Free games are the real work simulators

Although there are many simulation games that provide virtual facsimiles of real work, such as house pinball and PowerWash Simulator, real job simulators are free games. Games that offer free entry but generate monetization through microtransactions often reward players for logging in every day. While this may seem like an incentive, it could be seen as negative reinforcement for missing a day, as many games offer superior rewards for uninterrupted streaks. Players of freemium games often refer to “doing their dailies”, a description of the daily rewards that many games offer for completing certain repetitive gameplay-related tasks, which is eerily close to knocking a clock.


When releasing a new game without a purchase price, gaming fans rightly wonder about the actual costs involved. The recently released game Tower of Fantasy is free to download and play, but its gacha mechanics entice you to spend money. Every day when a player logs into games like Genshin Impact Where Marvel Strike Force they see various advertisements for ongoing promotions, most of which encourage spending real money either directly or implicitly. By motivating players to log in daily, these games have more opportunities to advertise their rotating promotions to the player base, which increases the likelihood of spend.

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Microtransaction models raise ethical questions and ruin the fun

A variety of Diablo Immortal characters, all under the game logo.

There are certainly questions about the value and ethics of free games, such as Diablo Immortal faced intense scrutiny when players analyzed the math behind its late-game progression mechanics. The merits of the microtransaction model aside, the method of keeping players coming back day after day is also dubious. Video games are a form of entertainment. Once a player feels compelled to log into a game just to continue a streak and claim a daily allowance of perks, like Genshin’ ImpactThanks to the daily check-in rewards system, the activity turns from a fun hobby into something that definitely feels like a job.

Many games arguably follow the same pattern as a career. Nearly every RPG features tangible progress achieved through hard-fought battles, much like a rank-and-file employee’s nine-to-five grind. dragon quest players routinely master the Mage and Priest job classes to advance to the higher Sage job, which is the progression from entry-level positions to management. Yakuza: like a dragon leaned satirically on the comparison, as players traveled to Japan’s real job placement service, Hello Work, to switch classes.

Gaming fans are no strangers to amassing wealth in Grand Theft Auto games to buy clothes and cars. Despite the ubiquity of game mechanics that mimic a job in some way, free games manage to feel more of a job than anything else. papers please put the player in the role of an immigration officer checking documents, and house pinball fans struggle to satisfy unreasonable customers, but both of these games are completely voluntary. If a player doesn’t feel like denying passports or sucking cockroaches on any given day, they can just play something else.

Gamers are being pressured to log into free games

Official Fortnite Chapter 3 final event art, where the landscape is torn apart by an anomaly.

The distinction that sets free games apart is that players are incentivized to play the game even when they don’t feel like it. Skip a day of house pinball will not cause the player to lose an auction for an ideal property, where failure to log into a gacha game could cost the player a streak of attendance that leads to scalable rewards. In this way, free games don’t just simulate jobs, but jobs that the player might not be particularly interested in. Whatever passion they had on day one may have diminished, but they continue to clock in daily because they can’t afford to do otherwise.

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Video games continue to experiment with profit models. Some rumors suggest that PlayStation will put ads in free games. While this might be distracting for some and rob players of immersion, it might be better if these games stopped tricking players into logging in daily just to see in-game banner ads. Services like Game Pass and PlayStation Plus Extra could be seen as encouraging daily play, simply to make subscribers feel like they’re getting their money’s worth, but it’s a far cry from the direct attendance tracking approach of free-to-play titles.

An employee who goes to work most days of the week is the wait for most jobs, but microtransaction-focused games work on another level. Players do not benefit from weekends or holidays from their login streaks, and there are no vacation days or sick days that can replace their dailies. A few non-freemium games use similar tactics to promote daily play, such as the animal crossing securities. The New Horizons Paid DLC, Good family paradisegave players less guilt for missing a few days, unlike the base game, where villagers made it clear how sorry they were for the player’s absences.

When games become an obligation, they are jobs

Three Apex Legends characters posing - Wraith, Octane and Mirage.

Like movies and television, video games are a form of escapist entertainment. Hobbies like games provide a needed change of pace from real jobs and other life stresses and concerns. When a game feels like a second job, many gamers rightly wonder if it really serves its purpose. games like Disco Elysee entertain while enriching the player with insight into politics and human nature. Most free-to-play titles lean into the fear of missing out instead, placing players in the role of someone who has to go to work no matter how fun it is, simply because they can’t afford to lose it all. that they built.

Many gamers claim to enjoy free games with no incentive to spend, but the real costs are their time and stress levels. Multiverse could signal more free-to-play fighting games to come, and games ranging from shooters to RPGs to puzzle games have already found success with microtransaction models. Those who regularly log in to multiple free games effectively have a second, third, or fourth job, as they often perceive their presence benefits and perform their daily tasks simply to keep up, rather than genuine interest in such rote actions. .

Building on their success, free games are here to stay. For players who notice that their daily connections are more habitual than enjoyable, it may be worth considering whether a game that dictates their personal schedule is worth playing consistently. When a microtransaction-based game starts to look like a job, players can always quit without notice. Explore an overt job simulator like house pinball Where papers please could provide a refreshing change of pace, as gamers can go weeks without booting up these titles without fear of missing out.

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