Free-to-play is 'democratisation of game prices' - BioWare Mythic head

Industry veteran Eugene Evans praises free-to-play, predicts the next-gen console that best migrates its community will win.

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Free-to-play is the "most consumer-friendly" pricing model, says Eugene Evans, industry veteran and vice president of EA-owned studio BioWare Mythic. Speaking at games industry conference Develop in Brighton, England, Evans called free-to-play "the democratisation of game prices."

BioWare Mythic's Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes is part of EA's Play4Free portfolio. Evans emphasised the increasing significance of games funded by subscription or microtransactions.

"I know people have issues with it, but in my mind it's the best and most consumer-friendly [pricing]," said Evans. "Free-to-play is hugely important. We've been driving the price down to free."

Deep, engaging games are the solution to player resistance to the evolving model, Evans said: "The lower the price, the better your product needs to be…especially if it's going to stand out…Any notion of 'pay to win' means we've done a bad job of it."

"Draw them in to a point where they want to say, I want to give you money, and they'll do it and enjoy it, and they'll pay you for it."

On the next generation of games consoles, Evans predicts the winning platform holder will be the one that best shifts its online community to its next machine.

"The transition we're about to go through, with the inevitable new consoles…for the first time, [console makers] have connected communities on their existing device…a key will be how they migrate them. The company that does that best will be the most successful."

Discussion

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Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

industry will always changing and will always give you options,,

it's either single-player, multi-player, or F2P,, (or other model.)

 

full controls is always in the hands of majority of consumers

so if you stick with one particular model (let's say single-player.)

I don't see the addition of one model will change anything,

 

but the truth is,,,,

 

majority of people is dumb, they always following trends.

with proper media buzz or big-budget advertising,

it's easy to divert them.

 

FandomTheory
FandomTheory

All I know is, when I sit down to play a game, I want to play a game, not a perpetual commercial for a game.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

I've yet to play a FTP MMO that doesn't try to hamstring you in several different ways to try and make you buy their RMT stuff.

 

Face it, servers cost money to host, developers need money to buy food/housing/etc to take care of their families, so SOMEONE has to pay. At least with a subscription game everyone who's playing is paying the same amount.

 

The problem with FTP is that so many times the game experience suffers to ensure that the game would be profitable. XP curve, item rarity or even absence, etc.

 

Look at D3, it's pretty obvious that the whole game was built around the auction house, and Blizzard has shown that they're quite happy to 'tweak' the drop rates to make sure items are rare enough that you have to go there (And then they hope you're headed to the RMAH, so they can get a cut of real-world profits from the sale of a virtual item).

 

Everything comes with a price, with FTP it means a smaller cut of the game's population needs to fork out enough to cover those who are happy grinding their asses off, so the game must be designed to make that happen.

 

Gimme a sub instead, thanks.

johnnybowman
johnnybowman

As long as Free to Play is not Pay to Win. Also do not make the good content cost more than a standalone game($60).

Tobinius6
Tobinius6

"Draw them in to a point where they want to say, I want to give you money, and they'll do it and enjoy it, and they'll pay you for it".

 

I always thought that that was the purpose behind free demos.

Tobinius6
Tobinius6

"Any notion of 'pay to win' means we've done a bad job of it." Notice how he doesn't say that if they set it up as 'pay to win' they've done a bad job, only if you the player realize it, then they've done a bad job.

 

Would the gaming industry really be falling all over themselves to create 'free-to-play" games if this model was making them less money than the historical pay models (ignoring the possible outliers like Team Fortress 2)?

rarson
rarson

"Any notion of 'pay to win' means we've done a bad job of it."

 

Translation: "Free-to-play" means we have to hide our monetization better.

 

In case anyone has been living under a rock and has no clue what "free-to-play" actually means, try downloading the Amazon app store to your Android phone. They have this nifty thing called the "Free App of the Day." Every day, they give away an app that previously cost money. You don't even have to download the app, just read the reviews (most of them will have a bunch of 5-stars and a bunch of 1-stars, indicating that the publisher has designed incentives into the game for people who give it a 5-star rating; they're buying reviews). Mind you, these aren't even free apps, they're apps that normally cost money to purchase. And yet most of them are still "pay-to-play," the model where the developer cripples the game or builds in some kind of "feature" that depletes as you play the game, requiring you to spend money if you want to keep playing the game. And a lot of games contain items that you may or may not need to progress which CANNOT be acquired without paying for them.

 

Granted, there are still a lot of games that really ARE free-to-play, but most of these are from very small developers or individuals. All of the bigger companies that have jumped into the Android market are starting to employ the "free-to-play" (aka "pay-to-play") model.

 

I think most people would really rather just pay $60 outright for a complete game than download a free app which keeps costing them money as they continue to use it.

vince14_evil
vince14_evil

So, what he's saying, is he wants to push gamers to be happy to pay them, without them feeling like it's a pay to win by luring you with a nice facade that makes it OK to pay for extras?

 

So now they're whoring their games out? Get to watch without much involvment, want anything more, have to pay for it? But nevermind that, you'll be glad to pay... possibly over and over again for extras, advantages, or a complete experience that you wouldn't get without taking your credit card out?

 

Calling that business 'free-to-play' is shady at best.

iluvOP
iluvOP

Free to play is an issue to me, has always been and will always be. I have yet to touch a "free to play" game that didnt suck. The whole term is pretty deceiving anyway since if you want to get anything out of it you gotta buy something from the game store and so on. I know things change, Ive accepted the whole DLC thing allready. That almost every game has bazillion DLC:s and I buy any that interest me. It just feels like that any proper "gamer" is getting pushed away these days and they are inviting random people who play 2 hours of some game and never touch it again. Also sorry for the wall of text.

toddx77
toddx77

 @Daemoroth I have yet to play D3 but your mention of how the Auction House is built around the games gives me the feeling something like that will be the new addition to on disc DLC.  Not only will publishers start forcing on disc DLC but I could see things like cool looking armor or weapons that normally you could find or buy with game money will be super hard to get or be rare drops or you could just buy them from the real money store the publisher sets up.  So if you don't want to pay $10 for the cool looking helmet you can go out of your way and do a 10 hour side quest with only a 10% chance of it dropping with every spawn lol.

i-like-me
i-like-me

 @iluvOP Play tribes ascend there is no pay to win everything can be unlocked through play and the starting equipment is good enough to make you competitive. It did completely change my opinion of free to play.

iluvOP
iluvOP

 @i-like-me Really? hmm that does sound interesting. I have few friends playing it so I might aswell give it a shot!

damodar_thade
damodar_thade

 @Gelugon_baat ME1 was done before EA aquired bioware and DAO had been in development for 5 year before EA.

supermoc10
supermoc10

 @Gelugon_baat Well when you thiink about it, the ME3 ending was bad but the road to that ending was great IMO. Which is one of the reasons I still can't believe Bioware would've made such a bad ending.