Lately, I’ve been seeing unreleased games offering Founder’s Packs to players. This system guarantees access to alpha or beta testing events as well as a variety of random perks that are usually beneficial in-game. These Founder’s Packs are usually set in 3 tiers and range from $20 all the way up to $150. At first I felt like even the lowest tier Founder’s Pack was a lot to ask for a game that doesn’t even have a release date.
However, maybe there’s more to these costly packs than meets the eye. Today, I wanted to survey both the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing a Founder’s Pack and the risks thereof, if any.
I checked the following games out, each of which use Founder’s Packs:
The Founder’s Pack system seems to be typically focused around free-to-play MMOs. What’s strange is that, in the past, each of these companies has offered testing of their game either through alpha or beta access for free. Now why would they introduce this system after giving players a taste of the experience at no cost?
It’s an easy question to answer considering there are so many online games that use this approach. A good example would be World of Warcraft with its free-to-play model. Before you reach level 20, they give you a taste and then sooner or later, you end up paying for more. The Founder’s Pack does this in its own way, but the big difference between World of Warcraft and, say, EverQuest Next is that WoW has been around for a very long time whereas EQNext isn’t even an official game yet.
This is why a lot of players feel cheated and betrayed by this offer, especially when most games using Founder’s Packs were seemingly free-to-play with early access. Many argue that game companies are using Founder’s Packs to charge customers just to test their product so the developers don’t have to. This betrayal runs deep, especially if you test the game and end up disliking it, resulting in a possible loss of $20+ and a bad taste in your mouth in regards to the company as a whole. Needless to say, players who were originally excited to try these games and share their opinion with developers are now turned off by this offering.
However, game companies using this approach have responded to their players’ frustrations, indicating that the purpose of Founder’s Packs are to support the development of the game, allowing alpha access to those who support the creators during its development. Some developers even go as far to claim that Founder’s Pack purchasers will have a direct impact on the development phase of the game.
But really, how much of that is actually true? Better yet, how much is even possible? Making a video game is complicated enough, without consumers breathing down your neck and spouting out random requests to make changes to the game. However, as a gamer who can’t actually make games, I can’t help but feel tempted to purchase a low-price Founder’s Pack if it means directly affecting the creation of an entire game, even if it’s only by the tiniest amount.
This temptation made me realize what I’m actually paying through the purchase of a Founder’s Pack. It’s not the added in-game perks or the early access to the game. No… What I’m purchasing is hope. I’m giving a company money in hopes that the developers will have funding to create an amazing game that I have a chance to be a part of from the beginning and may even affect in the long run. Sure, there are risks to putting $20 – $150 into a single game that may not come out as good as you expect, but it’s no more risk than walking into GameStop and buying a game you don’t know everything about.
Who knows, you may have a valuable idea that could create a positive change to a game forever, an idea that otherwise would not have reached developers if not through purchasing a Founder’s Pack. I know this might be stretching things a bit, but you can’t deny that Founder’s Packs are a great opportunity to raise your voice and reach out to developers, especially when developers of games like Albion Online and EverQuest Next are making such a solid effort in listening to their fans.
I don’t recommend paying top-tier price for any Founder’s Packs since many of them are higher than most new games, but I wouldn’t turn your nose up to them. Keep in mind the companies I’ve listed have given early access for free before and we may receive that same access later, whether we purchase a Founder’s Pack or not. However, even the lowest-priced pack increases our chances of early access.
So what do you think? Are Founder’s Packs worth investing in or a big waste of money?
Let TechRaptor know!