Game developer David Paris
has penned a new blog at Gamasutra
focused on the stigma of free-to-play business models. Paris, whose bio
lists him as the builder of the world's first subscription-based internet MOG (Valhalla
), says that there's nothing inherently wrong with F2P that more honest product marking won't fix.
And thus we come to the core of the problem - the lack of honesty about how much impact IAPs [in-app purchases] have on games. The truth is that F2P monetization is frequently very much about concealing exactly this impact from its players so that we will either play until we are so invested that we will cough up and pay, or so that we'll provide an audience for the whales to lord it over. Burying pay-to-win mechanics under an initial layer of skill-to-win, providing advantages that become required for competitive play, roadblocks or surprisingly reduced game functionality tucked underneath paid barriers that weren't obvious when you started.
He cites League of Legends
and Marvel Heroes
as games that do it right and wrong, respectively, though he does criticize LoL
for failing to offer an all-the-content-for-a-single-price option.