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Thread: If/Then (9/24)

  1. #1

    If/Then (9/24)

    A a recent eSport centric panel, Dustin Browder, lead designer on StarCraft 2, said that Blizzard was considering a Free To Play option for StarCraft 2 multiplayer. At first I wrinkled my nose, perplexed. If they've already sold the game box, isn't it already free to play? Then my stupid subsided and I realized he meant an honest to goodness "no box purchase" version of the game, like League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients. After that point I got what Browder was getting at. They can't really offer a free to play version of the game until they know how to monetize such a version. [more info]

    Obviously, most free to play games aren't really free to play. Even if you get the game for free, if you want to advance, customize, play certain maps, etc. you have to pay for it. These are typically micro-payments, giving you just enough "it's cheap" rope to hang yourself. This method of monetizing games has been incredibly profitable for some companies. And in the age of digital downloads versus store shelves, probably will continue to be for a while.

    ---

    While I've got your attention...
    A game industry friend of the site, Melissa, is doing one of the 24 hour gaming marathons via Extra Life for charity. She will be playing for Dell's Children's Medical Center of Central Texas. She's currently sitting at $106 of a $500 goal. I was hoping we could "GU-ize" that goal before the week is out. With plenty of time ahead of the October 20th Deadline.

    Here's the link if you want to help out!
    Melissa & ExtraLife via Donor Drive
    Thanks as always guys!

  2. #2
    I really don't see how they'll monetize the game, though. The only thing I can think of is if they make maps limited, but that doesn't really seem like Blizzard. Or at least the Blizzard I knew.

    Perhaps it's just a draw to get more people playing online, right before a big Heart of the Swarm announcement? Last I heard, the expansion was nearly done.

    Edit: Just as I posted this, I started seeing contests for Heart of the Swarm beta key giveaways. I either saw them already and forgot, or I have some weird selective psychic powers.

  3. #3
    brainstorming this for a couple of hours now and I don't really see many ways to monetize sc2 except maybe for "you can play the normal online for free, but if you want expansion units..."

    personally I love how valve made team fortress 2 free to play. you like an item? you can either wait for it to drop (low chance) try to craft it (medium chance, except for old items which have specific recipes) or you can just buy the thing from the store.

    then you got crate drops which contain special items that have kill counters on them, or you can find hats, which are a huge deal in the game, despite the fact that they don't do a bloody thing...

    can't say I've bought anything though, but if they put out that "one special item" that i just HAVE to have, i'll probably just buy the thing for a few bucks.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Juion View Post
    I really don't see how they'll monetize the game, though. The only thing I can think of is if they make maps limited, but that doesn't really seem like Blizzard. Or at least the Blizzard I knew.

    Perhaps it's just a draw to get more people playing online, right before a big Heart of the Swarm announcement? Last I heard, the expansion was nearly done.

    Edit: Just as I posted this, I started seeing contests for Heart of the Swarm beta key giveaways. I either saw them already and forgot, or I have some weird selective psychic powers.
    Just a few more thoughts. A lot of RMT revolves around customizing units in ways that don't change game play. So adding alternative models for standard units and custom colors is a way to go. Or they could go more like League of Legends and the latest version of Warcraft and add a Hero/General to each army. Make 3-6 "standard" versions that everybody gets for free and add 3-9 premium heros with a new batch every 3-6 months.

    Another way to do it would be to throttle how many games your allowed to play per day for free. If you have a registered version you can play as many games as you want. If you want to play more games you can pay a few bucks to get unlimited games, or a few more bucks and get the "solo content" thrown in as well.

    That would actually work really well if they started offering more missions for the campaign setting along with the online play. Register to get your first pack free, then $1-$5 per mission pack afterward. Cheap enough that people shouldn't cry about buying the game again, you'll make it up in direct sales and volume.

  5. #5
    Really, the only way to monetize a free-to-play SC2 multiplayer without making it pay-to-win or without making significant changes to the gameplay would be cosmetics.

    That's not to say that Activision will not continue to try to kill their golden goose and make SC2 multiplayer pay-to-win (since from Activision's perspective they aren't really selling too many new boxes lately, they may just feel it's better for the bottom line to cut some of those golden eggs out of the goose) but the only way to monetize SC2 multiplayer without doing that is cosmetics.

    Of course, cosmetics could be a huge thing for SC2. I know a lot of Warhammer 40K players who spend just stupid amounts of time customizing their armies. Down to the level of painting unit patches and other such graphics on the minis that are so small, that you need a magnifying glass to see them properly.

    I could imagine that aside from large scale color and skin changes on the units, they could just as easily create a system where you can customize your army on SC2 down to the unit patches and other graphics on the units. You wouldn't be able to see them at all unless you were zoomed all the way in, but that wouldn't matter to these folks. They would still buy it. (Heck, I think I would buy it and I have no where near the patience to paint a mini properly, but I could see myself spending hours customizing a unit and paying micro transactions for paint colors and patches.)

  6. #6
    LOL Free-to-play. I have stopped getting involved with free to play games unless they also offer an "All inclusive" pay to play option. To my weak will, free-to-play is a lot more expensive than pay-to-play games. :-(
    It is not a game, it is an obsession!
    Dice and Paper Roleplaying games have a home on the net.

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