Making a free-to-play game is different from making a pay-to-play one and making a one-off game is different from a continuing, MMO-like “games as service” game. These probably aren’t earth-shattering revelations to any of us, but it’s still stunning how many people who actually make games can get those parts wrong, applying a “one size fits all” approach to game creation.

The makers of Dreadnought, Studio Yager, seem to have grasped these most basic of concepts. In an interview with Gamasutra, Managing Director Timo Ullman talks about the switch between a “traditional business model” and free-to-play. It’s a transition his team needed to make after working on Spec Ops: The Line and moving to Dreadnought.

“F2P has been an interesting business model for us. You have to strike a delicate balance between offering players a great game that can be played for free and, at the same time, be able to afford keeping it running.”

Most of the interview covers the basics of F2P online game design: not making the game pay-to-win, testing with a live audience, continuing development past the launch date, and so on. Smartly, Ullman doesn’t believe that F2P, or pay-to-play, is right for every title, and the he’s keeping his options open for what Yager does next:

“We have new concepts in the making that could perhaps work well as F2P or games-as-a-service experiences. That isn’t to say we will only do one thing and one thing only going forward – only that we continue to find F2P attractive and are keen to apply what we’ve learned making Dreadnought to future projects.”

Careful, Gamasutra — people might get the idea that F2P isn’t universally a terrible idea.

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.


  1. I think they need to make the leap towards mmo open world, its not that don’t have the skills in modelling as they do! But, their current games limited vs limited map based is obvious its become monotonous.

  2. “FREE” to play is only a problem when you lock everything behind a paywall or grind for a year to achieve the same results as someone who payed.
    Then there’s those Devs that just want a quick cash grab and milk the game dry.

    • There is a lot of problem with the Developer
      and Publisher that just can’t stop being greedy when we are as a big community supporting their game.
      They take it to the next level by making you pay DLC, Founder pack or locked Content and much more stuff behind the game.
      (Leading you quit the game permanently)

    • It’s pretty much the only reason games go F2P nowadays. Initial population count wasn’t what they were expecting, so they make it F2P to draw people in.

      Love how companies hide behind obvious lies. Just tell it how it is. Be honest with people for once. It’s the sole reason there is so much distrust with developers now. They continuously lie about almost everything.


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