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LBP was almost a downloadable, free-to-play title

Phil Harrison "raised the bar" on Media Molecule's plans

Three of the founding members of Media Molecule have taken part in a panel discussion on the early years of the studio chaired by Phil Harrison, the then Sony executive who oversaw much of their early work with the publisher.

The most interesting revelation from that discussion was that originally, Harrison had pushed LittleBigPlanet as a free-to-play title, hoping that the studio could adapt their ideas to embrace a number of the new business models which were emerging.

"(Phil) said it should be free to play, it should have a new business model, it should be downloadable," said Media Molecule's technical director Alex Evans.

"It should do DLC, it should do user-generated content. Phil was basically raising the bar on what we were pitching."

Speaking exclusively to GamesIndustry after the presentation, Harrison clarified the advice he'd given the team.

"The challenge I gave the team was to make it possible for LBP to be a free to play downloadable service, not a product, and with a mechanism for monetizing user generated content that would allow the best creators to be to rewarded in some way for their for the innovation," Harrison revealed.

"There were many good reasons why that didn't happen with LBP, but clearly the seeds have certainly been sown and it will be fascinating to see how the console platforms take on that challenge in future."

Harrison also loosely discussed the potential for the way that content may have been sold, agreeing that several instances of the user-created levels were certainly good enough to charge app store range prices for on a download service such as PSN.

A fuller insight into the presentation will be appearing elsewhere on GamesIndustry later today.

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Dan Pearson

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