Game Dev Thought Fodder
A veteran designer explains what’s great about free-to-play games
Free-to-play games have a pretty nasty reputation around the so-called "core" gamers, but Lee Perry, who used to be a Lead Designer at Epic Games and has 20 years of game development experience, gives a ton of good reasons for free-to-play. They all make sense, and he's clear about some tactics being nasty and predatory, but hear him out on the good stuff.
Some of my favorite games, including Card Hunter, are free-to-play. It's just a tricky monetization structure to do correctly, and without pissing off your fans. The rewards can be great, however, as you can create a game that you get to add to and iterate on as long as people are willing to play and pay. Rejecting every game that's free-to-play is destructive, as there are good and bad free-to-play games, just as there are good and bad "premium games."
Hell, Colonial Marines was $60 when it was released. It doesn't get much more predatory than that. And no one brings up League of Legends being a free-to-play game. The more developers who learn how to do it well, the better for everyone. It's time to stop being a snob about being offered games for free.