The decision to make a game pay-to-play or free-to-play is usually one that’s made behind closed doors, with only the barest hint of input from players, current or potential. Developers might engage their communities on social media to get their input on various game elements, but the binary decision on whether or not to be F2P is usually not one that’s open for external debate.
One mobile developer is taking a different route, however. RareSloth, the makers of bunny-based puzzler Furdemption, recently opened up about the struggles they’ve had getting their pay-to-play game noticed on the App Store. According to their numbers, over 1.3 million people have viewed Furdemption’s page on the App Store, but fewer than 20,000 have made the $4.99 purchase. RareSloth is thinking about going F2P with Furdemption 2, but that decision isn’t “set in stone,” so they’re asking fans to weigh in on some of the different tactics they’re considering to get people to spend.
Asking fans for their input is probably a bit of a slippery road to travel, though. Of course, everyone will say they want something for free, and barring anything too egregious, will say they’re OK with what measures the company takes to earn some income. Saying you want something, though, and still supporting it once it goes live and you see exactly how it’s implemented, are two entirely different things, as evidenced by [insert name of MMO that was super-hyped before it launched and everyone said they would love and then abandoned once it came out].
Still, it’s an interesting direction to go in, and one wonders how it would fare with larger games. If Blizzard had opened up Overwatch to a vote, would it have stayed pay-to-play? What about something like H1Z1, which many survival-game fans would prefer never goes free-to-play? Fan input on such matters is undoubtedly taken into account when these decisions are being made, but it would be odd to state that it would have a direct role in that decision — one that I’m not sure would work out in larger scales.