Blizzard looking at free-to-play StarCraft II multiplayer

Lead designer Dustin Browder says that making multiplayer free will unearth more talent for e-sports scene.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm's lead designer Dustin Browder recently said that company Blizzard Entertainment is "looking at" turning the multiplayer portion of StarCraft II into a free-to-play experience.

Would the free-to-play model be viable in the long run for Blizzard's space RTS?

During a panel at the Valencia eSports Congress (via PCGamesn), Browder said that the main concern was to figure out the structure for updates if balancing changes were to be made. "We don't know how [Blizzard] would monetize it. While it might be good fun for me to play against someone with only half the units available to them, that's not going to be an enjoyable experience for them."

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is the second part of the StarCraft II trilogy and is focused on major character Kerrigan and the Zerg species. No release date has been announced yet. For more information, check out GameSpot's recent coverage on the title.

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Discussion

83 comments
shnelle
shnelle

If they do go F2Play then they better not sell it for 60 bucks full price.

Booshon
Booshon

He say "We don't know how [Blizzard] would monetize it mmmm

First they should make a real money AH :P  Then i am sure they will get some ideas how to get more money heheh

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

NO that's a slap in the face to the people who supported and brought Starcraft!

izlim
izlim

Probably because they want to sell user created maps.

AnimeFreaks
AnimeFreaks

well if their goal is to attract more ppl to try competitive esports it definitely could work. I really dont think they will restrict unit access. that would be ridiculous. please dont compare free sc2 to LoL, they are not even close. most likely they will come up with some other portraits maybe convenient functions and stuff.

 

those of you that are bringing up the leavers problem. wc3 was not free it never stopped dota from having leavers. a normal rts game is alot more fast paced and generally has less leavers. those that play custom games are generally not that serious and will have more leavers. and with the tpye of gameplay most custom games have leavers should be expected. f2p will increase your player base and is a good thing. Now you have more ppl wanting to play your games especially the less popular ones.

 

but i have to say i do not like the f2p idea either and do not think it will make them rich. The game will only last if the content can keep the players. Free to play can attract people to try but the content is what will keep them.

 

I think a f2p sc2 ruins the image of the game and if multiplayer is free i wouldnt want to pay the same price for single play campagn only. and i wasnt too impressed with wol single player.

waabulo1
waabulo1

make the single player free to play and I will be interested

goodbye77
goodbye77

Then that means i spent 60 bucks just for the singleplayer? Dont make multiplayer f2p.

nurnberg
nurnberg

They might make more money in the short term if they do this, but in the long term, Starcraft won't be considered a "serious" franchise anymore by anybody and it will hurt them.  They might as well release a bunch of crappy Starcraft games every year until nobody buys them anymore like what happened with the Command and Conquer series.

nurnberg
nurnberg

I am sorry but that's just wrong.  You can't start to add nickel-and-diming in a game that was released two years ago.  That's totally unethical.  If you want to do this for your next game, fine, but don't ruin Starcraft 2 please.

NobleKnight1
NobleKnight1

I think Mr. Browder, was testing the ground.  He did said “looking at” and “…how to monetize it.”  Key words when someone is trying to get feedback and suggestions. 

 

I suggest that BigPoints should be a test case for Blizzard to look at what “not” to do and what to do. If you don’t know who BigPoints is they are creators of Battlestar Galactica, Deepolis, Dark Orbit, Pirate Storm,  Farmerama, Spel and other “free-to-play” games. 

 

People will pay to play more so if you get them hugged at the beginning with the “free-to-play” business model.  The key point is how your present it to the players.  As long as SC2 is not modify to make the NOOBS happy like Bigpoint try to do with Deepolis there will be a free-pay-play SC2.  As for the 60€ maybe they could do what StarTrek Online (STO) did when they went free-to-play.

 

Just remember you were a NOOB too and we need fresh meat  to keep things going.

 

@Noble_Knight1

SolidTy
SolidTy

It sounds cool, until you realize F2P against a paid player could really suck. Hmmm...

DragonRift
DragonRift

I really think people are seriously overreacting to this article.  While I won't argue the evils of the F2P model (trust me, I don't like it either), you're all acting like they just made the ENTIRE GAME this way.  It's just the multiplayer portion!

 

You can avoid the whole irritation by simply purchasing the retail copy.  It's that simple.  Just buy it, like you normally would.  You'd have access to everything the game offers without having to hassle with all the micro-transaction garbage that F2P users choose to deal with.

 

You guys are making this out to be a lot worse than it actually is.

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

Blizzard, cut your bullshit plz, our patience has limits. Think about how you're going to fix D3 instead of fucking up SC2

Scorpion2929
Scorpion2929

Does this dumb ass company realize that if they screw up the only 3 franchises hey have, they will be begging on the street?  

zakkaz666
zakkaz666

And for just $5.00 you start with double the vespene gas!

yinako
yinako

free to play is the future, why can't people just accept it and move on, it benefit everyone because you can play for free and pay to for the game you like to spend more time on.

nyran125
nyran125

We are going to need The Reapers to arrive early this cycle to stop the CHAOS.

akhorahill
akhorahill

Blizzard was looking for a way get free add space for SC2. Maybe Torchlight 2 did better than what they've antecipaded. Mission accomplished. Their statement is void of content.

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

What do you mean? SC2 was always free to play multiplayer. I am not sure what these guys are talking about? Someone please elaborate.

 

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

No thats bullsh*t Blizzard!

Im all for free games but people wont want to pay for single player, of course they will download the multiplayer version if its free.

If anything make people pay for online to stop lag and noob kids/adults ruining games by leaving.

I wouldnt be happy if they charged me for online use either but dont open Starcraft up to just anyone to get from a free download. its a terrible idea blizzard. 

 

Please stop wrecking the Classic Blizzard games Activision, u money hungry pigs!

jrabbit99
jrabbit99

Idk how they'd monetize it either.

AlexeyValentine
AlexeyValentine

first they fucking ruin diablo 3 then they fucking want to fucking put starfuckingcraft 2 free? fuck them and their fucking pandas! yeah cause pandas are the way to fucking go

AlexeyValentine
AlexeyValentine

fuck blizzard i payed fucking 60 euros for that fucking game! IF THEY GO FREE TO PLAY I WANT SOME FUCKING BONUS

toddx77
toddx77

Activision is going to allow this? lol

FandomTheory
FandomTheory

Oh god no. Not my StarCraft. Please!! Anything but my StarCraft...

 

I think the solution here is simple. if they REALLY want to monetize StarCraft via f2p, they should do this:

 

- The multiplayer portion of the game is free, updates and all.

- The pro Battle.net ladders cost money to opt into, as normal.

- The single player campaign still costs money.

 

There. Simple, clean, effective, and doesn't turn the game into pay2win. But honestly, I've been dreading the day this would happen. I was seriously afraid that after the Diablo 3 fiasco, Activision Blizzard wouldn't be able to make it to Legacy of the Void without either a steep drop in quality or a change in business model. Hearing this reaffirms my worry. Sadly, I will still buy Heart of the Swarm regardless because Zerg has always been my favorite race, but it's looking worse and worse for the far-off third installment...

tgwolf
tgwolf

 @Booshon I assume by 'real money' you are implying that they aren't very ethical in making money now, in which case I agree.

darkeyez81
darkeyez81

 @GH05T-666 It's their game, they can do anything they want with it. Didn't Valve did the same with Team Fortress 2?

BigFeef
BigFeef

 @DragonRift If you think they're going to turn the StarCraft multiplayer into their 'Free to Play' cash cow and then turn around and have everything available to those who have a retail copy of the game; you really are naive. Then again, *which* retail version of the retail game would you have to buy? The one that has the Terran campaign, the one that has the Zerg campaign, or the one that has the Protoss campaign?

driftingsilvia
driftingsilvia

 @yinako Because you never fully own the game then. No one wants to pay for every little thing. Buy it once and be down with it, then at least you own the physical game.

nyran125
nyran125

@Cozm1kaos im confused, only 1 way to play Starcraft 2 for free is Piracy. Theres no Starcraft 2 multiplayer free game anywhere ive seen.

shadow580
shadow580

 @Cozm1kaos free too play means that you never pay any money, not even in the beginning. I for example bought Starcraft 2 so it's not free too play for me. Sure the multiplayer is free and all.

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

 @Cozm1kaos 

The way that I understand this is they will release the multiplayer as a stand-alone free to play product separate from the paid for single player game.

shadow580
shadow580

 @GH05T-666 lag and kids are only really a problem in the lower leagues. They get filtered out eventually.

shadow580
shadow580

 @AlexeyValentine it's the same as with any product. There could be a price change the day after you buy a flat screen TV. You should have figured out whether it was worth paying for the game when you bought it. I have SC2 and I don't care in the slightest that they will make multiplayer free 2 play. It's already been out for over 2 years.

nurnberg
nurnberg

 @toddx77

 Of course, it was probably an idea from Activision.

Fiscaldeal
Fiscaldeal

 @FandomTheory I'm willing to bet that Blizzard wouldn't gate access to any units/structures/abilities if they went F2P. Starcraft is their eSports franchise, they wouldn't hand out competitive advantages to those willing to spend money as it would combat their goal of growing the competitive scene. I imagine Blizzard would expand the cosmetic side of the experience and charge for new skins and vanity items.

shadow580
shadow580

 @FandomTheory how is it pay too win if the multiplayer portion is free? Did they ever say they were going to introduce micro transactions? Please explain.

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

 @FandomTheory do we all have to buy the swarm in order to play the full multiplayer experience?

Hells_rebelion
Hells_rebelion

@darkeyez81 @GH05T-666  Just because it's their game and they can do anything they want to it doesn't mean they should.  That seems like a childish response....

DragonRift
DragonRift

 @BigFeef Umm... that's pretty much how the article's putting it.  What incentive would there be to pay for the retail version if they didn't offer that?  I think you're just being a little TOO paranoid, like the majority of the respondents in this forum.

 

And well, like all RTS expansions, you'd buy them all.  There isn't much extra explanation needed.  You want to play with the new units and see more of the story?  Pay for the game.  According to the article, the whole F2P thing is multiplayer only.

 

Don't like it?  Then either buy the game like everyone else, or.. OR...  you could just simply not play it at all!  :O

shadow580
shadow580

 @Cozm1kaos  I find it likely that the multiplayer in HOTS will not be free to play for some time as it has been for WOL.