Markus “Notch” Persson indicates that his new game will have free-to-play elements in it. However, he says they won’t call it that because it’s not free, and he indicated that he dislikes free-to-play games.
“The reason some people are moving to this area is that free to play showed up in the ‘social gaming’ segment (Facebook) and made a few people (Zynga) very rich,” wrote Persson. “It’s been tried in other genres in other markets with decent success. By ‘success’, I mean ‘it’s profitable’. The reason anyone switches to ‘free-to-play’ is to make more money. You get your players hooked on your game, and then you try to monetize them. The idea is to find a model where there basically is no cap on how much the player can spend, then try to encourage players to spend more and more money. Various psychological traps like abusing the sense of sunk costs get exploited, and eventually you end up with a game that’s designed more like a slot machine than Half-Life 2.”
“So instead of calling it ‘free to play’, we should call it ‘as expensive as you want it to be’ or something,” he added. “I do not mind paying for games after the purchase. I like customizing my character, or getting a few extra levels (Deus Ex Human Revolution: Missing Link, woo!), or even paying a subscription cost for something with running costs. But let’s get one thing clear: people who think ‘free to play’ is a great future are mostly game developers, not game players.”
Notch’s thoughts can be best summed up like this: “While I am skeptical of the free to play trend, what I hate is the wording ‘free to play’,” he said before saying about some free-to-play games, “I’ll go play some Team Fortress 2 now until Dota 2 is released. I can’t wait!!”