Free To Play. Wow... a lot of times people get a bit nervous about those 3 words. And that's completely understandable.
While Free To Play games are a nice way to get some cheap gaming, a lot of people are still somewhat terrified of it. And I understand. I'll give an example of what made me stay off Free To Play Games.
Ever heard of a game called S4 League? It was pretty nice. It was essentially an anime style third person shooter with SOME sports elements. And it was free to play. So why not? Well I installed it, got some in game cash just from signing up. So I bought my first couple of weapons aside from the free ones you get for starting as well as some costume pieces. And hey it was fun!
Fast Forward a month later, and my Laptop crashed... kaput. I put in alot of work into my S4 League but when I logged in... all my shit was gone. All I had left were the free things I got for STARTING the game. So... of course I was mad pissed. And cursed at even the acronym 'F2P'. Until a little game called League of Legends came around... which I'll explain later.
But lately... I see it somehow working for Fighting Games.
Now let me say again SOMEHOW. These are companies we're talking about. There's both a good way and the bad way to do F2P.
So here's ways to ensure it can work if properly done.
The Full Shebang: Even if it is Free to Play, make the basics available. A free Character to Start with, Story Mode, Arcade, Practice, Tutorial, unlockable costumes and such. What I believe is great about the resurgence of Fighting Games this past generation is that we can attract in a new crowd of people. So let's say ol' Joey whose never played a fighting game decides to give... let's say a Free to Play Street Fighter a shot. Thinking he's just getting a demo, he gets all the modes and a character for free to test it out. So he gets a full feel of the game. But maybe after mastering let's say Ryu, he decides to try out another free character but doesn't want to pay JUST yet... but wait.
Rotate that Roster: I'll be using League of Legends as an example as I feel this bit is the best idea to appeal to a consumer. Okay so Joey plays as Ryu for week and says 'Hey I like Ryu'. However next week Ken is available to play for free. So Joey plays Ken and says 'Man Ken Rules!'. However next week Zangief is free but Joey says 'Eeeh... not feeling it.' So he goes in and buys Ken KNOWING this is a character he can play and enjoy. League of Legends has the same philosophy in my mind with it's free character rotation. And it's smart as a business decision to allow customer's a chance to try out a character before playing them.
So what of Extras?: By this I mean Extra Costumes or Costume pieces/etc. I personally would like to see that when you buy a new character, you get a costume and/or pieces along with the character as well as their story mode. All for once price. Don't charge for extra bullshit like single costume pieces or color palettes. If you want to release extra purchasable costumes and piece sets (head items, torso items, bottom items, accessories, etc) that's fine. But don't make us pay a Buck for single pieces of costume or just to unlock a few extra colors to use. As for Stages. Don't g other PS All Stars route and make them purchase only. Add them in new patches.
Continually evolve it: Add more characters, Add in fixes buffs and nerfs to existing characters. Maybe add in a new game mode here and there or a new story mode. This fixes some of the problem people have with Ultimate Editions and such and allows you to keep improving on a game without needing to build a sequel or such for awhile.
Offer Bundles: 'Wha?! Paying for a Free to Play game? Psh, fuck that'. Well... then it's optional... Offer a variety of bundles. Like maybe one that has a few characters. A themed extra costume bundle or hell allow players to buy the whole damn thing for a low price. And if people don't want to pay a lot, don't force it on them.