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Are free-to-play experts the new games writers?

By on November 9, 2012
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I was complaining to a friend the other day about the attitude that many AAA developers seem to have towards free-to-play and paymium design, to retention and monetisation, to cross-promotion.

A games writer

“It’s like they think they can build a game the way they always have. The don’t think about integrating the commercial with the gameplay, about iterative development, about data-driven design. They want to drop F2P thought processes into the schedule, rather than adapting the schedule and changing the way they work to reflect the way F2P changes the whole game development process.”

My friend took a sip of his pint.

“You know what you sound like? Games writers. They complain that they are always brought in after the game has been developed and asked to ‘add a bit story’”

God help me.


The picture is of my friend Tom Jubert, a games writer. He was not the friend sipping the pint. I just the picture as an illustration of a games writer. That is all.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve:
  • Nicolas EYPERT

    Weird question I think. to me the monetization is a consequence of the game type. not the oposite. when I start designing a game I don’t think, ok lets make a free to play or a 69.99 .. depending of what I want to say in the game I will then use a different monetization.. same for stories.. many games don’t need stories many games can’t be free to play.
    my 2 cents

  • It’s so very, horribly true on both counts. 🙂

  • Sik

    Gonna nitpick and say that putting that photo there makes me think he wrote the article even though the header says otherwise. Confusion ensues 😛

    More on-topic, I think the situation is worse, it’s like they probably make the game like it was premium and then try to tack on F2P at the last second. Of course this probably depends on the developer (moreso, on the manager), but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what’s happening.

    Those companies should make designers take premium games and think on ways to make them F2P as an exercise, then when they have done enough training only then they should be allowed to make F2P games.