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Why is the freemium art style so repulsive and obvious?

01-24-2016, 03:44 PM
#1
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 176
Why is the freemium art style so repulsive and obvious?

I was thinking about this the other day and wanted to know if there are others who share the same sentiment.

I'm a middle aged gamer who grew up with most consoles and home computers and PCs etc.

Whenever I see some art style, be it on the app store or a forum or gaming website, I can immediately tell if it's a freemium mobile game just by glancing at it, it usually looks too "clean", like a flash game and super generic and cheap. I hate freemium, yes, but why is it that they all have the same generic and repulsive art style?

I could say the same for known series that have freemium versions on mobile. The art style in their mobile counterparts usually looks worse than their premium versions.

What do you think about it? Is there a story or psychological reason behind the freemium art style?
01-24-2016, 03:59 PM
#2
There is no freemium art style. Unless you think that, say, Dead Effect looks anything like Candy Crush. If you do, I would be more interested in the psychological reasons behind your perception.
01-24-2016, 04:16 PM
#3
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by squarezero View Post
There is no freemium art style. Unless you think that, say, Dead Effect looks anything like Candy Crush. If you do, I would be more interested in the psychological reasons behind your perception.
I should have specified, the topic is mostly about 2D freemium games and 2D freemium art style, but it could also apply to 3D or semi 3D games, such as the mobile Final Fantasy spinoffs etc. that actually look worse than their 2D or 3D premium counterparts.
01-24-2016, 04:37 PM
#4
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Den Den View Post
I was thinking about this the other day and wanted to know if there are others who share the same sentiment.

I'm a middle aged gamer who grew up with most consoles and home computers and PCs etc.

Whenever I see some art style, be it on the app store or a forum or gaming website, I can immediately tell if it's a freemium mobile game just by glancing at it, it usually looks too "clean", like a flash game and super generic and cheap. I hate freemium, yes, but why is it that they all have the same generic and repulsive art style?

I could say the same for known series that have freemium versions on mobile. The art style in their mobile counterparts usually looks worse than their premium versions.

What do you think about it? Is there a story or psychological reason behind the freemium art style?
I agree that a lot of the art in a lot of f2p games look uninspired although certainly not all. My guess is trying to capture the widest audience possible with the most vanilla "it's there / it looks nice" type of art or in the case of Machine Zone making games that look like a 90's RTS with less substance in the graphics but in the end it's good enough.

When you take a risk you might limit your audience including how the game looks. Also it could be devs that are making f2p games are following the successful games that came before from King and Supercell.
01-24-2016, 04:39 PM
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Den Den View Post
I should have specified, the topic is mostly about 2D freemium games and 2D freemium art style, but it could also apply to 3D or semi 3D games, such as the mobile Final Fantasy spinoffs etc. that actually look worse than their 2D or 3D premium counterparts.
To be fair, the same thing had been said about the updated FF6, which is most definitely premium.

The problem, I think, is not with freemium, but with what old gamers like you and me expect from 2D art. We tend to love pixel art, because it reminds us of the game we grew up with. Most casual gamers, however, associate pixel art with low quality screens -- not the retina ones in their new-fangled devices. So developers go for a super-clean art direction that, they believe, works best with high-resolutions screens, which we associate with Flash games.

Keep in mind, too, that many freemium game come from South Korea, and they are designed to appeal, primarily, to an Asian audience.