Zach took some time off from developing TimeForge restaurant scheduling software to write about the free to play and pay to play business models.

I am an avid online gamer and gaming is one of my favorite hobbies. When it comes to what types of online games I’ll play, I’m a bit picky about whether the game follows the “free to play” or the “pay to play” business model, commonly referred to as F2P and P2P. Now that I work on a restaurant scheduling software, I understand that F2P and P2P can apply to more than just games. The concept for each is simple. You either pay a monthly service fee or you don’t. In gaming, I believe in the F2P model over the P2P model because of its flexibility.

Free to play can be viewed as a trial version of an online game. You play for free, but you have limitations, and certain services are not accessible to you. F2P games make money by allowing players to purchase services and features that add to their gaming experience, which allow players to easily drop and add features as they wish. Think Farmville.

Pay to play games give you everything they can offer up front, but you have to pay a service fee to access the full features of the game. Some P2P games have trial demos, but they are vastly limited and do not last for more than a week. Unlike the free to play games, you are allowed to spend as much as you want in accordance with how much time you have to play online.

You can pay for exactly what you want in a free to play game, allowing you to spend what you wish for the exact features you want. When you no longer want those features, you simply stop paying for them. For those who do not have time to play a lot, this is perfect as you can spend just enough to keep you satisfied, or you can even continue to play at your own pace without paying anything at all. The P2P model, on the other hand, requires a fee whether you have time to play or not. There is no flexibility in what you want or how much you want to pay. You get everything whether you want it or not and you must pay the fixed fee.

I enjoy the F2P model because it allows me to access the features I want in accordance with how much time I have to play, and I don’t have to worry about wasting money for the time I’m paying for, but not playing.