When Plants vs. Zombies launched in 2009, it became a great hit but it never really exceeded 25 million downloads. It was a great game that a lot of people loved and it really established the PopCap brand as a solid contender in the app game market. Fast forward to today with the recent launch of Plant vs. Zombies 2, PopCap is set to have another hit on its hands. It has already racked up 25 million downloads when it has only been two weeks since it was launched. Make no mistake about it because Plants vs. Zombies 2 is going to be a monster hit.
With that said, the game isn’t without its critics. While most of its reviews have been generally positive, there is a small subset of users that are really irritated and annoyed by the fact that while Plants vs. Zombies 2 is free, if you want to get goodies and other advantages in the game, you’d have to step up and pay real money. In other words, the never ending drama of free to play has hit Plants vs. Zombies 2. If you are unaware of this drama let me just break it down for you quickly. A lot of players don’t like the fact that while the game may be distributed for free to really advance in the game and truly enjoy it, you’d have to fork over your hard earned cash. They don’t like the whole in-game purchase model.
Unfortunately, these people are going to be in the minority because a lot of game development companies are looking for free to play as their default model. It’s not hard to figure out why. Nothing is more powerful than the word free and people would try a product more willingly and quickly if it was dished out for free. Based on this context it’s not a surprise why Plants vs. Zombies has already hit 25 million downloads and it’s still being downloaded at a fever pitch. If you offer stuff for free initially, you just get a massive distributed base and this has been validated time and time again especially with games like Temple Run and Angry Birds. This model is just solid when it comes to boosting the amount of downloads.
As we reported earlier, a lot of the most profitable and big selling games are free games so Plants vs. Zombies 2 is on the right track and it has officially said that they’re not going to back away from this model. If you think about it from a purely business perspective, there is really no need for them to back away from it because this model has been proven for at least the app game environment.
Now for the massively multiplayer online role playing game desktop environment, this will be more of an argument. But at least from the app game or social gaming context, this makes all the sense in the world. However, in the installed software version critics would have a stronger argument.