemium", we've covered freemium in both positive and negative capacities since it first became a thing more than 6 years ago. We have praised games for having great free to play models and derided games for having shitty ones. We cover just as many paid games on a day to day basis as we always have, if not more.

If you or your buddy or whoever thinks there's some sort of "pro freemium" slant to our website, it's entirely a device of your own imaginiations. People see what they want to see, and if you're a "f2p hater" you're going to take special note of anything we post that's positive about a f2p game and conveniently ignore the dozens of other stories we post daily.

There are MORE freemium games now than there ever have before, and the paid game pool is always getting smaller, so maybe that contributes to that perception as well? But even still, there's more paid games than our staff could even reasonably cover, so I don't think the coverage has diminished over the years, if anything we cover more paid games now than we ever have.

tl;dr What Shaun said.

Fondle me on Twitter:@JaredTA
12-07-2015, 08:38 PM
#4
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 28
To add to Mr. Musgraves very eloquent response I would add that the most outspoken of Touch Arcade's critics on the coverage of free games seem to think that any attention given to a game that doesn't cost money is apocryphal heresy. This vocal minority spend a LOT of time in very small but public circles lambasting anyone that isn't 100% committed to the admonition of developers who would stoop so low as to charge nothing for their game. It doesn't sound like your friend is that type of obsessive cultish person, but rest assured - they exist and want to tell you why writing an article on angry birds is tantamount to throwing your journalistic integrity in the gutter.

That attitude doesn't really have a place here from what I can see. People that fit into the TA community would probably rather weigh the value of a game's gameplay quality before the value of the pricetag. If it's an amazing game, who cares what it costs? If it's a bad game then it might not be worth a download even if it's free. That type of analytical thinking that requires actually not judging by a price seems foreign to a blind FTP hater.

Also, Shaun really does write tomes about paid games. I haven't counted word for word but I cannot imagine any other major iOS focused site putting out even half as much content on premium apps that just he is responsible for on TA. You can probably tell your friend whatever site he reads now has less premium coverage than TA =)
12-07-2015, 10:53 PM
#5
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 157
Not to pile on what others have said here, but this criticism baffles us – and me personally – because it comes from so many otherwise-reasonable people, too. Because it doesn't make sense unless just giving free-to-play games attention to begin with is being "pro-freemium," which doesn't make sense. Yes, we post about popular and relevant games, because like it or not, they're popular and relevant games. And people like reading about them! But we post a ton about paid games, and cool indie games both free and paid. We're not pro or anti-f2p, we're pro-talking about cool, relevant, and/or interesting games.

I gave three and half stars to your favorite game.
12-07-2015, 10:56 PM
#6
Joined: Nov 2013
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Posts: 2,264
I'm not gonna lie and say that I agree with some of the reviews, as I don't have to, but I've never seen an article that bows down to freemuim gaming and hold it up like a God.
12-08-2015, 02:15 AM
#7
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Europe, CET
Posts: 2,467
I find it more than a little ridiculous that this topic exists at all, and that our good TA writers are expected by certain people to justify themselves.
Even more so when the tone of the inquiry comes across less as "why do you write more about roses than tulips in Garden Today?" ; but rather as "why do you support genocide, global warming, and killing puppies?"

There's a simple solution: If you don't like it, stop reading.

Last edited by Nullzone; 12-08-2015 at 03:47 AM.
12-08-2015, 09:31 AM
#8
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 1,565
I don't think this site is pro-freemium however there has been some editorials that have... how to say it delicately.. brought up the virtues of freemium. I don't necessary feel the editorials opinions slant the content of the website or the reviews. But I can see how it would annoy people who aren't fans of freemium. It's hard to deny that the gaming industry as a whole is tilting towards more steady revenue steams. Freemium, F2P, episodic, and subscription based purchases are all examples of it. Mobile has been on the forefront of this trend and has also taken the lion share of the criticism.

Follow me at @bitGamerX for video game news and reviews.

My favorite video game genres include adventure, board, 4X, roguelike, space sims, and strategy games.

Last edited by klink; 12-08-2015 at 01:26 PM.
12-08-2015, 01:11 PM
#9
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,711
What's always fascinating to me about this criticism is that we still post about all sorts of games, with a ton of emphasis on niche premium titles, to the overall detriment of the traffic of our site. Like it or not, more people are playing iOS games than ever, and the vast overwhelming statistical majority of those people are playing popular free to play games. Those people want to know about Clash of Clans updates, Hearthstone deck lists, and other similar stuff. Clash of Clans is an extreme example, but posting a quick news story surrounding one of their update teaser videos generates anywhere between 50 to over 100 times the traffic of any other article we'll post that day.

In the interest of providing something for everyone, we're still consistently posting in-depth content about all sorts of things, but all that content is being wholly subsidized by the popularity of free to play posts. In actuality, people like this should be happy we're posting about popular free to play stuff as that's what's largely paying for the other content types you care about.

To be more specific, the Clash of Clans Town Hall 11 articles we've posted about (which have made people who hate free to play quite angry) so far saw over 400,000 unique page views this month alone. The Aralon 2 review saw just under 7,000. I promise it took more time for Shaun to review Aralon 2 than it did for us to write the dozen or so Town Hall 11 update news posts. Additionally, the more hardcore a game is, the fewer people read about it. 7,000 page views is on the supreme low end for a review for us. I knew articles about the game wouldn't perform well, but I still had writers exhaustively cover it anyway because it's an important title, something that a subset of our audience cares about, and Crescent Moon Games is a valued member of our community.

By not going whole-hog into exclusively covering free to play games, we've actively made things harder on ourselves, leading to us needing to do things like the TouchArcade Patreon, our TouchArcade Deals thing, and the new device buyback stuff to make ends meet. The business of running a web site involves generating as much traffic as you can so you can monetize it to pay for the content you're producing. Things would be way easier for us if we did have a pro-freemium bias, as we wouldn't invest so much time in producing content that not many people read and instead exclusively focus on things that are ultra-popular and generate loads of clicks.

Unfortunately, people with this mindset of "Argh! TouchArcade loves free to play!" really only see things in the most extreme black and white. Any coverage on free to play stuff is too much for them. I'm not sure what to do about that, as I think the balance we've struck so far has been great in that we're treating both the significantly smaller audience who like hardcore niche titles equally as we do the much larger audience who loves reading about popular free to play stuff. It seems pretty unfair to insist we only cover games you like, particularly when your tastes are in the extreme minority compared to the rest of the realistic market of iOS gamers... So, as much as I hate to say it, if you want to believe in some kind of grand conspiratorial pro free to play bias around here and it's making you leave the site, well, you won't be missed.
12-08-2015, 02:08 PM
#10
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by klink View Post
the gaming industry as a whole is tilting towards more steady revenue steams.
see, I could say that you are pro-freemium just for saying this. Of course it would be dumb to do so, but suggesting TA editorials are pro-freemium requires the same sort of selective confirmation bias shenannigans.