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Ten Gamesbrief articles Jonathan Ross should read

By on December 5, 2012
JonathanRoss

It’s just been announced that Jonathan Ross has started a games studio. Hotsauce interactive is said to be staffed by a number of experienced developers, and has released an iOS game called Cacha Cacha Aliens. Ross and Stephen Fry provide vocal talents to the space exploration game, which is priced at 69p in the iTunes store. According to Gamesbriefer Oscar Clark, at the Bafta event where he announced the opening of the studio he criticised free-to-play, claiming that too many freemium games are poor quality.

I’m quite a fan of Jonathan Ross, so I decided to put together a list of Gamesbrief articles that I think he should read; whether he intends to change his mind about free-to-play or not.

Why you shouldn’t launch at 69p

Let’s get the awkward bit out of the way. At Gamesbrief, we’re not fond of the 69p price point. We think it devalues your game, limits your revenue and limits distribution by creating a barrier to entry for players who just want to give your game a try before fully committing to it. Jonathan, if you want to hear us out, here are some posts debating the topic that we published when Activision launched Pitfall for 69p:

Pitfall at £0.69? Is Activision crazy?
Activision charging for Pitfall could make sense, But not at 69p
[Gamesbriefers] Should Pitfall have launched for free?

The case for free-to-play

I couldn’t go on without sending you to a few articles explaining why we think your game would thrive if it was free-to-play. Here are some of our best posts about going free.
Why your game should be free to play
Whales, power laws and the future of media
A debate on free-to-play

The case for being expensive

Ross didn’t just criticise free-to-play; he said that there needs to be a diverse ecosystem of business models in the industry. There will always be a role for premium alongside free. We completely agree. Here are some posts about the limitations of free to play and the role of premium.

Move over Freemium: Paymium is the New Game in Town
Why free-to-play is not the answer to everything
The future of the games industry? It’s in three parts

Epic economics

Cacha Cacha Aliens sounds like a worldly game, with items to collect and areas to explore. Last spring, I looked at Jetpack Joyride, Final Fantasy and Infinity Blade II to explain why games based on virtual economic activity work well during a time of real-world economic gloom. Along the way, I highlight some of the ways that games give players the sense of economic agency that they might not get in real life; regardless of whether the game is free-to-play, paymium or an old-fashioned boxed product.

Oh, and Jonathan: if you ever want to write a guest post about why you’ve chosen the 69p price point, you would be totally welcome here ;)

About Zoya Street

I’m responsible for all written content on the site. As a freelance journalist and historian, I write widely on how game design and development have changed in the past, how they will change in the future, and how that relates to society and culture as a whole. I’m working on a crowdfunded book about the Dreamcast, in which I treat three of the game-worlds it hosted as historical places. I also write at Pocketgamer.biz and The Borderhouse.