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.