Content is king: the growing pains of free-to-play

Riot Games, 22 Cans, Spicy Horse, EA and Cryptic Studios on the troubled evolution of the model that could reinvent the games industry

Right now, every eye in the industry is trained on THQ, a company that seems to be nearing the end of a long, slow period of decline. Should the worst happen, THQ will be the most prominent casualty since the industry's grand swing towards online digital platforms began. Midway and Atari spring to mind, but neither company was trading at $36 a share in 2007. With THQ, the journey from major player to life support took less than a console generation.

All of which makes this article grimly appropriate. The market forces that invalidated so much that is core to a business like THQ also allowed the spread of freemium pricing models. They demand a vast number of connected devices, fast and flexible production tools, sophisticated online payment services, and myriad other things that simply didn't exist when THQ was ascendant. In the new industry, games are no longer worth $60 on a choice of four platforms; they are worth whatever the consumer is willing or able to spend, and available just about everywhere. It is a fundamental shift in the way the industry as a whole operates, and free-to-play is an essential component.

"In a lot of free-to-play games I've felt dirty about spending money: I feel like I cheated, I feel like I'm impatient, I feel like I'm bored"

Peter Molyneux, 22 Cans

At this point, the popularity and relevance of free-to-play has been proven beyond question - by CityVille, by League of Legends, by droves of online games implementing micro-transactions - and yet debate around the subject rages on. There are impassioned critics of free-to-play in every corner of the industry, their objections fuelled by varying degrees of self-interest. But the clamour they create is fading. The naysayers are dying out.

“For a developer, monetisation is still slightly disgusting to talk about,” says Peter Molyneux, the veteran designer who gave up a career at the pinnacle of console development to explore free-to-play with his indie start-up, 22 Cans. “You're not supposed to do this for money. But, actually, if you all pin us down and put a bright light in our eyes, feed us truth drugs, I bet all of us would be. Well, you need money, let's be honest.”

As early as last year, Molyneux would have counted himself among free-to-play's doubters. Indeed, he still isn't a full convert: as much as anything else, 22 Cans' first release, Curiosity, is an attempt to dig into the business model and better understand its influence on player motivations. The idea is powerful, he admits, but the long-running discussion around it is also merited - necessary, even.

“The thing that we're disgusted about, in the indie world, is greed. I've got this big thing about free-to-play at the moment: in a lot of freemium games I've played it's obvious to me that they just want to wring me for everything I've got, in the shortest possible time. That's all. They want to squeeze me into ten hours of gameplay, get everything out of me, spit me out and that's it. And that's wrong.

“In a lot of free-to-play games I've felt dirty about spending money: I feel like I cheated, I feel like I'm impatient, I feel like I'm bored.”

For Molyneux, this reaction shouldn't be taken as evidence of inherent corruption; rather, it's a side-effect of being a consumer in the early stages of what will be a long, iterative process. The most mercenary free-to-play games - where player satisfaction is eternally under pressure from dwindling reserves of 'energy' - effectively put a tax on fun. You need only look to Zynga's recent fortunes to see how brittle that sort of success can be.

If free-to-play is at the start of its life, then this can be seen as growing pains. American McGee, founder of the Shanghai-based development studio Spicy Horse, has been living and working in the world's biggest free-to-play market for more than six-years. Spicy Horse's three most recent projects - Big Head Bash, Crazy Fairies and the forthcoming Akaneiro: Demon Hunters - all use the freemium model, and for McGee there's no reason to look back. The future is digital, and the elasticity that freemium offers will be to everyone's benefit.

“The question I have is, what is a retail store? You're free to walk in, to browse, to try the items out or put them on, and if you so wish you can purchase them and walk back out,” he says. “I think that's a natural thing to start seeing in online games, as they become more like real life. Anybody resisting that should look up from their computer and realise that this is the reality that we live in.”

"That's the irony with Western gamers: they have become so numb to the part that they play in their own captivity inside the console model"

American McGee, Spicy Horse

In the West, much of the last 15 years of gaming has been prescribed by a handful of platform-holders, publishers and retailers, struggling to control and create as much shelf-space as possible. McGee compares the console manufacturers to the East India Company's iron-grip on global trade several centuries ago - “that's all a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 really is” - and is clearly baffled at consumer suspicion around free games. In China, free-to-play is a bedrock of the entire gaming culture.

“That's the irony with Western gamers,” McGee says. “They become so numb to the part that they play in their own captivity inside this model, and when a popular web game or a mobile game with in-app purchases comes along their initial reaction is resistance, even though - when they to really look at it - they'd quickly realise that this is a better deal for them and for the people making games for them.”

Of course, spending so much time addressing the criticisms of free-to-play - however valid - misrepresents the issue. In every important sense the games industry has already embraced the model: Western developers and publishers of all sizes and shapes are embarking on free-to-play projects, or modifying existing projects to meet the model's requirements. There's still money on the table, and they want their share as quickly as possible.

For some companies, this period won't end happily. Sean Decker has been vice president of EA's Play4Free label for a little over two years, but he started working in free-to-play with Battlefield Heroes in 2008. For a major Western publisher that's extremely early, and Decker believes that EA's years of constant investment in this will give it a competitive edge in the future. Perhaps more importantly, EA has taken the necessary time to refine the systems and processes required to create and operate successful free-to-play games - a luxury that many companies can't, or won't, afford.

“For every one Amazon or eBay there were how many failures?” Decker asks. “There's always this kind of rush towards things, and then the major players stick out in the end. EA is going to be one of those players. The good thing about so many companies moving into the free-to-play space is that it's great for the players: the quality of graphics are going up, the quality of the gameplay is going up.”

The same point is made by Craig Zinkievich, COO of Cryptic Studios, which was acquired by the Chinese online gaming company Perfect World in 2011. At that point, Cryptic had recently launched Champions Online's free-to-play version, and it was in the process of converting Star Trek Online from a subscription-based model. Without Perfect World's experience, accumulated over many successful years in China, Zinkievich believes Cryptic could have made unnecessary and damaging mistakes.

“We're now competing on quality,” he says. “A new business model, yes, but, as with boxed products, the need for an awesome AAA game.

“I think there will definitely be failures within the next 12 to 24 months. Many who are entering the market right now are doing it as almost a money-grab: rapidly converting to it, or, 'Okay, how do we up our revenue?' Those people are going to wonder why all the money didn't just come to them. It's just not as easy as it used to be.

"I think there will definitely be failures within the next 12 to 24 months. Many who are entering the market right now are doing it as almost a money-grab"

Craig Zinkievich, Cryptic Studios

“Time to market is always crucial,” adds Gabriel Hacker, general manager of Perfect World Europe. “Perfect World was lucky, in a manner of speaking, to be in the right spot with the right products at the right time. We built our success from there.

“Back in the day, if you had this business model attached to your product you had a very high chance of success. But now everybody is jumping on the free-to-play wagon, and so the level of quality has dramatically increased. Our games need to fulfil the specifications of a AAA MMO, and it doesn't matter what business model we're using. We're competing for the consumer's time, not the money.”

Cryptic's next game is Neverwinter, a free-to-play MMO with lavish production values that easily bears comparison to any subscription-based game. For many consumers, however, the graphics aren't the problem. Even now, with games like League of Legends and Tribes: Ascend testing the belief that free-to-play games are inevitably compromised by the need to sell in-game items, there is a distinct lack of variety in the experiences the freemium model supports: they tend to be multiplayer RPGs, shooters, strategy or racing games; they tend to be set in persistent online worlds, often with a strong focus on PvP competition. When long-standing gamers hear about a future defined by free-to-play, they imagine a future without Dishonored, Uncharted, or even Mass Effect.

According to American McGee - and ngmoco's Ben Cousins and Boss Alien's Jason Avent, for that matter - this view is misguided. As with transparently greedy free-to-play games, the narrow range of available experiences is simply another symptom of the model's early development, and one that could be addressed tomorrow if a company had the will to do so.

“A lot of games that we like and enjoy today could very easily be free-to-play: Fallout 3 or Skyrim could be, the Grand Theft Auto series could be,” he says. “Any game in which there is a world, and you're going around acquiring items and interfacing with shops, any of those could work under a free-to-play model... I suspect that if you'd launched Fallout 3 as a free-to-play title rather than paying $60 for the disc it would have had equal or greater success.”

Riot Games' Brandon Beck sees the matter differently. As a co-founder of the company that created League of Legends, Beck is at the top of the West's biggest free-to-play success story, and perhaps the most compelling example of a free game that rivals the experience of the very best $60 AAA products. However, he stops short of proclaiming a free-to-play Uncharted as inevitable - it's an easy thing to say, but actually making it work would be a daunting challenge, with higher upfront costs than the typical free-to-play game.

At present, there are no examples of a AAA, narrative-driven, cinematic action game developed and sustained using a freemium model. And reaching the point where that's possible, Beck argues, will take high-risk, costly experimentation, not to mention the full support of the console manufacturers. Frankly, most companies seem more than happy to just make another MMORPG or deathmatch shooter.

"I don't think the industry has figured out the right free models for many types of games. A rush into free-to-play may limit the kinds of content available to players"

Brandon Beck, Riot Games

“I don't think the industry has figured out the right free models for many types of games - even your standard console platformer - so a rush into free-to-play may end up limiting the kinds of content choices that are available to players,” he says. “That would be a travesty, because we all want to see rich, linear eight-hour experiences continue, as well as many other kinds of games that don't fit into the conventional free-to-play box.

“We may be in for an over-correction; too many companies are going to shift into this model thinking that it's the winning formula, and end up getting distracted from what really matters.”

What really matters, then, is good products; the question is whether that means the same thing for a free-to-play game as it does for a $60 retail game. Patrick Söderlund, executive vice president of EA's Games label, believes it does, to the point where he has stopped talking to his teams about freemium.

“It's just another business model, and ultimately what you need to do is make a great game,” he says. “Without that, it doesn't matter whether it's free-to-play, traditional retail, mobile or tablet - that's proven. Five years ago, if you went that route you'd get enough attention for it to be valid, for a while, but today that doesn't work. You have to make a great game in the same way you would on a PlayStation or an Xbox, or it won't be valuable.”

“It will absolutely be a significant portion of what we [EA] do, but there's too much focus around it right now. To me, it's not that hard: the need for great content is always going to be there, and EA will be there too... Content will always be king.”

The notion that micro-transactions needn't alter a game's design is a common idea among free-to-play developers, but it may be more aspirational than realistic. The fact is that what makes a “great” free-to-play game is necessarily different to its conventional retail counterpart, and that difference is inextricably tied to the way users pay for the experience. League of Legends is a perfect example of this: the payment structure allows its players to carve a unique path from hundreds of potential alternatives; to try it all would be prohibitively expensive, so players specialise, attain mastery and form groups more organically than they would with a single $60 serving. League of Legends is a great game, but without micro-transactions it would be a different and inferior experience.

For Sean Decker, there are a number of significant differences in what constitutes a good free-to-play experience that ultimately make them more difficult to create. In a world of seemingly infinite choice, a console developer's main job is to justify the $60 upfront cost for its game. The goal is to give the consumer confidence that this effectively an unknown quantity will give them value for their money. Ultimately, this has led to packages of content so exhaustive and generous it borders on the absurd - Assassin's Creed 3, for example, or Halo 4.

“At our end, the difficult thing to overcome is the absence of investment on the part of the player,” says Decker. “It's free. When you go to the movies and you've bought a ticket, if it's a terrible movie you don't walk out in the first five minutes. You might give it an hour, and it's the same thing with a video game. You've invested in it, so you'll give it a shot.

“With free-to-play, within 10 minutes you might jump to something else; it's like switching the channel on the TV. And then we need to keep them for a very, very long time... The people who can make experiences that do that are going to win.”

This is what 22 Cans is trying to achieve with Curiosity: an experience that will intrigue players from first contact, and provide enough hooks to keep them returning and investing in its eventual outcome - that world changing secret at the centre of the cube. In Molyneux's opinion, a truly effective free-to-play experience can't be achieved by approaching the economics and the design as separate problems. The dollars and cents being spent on your game can be useful as more than just revenue; they are a form of interaction, and a valuable source of direct feedback. The free-to-play model is only as interesting as the incentives offered by the developer.

"Ultimately, what you need to do is make a great game. Without that, it doesn't matter whether it's free-to-play, traditional retail, mobile or tablet"

Patrick Söderlund, EA Games

“Money is an important part of everyone's life, and you've got to think of the emotional reason why people spend money,” Molyneux says. “Until now it's just been about getting people excited; excited enough to spend $60 on something on a shelf. That's withering away now, and we've got to think of other ways of doing it.

“The first approach, sure enough, is to use impatience. Humans are impatient beings, but is that the only emotion we want to pull at? No. But curiosity is one of many ideas that we haven't really experimented with. The idea of [financial] investment, the idea of group challenges, 'I'll put a bit in and you put a bit in and you put a bit in and we'll get all this.' All of those things we have yet to explore.”

There have been too many free-to-play success stories to argue that the model's potential has yet to be fulfilled, but those investing in its future are working hard to shake off the taint left by the parasitic social games that so capably aided its growth. So far, free-to-play has been synonymous with their worst practices, allowing sceptics to make strong arguments that the model is inherently corrupt, even evil.

For Cryptic's Craig Zinkievich, we have already passed this moment in time. When the entire Western industry was struggling to replicate World of Warcraft's astonishing success with monthly subscriptions, it neglected to look East, where a more robust and accessible model already had the rapt attention of hundreds of millions of players. The truth is that gamers never really wanted subscriptions; that was just a riff on the high-cost of the traditional retail model, and never in the player's interests. But they do want to a more active role in deciding the cost of what they play, and that, ultimately, is what freemium is really about: not free games, exactly, but a more transparent marketplace where consumers knows exactly what they're buying, and can assess its value for themselves.

“At the same time it has become more 'evil' in the social market, what many free-to-play shooters and all the incoming free-to-play MMOs have done is actually get the core gaming audience more excited about free-to-play now than they would have been three or four years ago,” Zinkievich says. “It isn't as tarnished as it may seem.

“But subscription is dead. The Old Republic was the biggest possible swing for the fences. There is no longer any argument over whether that can be done. Free-to-play is the way of the future. It is the new world.”

Latest comments (26)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
Another excellent article.
Obviously concentrating on player retention is more important than concentrating on monetisation for long term profits.
The FTP mechanism, done well, gives the player emotional engagement so they want to spend money on enhancing the experience.
And FTP games need to have AAA as their minimum standard, they need to be better than console games. Because the customer can play the game before parting with any money.
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I'd be interested to know if the chinese play any single player games at all, and if so, how the f2p model works for these.
F2P seems like a natural fit for online or social games, but since traditional SP experiences are still a big part of the market in the west, someone needs to figure out a good way to make it work with f2p.
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Raphael Honore Localization Assistant Manager, Blizzard Entertainment Europe6 years ago
"At that point, Cryptic was poised to launch City of Heroes' free-to-play version".

I think you meant Champions Online? COH belonged to NC Soft at that point.
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Show all comments (26)
Matthew Handrahan European Deputy Editor, GamesIndustry.biz6 years ago

Thanks for the spot. Both Champions and COH went free-to-play in the first half of 2011, and both were made by Cryptic. Either Craig or I had our wires crossed.
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Simon Smith CEO, thumbfood LTD6 years ago
Great article.

One of the principle challenges with Free2Play is communicating to the player what fantastic value for money they are getting. Demos aside (when was the last time you played an Assassin's Creed demo?) players can try a F2P game without laying out $60 straight away. This is a massive advantage for our sector. Personally I just don't buy some retail games because I'm paying for too much stuff I'm not interested in. Call Of Duty for example - I'm interested in the single player game but not the mulltiplayer (I do realise I'm in the minority here!). The game is multiplayer-focused so I would be laying out $60 when I'm only maybe interested in $20 of the actual product. F2P allows me to spend my $20 on exactly what I'm interested in and if it's a good game maybe I'll end up spending more.
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Victor Perez CEO, Games GI6 years ago
FP2 is a marketing tool ... it is not a game, game mode, or business model... if someone is coming to Paris this Nov dont hesitate to contact me, it will be great to discuss about F2P and Business as usual ...
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Victor Perez CEO, Games GI6 years ago
Game industry is about Products, it is not companies, not people .... you believe in a companies because they have people who knows how to do great products, but it is that Products. How many people that has done great products they do not ever done another one ... And how many people that invest in video game knows how to evaluate good products... that does not exist already ;) ...

Now people is connected, and they want to check the product.... that is worthy? they want interactive advertising, people is sick about nice teasers ... but bad gameplay.

F2P it is just let the people check your product ... a
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Emily Rose Freelance Artist 6 years ago
f2p used to be called demos :p
Since many sp games end up having a multuplayer, maybe the multiplayer will be f2p and the single player is additional DLC you can buy if you want more?

Letting people pay what they want works pretty well, if you want the porsche pay a lot, if you don't need the porsche pay a little :p

I disagree with Peter on this, when I spend money in a f2p I feel like i'm congratulating the devs on a job well done (just like buying the game after playing the demo), it feels good, not guilty.
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"Free to play" is really a marketing buzz word. As this article acknowledges, its also a lie. Sooner or later someone has to pay for a game for it to be successful.

There are two to three actual separate and distinct economic model that get lumped together under the F2P buzz word,

The first is the micro-transaction model. This is where the gameplay itself is free but the user is charged for 'extras'. As a pure-play, this model has failed dramatically. On the one hand you may have THQ, but on the other hand you have Zynga. THQ has been the "struggling publisher" for a long time and has deeper systemic issues. Zynga's fall on the other hand was a spectacular failure of the pure micro-transaction model. For why this model is inherently flawed, see this blog...

A different model lumped into "F2P" is the so called "fremium" model. This is where some gameplay is given away as a teaser but some is also held back for "premium players." This i not a new model, it is just the internet form of the "free trial" and is as old as shareware. It can be very successful, Wolfenstien3D and DOOM were both free trials with a paid upgrade and those games made the juggernaut known as ID. The free-trial model however depends on free or nearly free distribution of the trial. You need to get that into as many hands as possible without it costing you to do so because only a tiny % end up converting. The rest are a loss and you want that loss as low as possible. ID did that with shareware and leveraging the users as a "sneakernet." Today we can do it directly with the internet. This is a model that *does* make sense.

The final model is the "free online play" model of Arenanet and Guildwars2. Here you pay up front for the game and get the online play "for free." It isn't really free, its just not a subscription. Instead, the cost of providing the online play for the expected life of the product has been calculated ahead of time and factored into the up front box price. This becomes more doable with direct to end user sales that eliminate the cost of the retail chain. Eliminating that cost frees up money to be applied to back-end resources. It is still a more risky model for the developer, however, because if you underestimate the cost of supporting the online play, your game could lose money over the long term.

(While GW2 does have a micro-transaction component, I have it on excellent authority that this is really just an experiment and is not expected to produce any significant planned-for revenue.)

The market IS definitely changing, and the big change is the elimination of all the middle-men between developer and user. What that means to the economics though, I agree, the industry is still trying to figure out.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Jeffrey Kesselman on 8th November 2012 6:01pm

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Samuel Verner Game Designer 6 years ago
most overrated trend currently: free 2 play. for most of the companies it will be the road down the hill.
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I blame the media.

The media prints what their readers want to read.
"Get something for nothing" is always a story that plays well with the reader.
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Brian Lewis Operations Manager, PlayNext6 years ago
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -George Santayana

There was a very good reason why subscription was both in demand, and why it was so successful. Monthly flat fees (or subscriptions) came about as an alternative to pay per minute connection fees. Rather than paying $ per minute, customers could pay in advance, and have unlimited access during the month. This was the driving forces behind subscription fees.

So much has changed since those days. People have forgotten WHY this was considered a good thing, and have just assumed that it was the best solution. Now that the market has become extremely competitive, it is necessary to re-evaluate these assumptions if you wish to stay in business.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.6 years ago
Whether I pay $60 up front or $60 in some form of transaction, doesn't bother me. What does bother me is when those transactions for 1 game start exceeding the $60 threshold. If I have to pay more than $60 to experience the entirety of your game, we have a problem.

When I start a free to play or micro-transaction based game, I don't just consider how much fun the game is but how much it's ultimately going to cost me while playing it. If it looks like it might cost a lot, I don't even bother with it. If they gave me the option to pay $50-60 up front with full game access, I'd actually consider that.

To me, these new models just feel like a way to grab as many whales as you can.

And I see some saying your can do this model with our big retail titles. I just don't see how that's going to work. How do you free 2 play a Zelda game? Or Uncharted. Or Metal Gear Solid. How? I keep hearing it will happen but I never hear any actual suggestions.

And I don't see it working for Call of Duty either. They pay their $60 and done. You'd have to redo how the game works to move to a free 2 play model.
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Jason Avent Studio Head / Creative Director, TT Games Publishing6 years ago
If you have a cap Jim, the freemium business model doesn't work.
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Actually, I disagree. Freemium works quite well as free trial to single "box cost" conversion. Thats how ID become rich.

The key is that the free trial has to cost the developer almost nothing to get to the user. Thus, games with a server component where free trail users cost the developer server resources wont work. In that environment the GW2 model of up-front charge is more suited to the situation.

Now, you COULD theoretically have a game where the free-trial was local and not server based. The issue there is that you have to develop two games really... a local one good enough to impress people AND the multi-player one that is good enough to make people want to convert. Not impossible, but it adds a great deal of risk...
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I think you will find that anything with ongoing updates will have an on on going true price higher then your $60.
In the GW2 case I rather expect that there will be secondary sales of expansion packs... (thats a guess, my Arenanet contacts haven't committed one way or the other on that one.)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeffrey Kesselman on 8th November 2012 7:23pm

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At the moment GW2 has cunning monetization via Gems.
GEMs for extra clothing, extra storage space, rare materials, extra char slots, cooking material, and probably expansion packs. But yeah, they have it all figured out already :)
and I am resisting v hard to enjoy the game fully without succumbing to plumbing up any more moneys
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Gems are the micro-transaction experiment I referred to above.

They are NOT part of the fundamental business model. What they might or might not bring in is all incidental revenue.

What I have been told by folks inside of Arenanet is that server and equipment operations are budgeted out and fully funded off of the box-price and the game can succeed quite well financially if none ever bought a single gem.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeffrey Kesselman on 8th November 2012 10:41pm

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I wonder if a gamer in GW2 enjoy a progress up to lvl 80 without dipping into gems.

To pursue crafting, means storage of 100s of useless pieces of artefacts, not to mention various quests trophies, junk, weapons, equipment.

The basic storage is quite limited (30 slots) and idealistically, most folks will opt to add 7 additional 30 slot tabs.

To add additional "30 slot bank tabs" requires 600 gems per tab (or $7.50 roughly) x 7 = $52.50

So, to really enjoy some decent experience inGW2 will require spending a godly $80-100 overall

its a nice money spinner by it self...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dr. Chee Ming Wong on 9th November 2012 12:24am

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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 6 years ago
Jeffrey Kesselman: As a pure-play, [the micro-transaction] model has failed dramatically.

Err, you're saying that World of Tanks is a dramatic failure?

There's no question in my mind that WoT fits your micro-transaction model; aside from the premium tanks, there's nothing in the game you can buy that you can't get through free play.

Jim Webb: What does bother me is when those transactions for 1 game start exceeding the $60 threshold.

Well, your personal reaction is just anecdotal evidence. Again, WoT seems to be doing pretty well, and it's quite expensive. (A one-year premium membership alone is already more than the cost of BF3 with all the expansions, and I expect the typical user is also going to buy crew training, garage slots, and suchlike, as well. So it seems that the whales are out there, and can support a large game. (I don't know whether WoT is at the maximal point on the price/profit curve, but I'd expect that they've done some research on this.)

(By the way, I do feel the same as you do--I found the cost of WoT, once I'd worked it out, rather shocking, and while I'd probably buy a premium account at a third the price, I find myself highly resistant to doing so at the current price.)
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 6 years ago
@Chee, I'd love more inventory space but I don't want to pay for it so most of the time I just walk around with my inventory full, haha. I've never been tempted to buy gems mind you.
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@ Kingman - hehe. my inventory is always full. I end up wasting money teleporting to the nearest crafting area to off load the inventory or exploring areas 10-30 levels way to high resulting in broken equipment most of the time :)
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 6 years ago
@Chee - haha yeah I try not to do that when I can so I've been walking across multiple zones with full inventories and I've been ditching crafting material on the way or at least try to sell them. I'm a bit of a miser so trying only to spend money when I can, but I do give in at times and teleport. ;)
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Nick Parker Consultant 6 years ago
"At present, there are no examples of a AAA, narrative-driven, cinematic action game developed and sustained using a freemium model. And reaching the point where that's possible, Beck argues, will take high-risk, costly experimentation, not to mention the full support of the console manufacturers."

I'm looking forward to whether CCP can challenge this view with the PS3 exclusive DUST 514 and its hybrid business models.
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Jason Avent Studio Head / Creative Director, TT Games Publishing6 years ago
@Jeffrey That's not freemium. That's shareware. It's a different business model.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jason Avent on 11th November 2012 9:29pm

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Daniel Cook Game designer, lostgarden.com6 years ago
Most F2P games rely on the media for about 0% of their traffic. Major disintermediation going on. (no pun intended)
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