The games media and cash-strapped gamers may delight in declaring paid-for entertainment dead, but the reality is a little different according to Funcom producer Craig Morrison.
Gamasutra recently interviewed Morrison regarding free-to-play and the expectations it generates, and while he acknowledged the model's recent success in the West, he noted that most western titles aren't designed to be experienced for free. "They're using a hybrid model, where the free-to-play is a trial and then what they really want is the users to move on to whatever they've called what used to be a subscription," Morrison explained.
Even though Funcom pioneered free-to-play in the West with Anarchy Online in 2005, Morrison expresses concern about what the model is doing to games like The Secret World. "Eventually it only stands to reason that people's thought process is 'oh, well, I'll wait till it's free-to-play,' and that's not something we want as game developers. You don't want players to be going, 'I really want to play that game... but I'm going to wait.'"
Ultimately, Morrison concludes that F2P is just another tool in the toolbox as opposed to the one true way. "I think we see subscription and free-to-play as tools. And tools can be used well, they can be used badly... it depends on the game. We don't categorically go, 'subscriptions are dead; there will never be subscriptions anymore,' or, 'free-to-play is the only way to monetize your games.' I think it depends on the game and it depends on your project," he said.