Make great games. Respect your employees. Be transparent to your fans and even your competitors. Great employees will follow.
Spry Fox has been making F2P games for a couple years now and we haven't yet turned into the devil. (Though I keep checking my scalp for horns...) It is possible to do f2p and do it "right."
I have more appreciation for comments that F2P forces you to make tradeoffs in game design. This is absolutely true. And if you want to avoid this, you can absolutely keep making games that you sell for 15 bucks or whatever. Except those markets have their own tradeoffs and devils. Want to sell a game for $15? Well, there are precious few places you can do it, and that makes you a slave to those platforms and their particular requirements and challenges. If I want to distribute a f2p game, there are dozens of non-trivial distribution channels for me to choose from in the US alone, not least of which is my own website. (A very large percentage of RotMG's traffic was direct to the RotMG website, just as one tangible example.)
Want to sell a game for 99cents? Well, now you have a few more options (still nowhere near the options a simple f2p game has, but more.) And if you want to make a relatively simple game, that's fine. But if you want to make something substantially more expensive (either to develop or to maintain on an ongoing basis) that 99cents from the 10% of people who don't choose to pirate the game (even though it only cost 99 cents!!!) isn't going to get you very far. Well, unless you're Angry Birds. Good luck becoming that.
Life is all about how you tackle the tradeoffs and hard problems. This hard problem (f2p, that is) has some particularly amazing upsides if you're willing to set aside your fears and misconceptions for a moment. That's all I'm saying.
- MIT Sloan School of ManagementMBA
- Brandeis UniversityEnglish Lit
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