In an interview with Edge, Bigpoint boss, Philip Reisberger, had some less than flattering things to say about big publishers’ approaches to f2p and premium content. I do love a good bit of smack talk. Reisberger thinks that EA, Valve, Ubisoft and their like are wrong to offer premium virtual goods when the items don’t give the players an advantage.
It wouldn’t ruin the game. If selling an advantage ruins the game, you haven’t done the balancing right… It’s a delicate balance, though, and that’s why I love my game designers. All of them have understood how to do this. If you have a sophisticated approach to free-to-play games, in the end you can monetize everything.
That’s right folks. Everything.
He believes that Bigpoint understands the business model better due to having never shipped a retail game before. But he seems to ignore that fact that the games he references are retail games or in Team Fortress 2‘s case, it was a retail game until recently. These, for the most part, are not free games, players have already spent money on them and thus would be less likely to accept severe limitations if they don’t purchase the extra content.
Should the big publishers mimic Bigpoint’s business model when it comes to f2p and premium content? Or will that lead to splitting these games’ communities into the haves and have-nots?