The announcement that Brink, Splash Damage’s and Bethesda Softworks’ underwhelming shooter, would go free-to-play came as a bit of a surprise last week. So why did publisher Bethesda shift the six-year-old game from paid to free?

IGN caught up with Bethesda’s VP of Marketing and PR, Pete Hines, at QuakeCon in Dallas last week, and posed that exact question. Was it the result of months of intense research, with Bethesda carefully scoping out the F2P landscape, surveying focus groups, overhauling the game’s infrastructure, and coming up with a kick-ass plan to increase revenue?

Not quite. According to Hines:

“Todd Vaughn, our VP of Development, and I had talked about it and sort of kicked around this idea. Last year I think we had reduced it to like 99 cents [during a sale], and we were like ‘why don’t we just make it free? Like, why not?’

“Just make it free and let people download it, and maybe they’ll buy the DLC and maybe they won’t, but let’s just try it. The game has been out for forever, how much money are we really making off a 99 cents [sale]?”

So there you have it: Bethesda’s master plan for making Brink F2P was to make it F2P and hope people spend on it. Brilliant!

To be honest, that’s not terrible. Maybe it didn’t really have nine active players, as we alluded to on the last F2P Cast, but it probably wasn’t bringing in any significant amount of money either. Sure, there had to be some expenses involved in making Brink free-to-play.

But even if the conversion was sloppy — and we haven’t heard that it was — it would likely bring in at least a few dollars. Maybe more declining pay-to-play games could make the same shift to try and eke some cash out of their elder years.

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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  1. Kevin Flemming on August 28, 2017

    I know the answer. Because it’s shite and Bethesda are now greedy as they come, trying to milk YET ANOTHER ancient game for money, instead of actually using their brains and producing new, exciting, worthwhile games or content.

    • James van Zyl on August 30, 2017

      Bethesda aren’t milking it though. By making it free to play, the content that once costed money is now free. The DLC costs money, however, being that it’s all mainly skins, only the people who spend money on microtransactions will end up wasting their money. Bethesda are not “as greedy as they come”. The only things they’ve done recently (and I mean in the past year or so) was re-releasing Skyrim, but slightly updated, and the new Creator Club which I disagree with but, hey, Nexus Mods is still around. Wanna talk about milking, and cash grab? Let’s look at Ubisoft and EA, releasing how many iterations of Fifa and Assassins Creed? Adding nothing new, or completely changing it to the point where it should not even share the same name. Bethesda is hailed for making good quality games, and putting lots of time and effort into them, so if they decide to make something F2P of theirs, so be it. I happened to quite like what I played of Brink when it first came out, but now that Dirty Bomb exists, I don’t think it’ll attract many new players.

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