GDC 13: Five free-to-play ideas

GDC 13: Five free-to-play ideas
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

March 28th 2013 at 1:08AM

QWOP creator Bennett Foddy offers novel new models for fun monetisation

Current free-to-play games seem to struggle against their business model to be fun, suggests Bennett Foddy, but that might be because developers haven't explored all their options.

Speaking to the Indie Games Summit audience in San Francisco, the former Cut-Copy bassist, Oxford Philosopher, and developer of QWOP, GIRP, and Super Pole Riders gave five new ideas about how to monetize free to play games.

Foddy argued the most common system adopted by free-to-play games - offering to let players skip through timers and pay for additional content or unlocks - diminishes the value and meaning of the game.

If a player is essentially paying to skip through one of your mechanics, or feels that in order to have fun he needs to buy more content, Foddy thinks there's a problem.

To help indie developers think around these problems without the expense of analytics, Foddy suggests it's time to try something new.

First on his list was a return to the Arcade-style model of small payments for each play session.

Another idea was to simply have users pay to have theirs scores listed on leaderboards.

Though admitting it probably wouldn't be approved for use on iOS, Foddy suggested a model where players are rewarded for skill by paying less, or another where players are penalized for poor performance.

The most compelling idea was presented last: a game where all in-game purchases change the game for all players. This would be an ambitious undertaking for sure, but the reaction of the crowd showed it was one many would like to see happen.

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