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Breach & Clear: Bowling warns against forcing free-to-play into games

Friday, 19th July 2013 11:04 GMT By Dave Cook

Breach & Clear developer Rob Bowling has stressed that free-to-play models cannot be forced into games without sacrificing in quality. If you’re going to go free, it has to make sense he says.

Having just released Breach & Clear, a paid mobile strategy game, Bowling told PocketGamer, “I think the free-to-play model is a great model, and the game experience that you’re going for really has to fit that model. There’s no way to force it.

“What we had to do was we had to make the decision to either try and force it down the free-to-play path, or fall back on making a really solid premium game. I think if you don’t force it, and it really fits with the type of experience you’re going for, it has been proven that it can be wildly more successful than a premium game.”

Warning against the pitfalls of show-horning free models, Bowling added, “If our aim was ‘let’s go for the most profitable model we can with the game’, I would suggest we would probably use the free-to-play model,”

“Because you’re going to get a lot more users in the door, and a lot more ability to monetise that userbase. But we would have had to make certain sacrifices in favour of that profit that would have hindered a better gameplay experience.”

What do you think of free-to-play models at present? Can they harm the quality of a game, or can they be applied effectively if given care? Let us know what you think below.

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4 Comments

  1. karma

    In my experience F2P games have proven themselves time and time again to be shallow as hell in regards to gameplay. It seems to me like its only the non gamers who haven’t experienced the alternative that core gamers have that are fooled by it.

    The best thing about F2P games is that they are free to try, and it only takes a few mins of gameplay usually to see how the gameplay has been monetised to trick you into spending to win.

    They’re pretty much a cancer on the industry imo.

    Games should exist to be fun first and foremost, and make money second. Not the other way around.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. orakaa

    I haven’t seen any good F2P experience so far. One that would not put you “out” of the game experience to (almost constantly) solicit you for money.

    It’s like a (bad) relationship, when you’re going out with someone, but that person WANTS to be offered stuff, and constantly reminds this to you, up to a point where, when you don’t give this person gifts, etc., you are not really having a pleasant moment.
    When you reach that level, you know you should go, even if it’s the prettiest girl in the block.

    F2P is the new “MMO”. Back when World of Warcraft arrived and became a success, tons of publishers thought it was a gold mine and tried to get a piece of the cake. With little to no success: for most publishers, MMOs have not been a profitable experience, quite the opposite.
    F2P is the new gold mine nowadays. Sure it’s more profitable (or so it seems, for now), but they risk to alienate gamers and disgust them (and I hope it will be the case).

    Video game is a business, like any other, but you have to find the correct balance between what the customer gives you and what you offer him/her in exchange. F2P models, so far have only been cash-in machines, offering very little consistency and real value for your money. More like a pay wall to speed up you (artificially slowed) progress.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Darksider123

    @3
    I Like your relationship analogy

    #3 1 year ago
  4. bradk825

    The rumoured pricing model for Killer Instinct will be an interesting experiment for free-to-play. They are talking about getting the first character free and you can play the game, and you buy the characters you want. Most people only ever play 2 or 3 characters in a fighting game so you could potentially pay nothing, 5 bucks or 20 bucks depending on what you want.

    It’ll be interesting to see if this ends up being profitable in the end and also whether people like it, or even though they save a lot of money call it a cash grab (we gamers can be a funny crowd).

    #4 1 year ago

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