Peter Molyneux Hates Free-To-Play

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Peter Molyneux Hates Free-To-Play

Peter Molyneux

Peter Molyneux warns that if free-to-play game developers continue to be "obsessively greedy," they could end up facing the same restrictions as online gambling houses.

The term "free-to-play" covers a lot of ground. Some games are legitimately free, with options allowing serious fans to blow a few bucks as they see fit, while others are virtually unplayable without regular infusions of cash. Peter Molyneux, the man behind a whole bunch of games you really like and a few you probably don't, is getting into the business himself with Godus, but in an interview with Develop he warned that the F2P model as we've come to know it is untenable in the long run.

"We cannot continue to be obsessively greedy with our consumers, grooming children for hundreds of pounds from their parents' accounts," he said. "I hate the term 'free-to-play', and I hate the way the model is burning through our consumers and the tender shoots of new gamers."

He reiterated comments he made last month describing Godus as "invest-to-play," which he said feels like a "more responsible way of monetizing free games." He also said that game makers have a more practical reason for changing the way they approach the payment model: To avoid possible legislative restrictions on the market.

"If we're not very careful, we'll be in the same place that gambling apps are now," he said. "Those go through unbelievably strict legislative requirements."

The European Commission announced at the tail end of February that it was holding meetings with relevant agencies from various European nations as well as Google and Apple to discuss "proper consumer protection for apps customers." An investigation into the matter by the Office of Fair Trading in the U.K. resulted in developers in that country being given until April 1 to make changes to their games that include up-front notifications of the use of microtransactions and in-game advertising.

Source: Develop

Permalink

While I think it's the duty of every parent to know what their kids are doing and set proper restrictions, I fully agree with mr Molyneux. The companies that make the kind of games he's talking about are perfectly aware and (I suspect) counting on the addiction and cluelesness of their customers. Just because a person doesn't know better, doesn't mean you should take advantage of him/her.

Plus I fucking hate the model. F2P used to mean things like Maple Story, not what it's become today.

I couldn't agree more with the guy. There are some great F2P games out there, but (especially on my phone) I am all too often in a situation where I download-and-delete because I can't even get into the game before I'm asked to pay to get access to basic functionality.

I hope hes right. Not only are tons of those incredibly exploitative, they might very well put AAA games out of business.

Only F2P game I really played is Path of Exile, the other ones slammed my head straight against the paywall pretty early...

I agree with this right-being dude. It's damn bad when a game has to be designed according to what gives the most opportunities to charge extra, instead of what makes the game the most fun.

Chaosritter:
Only F2P game I really played is Path of Exile, the other ones slammed my head straight against the paywall pretty early...

Path of Exile is excellent. Loadout isn't bad either. Neither seem to have a paywall and both sell mostly just vanity items.

Sometimes I wish Molyneux hadn't gone Tom Cruise Crazy.

Considering what I saw of Godus and how murky that whole "investing" deal is there (considering he didn't really clarify, at least as far as I know, what exactly differentiates it), I'm a bit unsure what to make of his comments. I guess he has a point for the really abusive free-to-play games and there should be restrictions in place, sure, but overall I think it's a legitimate business model that, like so many others, can be misused if developers and publishers are left to their own devices. I'm currently playing Tiberium Alliances on and off, a free-to-play browser game with elements of RTS and Tower Defense. I like it. And, frankly, I'm not spending a single cent on it, because while there are boosts, they are mostly about convenience, not outright pay-to-win, and a lot of those boosts you can actually get through fighting neutrals anyway. Sure, I'll never be as quick as people who spend real money on it, but I don't feel that I have to spend to get anywhere, either.

Raziel:
I hope hes right. Not only are tons of those incredibly exploitative, they might very well put AAA games out of business.

It might succeed in doing that ... but only by killing gaming as a trillion dollar business by souring the new generation on gaming in general with their soul destroying F2P shit. Molyneux is right enough in recognizing that problem.

That said, he's part of the problem.

"Peter Molyneux: I actually like shops in games."

There is no way to remove the perverse incentives from F2P, it cultivates junkies among the players and moral degenerates among the developers.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/195806/

Is it me, or is the entire ftp model basically the same, and as ethically questionable as setting up a cash bar at an AA meeting? Yeah they're not all gonna succumb. But the few who do will be throwing money at you to the detriment of life. That's your business model.

I agree. When children can run up thousand pound debts from playing on their parent's tablet, something's gone terribly wrong. Especially when some games seem designed to exploit this...

In my experience, Star Trek Online does F2P fairly well - the (extensive) plot is completely available, and you won't hit a difficulty paywall or anything like that. As fas as I can tell, you only really need to invest if you're going to take the PVP really seriously. In theory, you can farm dilithium and buy anything that way, but it'll take forever.

Instead, you pay for what are essentially geeky 'perks'. A Galaxy Glass with a new look and a special ability, or a Borg crew member, or a pet to follow you around. That sort of thing.

(Of course, while STO does the F2P model fairly well, the gameplay gets fairly repetitive after the 17th mission of "Fly to base/anomaly/missing ship - Space battle - Beam to ship/base/planet - Ground battle - Emergency! Beam back to the ship - CLIMACTIC space battle - Done.")

Path of Exile, Loudout, Star Trek Online, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2. The only f2p games in the endless ocean of f2p games that do a good job at being f2p as far as I'm aware. I can't believe I actually agree with this guy.

Unfortunately we are already seeing the damage to the market being done. The legislative process in western nations that have a good handle on technological issues is generally slowwwww and in more autocratic markets the grasp of issues and dangers can be loose to nonexistent. If legislators could move quicker then we would already see controls in place, especially in the online gambling no-go areas of the U.S.

The_Darkness:

In my experience, Star Trek Online does F2P fairly well - the (extensive) plot is completely available.

Sadly games like Star Trek online are part of the old guard, old model of free to play. The model didn't start off like this but in the mobile space it is almost exclusively used in a way akin to software associated with gambling.
These games share the common trait that they are based on teasing, compulsion and trying to wage a psychological war on the player.

One day legislators are going to wake up to this fact and we could see some UGLY measured passed to ham-fistedly try and squash it out. Measures that will take a toll on all of the gaming industry and could be structured to damage and attack it as a whole. Games are already an extremely tempting target. Having abhorrent practices like this shines an ugly light on gaming and gives those who would wish to attack it a way in.

Said Molyneux again, while thinking of some way to make a crappy game to fit his "new" payment model

Adam Jensen:
Path of Exile, Loudout, Star Trek Online, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2. The only f2p games in the endless ocean of f2p games that do a good job at being f2p as far as I'm aware. I can't believe I actually agree with this guy.

Warframes pretty good too. The only stuff that cant be gotten with in game crafting is 100% cosmetic stuff. It gives you a choice with most of the geames weapons, either spend an hour gathering mats and credits for a blueprint, then 12-24 hours to craft, or drop like 3 on it.

EDIT: And I find this line of talk hilariously Ironic from the man that brought us curiosity.

He actually make a good point since which online game is truly free to play with no optional cost on buying stuff?

Adam Jensen:
Path of Exile, Loudout, Star Trek Online, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2. The only f2p games in the endless ocean of f2p games that do a good job at being f2p as far as I'm aware. I can't believe I actually agree with this guy.

Hey!
Don't forget Blacklight Retribution. >:(

B2T:
I fully agree with him.
If you look at all those games that try to force you to put lots of money into them, and the few that don't, it becomes clear that there's a problem.

Much as I cheer the sentiment, I'd like to hear more about the specifics of this "invest to play" thing before I give full credit to the source.

And while part of me would be thrilled to see legislation drive a stake through the dark heart of the exploitative side of F2P (especially those who would use F2P-style sales on top of standard-priced "entry" fees), I'm not at all sure a model has fully emerged yet that can take the place of the foundering AAA industry.

I do think Molyneux has a good point about what the F2P model is doing to the next generation of gamers, though.

This coming from the guy who tried to make you pay 3 for black dye in fable 3. How very ironic.

Adam Jensen:
Path of Exile, Loudout, Star Trek Online, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2. The only f2p games in the endless ocean of f2p games that do a good job at being f2p as far as I'm aware. I can't believe I actually agree with this guy.

LOTRO used to have a good F2P model, they also were the first major Western game to do it, no idea how good it is now, as haven't play in like at least 2 years.

"Peter, join me and we will rule the galaxy together!"
"Oh. That actually sounds kinda good. Think of all the good I could do in the dark side. all the great games I could make." *dreamy-eyed beat* "Yes. Yes, I think I will join you. What bad could possibly come from this?"

Something along those lines probably actually happened.

Scrumpmonkey:
Unfortunately we are already seeing the damage to the market being done. The legislative process in western nations that have a good handle on technological issues is generally slowwwww and in more autocratic markets the grasp of issues and dangers can be loose to nonexistent. If legislators could move quicker then we would already see controls in place, especially in the online gambling no-go areas of the U.S.

The_Darkness:

In my experience, Star Trek Online does F2P fairly well - the (extensive) plot is completely available.

Sadly games like Star Trek online are part of the old guard, old model of free to play. The model didn't start off like this but in the mobile space it is almost exclusively used in a way akin to software associated with gambling.
These games share the common trait that they are based on teasing, compulsion and trying to wage a psychological war on the player.

One day legislators are going to wake up to this fact and we could see some UGLY measured passed to ham-fistedly try and squash it out. Measures that will take a toll on all of the gaming industry and could be structured to damage and attack it as a whole. Games are already an extremely tempting target. Having abhorrent practices like this shines an ugly light on gaming and gives those who would wish to attack it a way in.

Yep. No one sticks to the basics when they prosecute an entire franchise game of industry by proxy. They look for other infractions, as an excuse to lever down a larger hatchet.

I think its just the stodgy old social guard's (in politics and finance sector) resentment of tech and geek culture's commercial success. Demographics they don't like made lots of money with hardware and software that exploded in demand around the world. Some stuff they or their aides use for them everyday.

So when independent geniuses make games or dark curious and interesting ways to enjoy themselves outside of the whims of the socially powerful. (Even since D&D) They get publicly criticized. At least until they offer political donations, or buy into schemes. Controversial game content, pricing policies that hurt consumers like you and me. Its all bait, and PR blackmail of Tinseltown and inside the Beltway

gargantual:

Scrumpmonkey:

Yep. No one sticks to the basics when they prosecute an entire franchise game of industry by proxy. They look for other infractions, as an excuse to lever down a larger hatchet.

The laws and regulations on this are something that really need to be looked at. As does intellectual property law and digital goods, desperately so. Unfortunately sensible law making on the subject of Video Games and didigtal media in general has a dismal history.

The EU courts are holding consultations on the situation and look to be coming up with some pretty sensible ideas. EU technology law is one of the rare cases of the EU getting something very right so i hold out some hope there. The problem is that the EU moves slower than almost any legislature due to having to have the agreement of member states and multiple courts.

he does have a point, some of the greedy F2P game might take the entire model down with em

Adam Jensen:
Path of Exile, Loudout, Star Trek Online, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2. The only f2p games in the endless ocean of f2p games that do a good job at being f2p as far as I'm aware. I can't believe I actually agree with this guy.

blacklight retribution and league of legends do have good models too

TheSniperFan:
Hey!
Don't forget Blacklight Retribution. >:(

I didn't. Compared to the other games I mentioned, the amount of work you need to put in to get something in Blacklight to last you forever takes forever.

Callate:
Much as I cheer the sentiment, I'd like to hear more about the specifics of this "invest to play" thing before I give full credit to the source.

And while part of me would be thrilled to see legislation drive a stake through the dark heart of the exploitative side of F2P (especially those who would use F2P-style sales on top of standard-priced "entry" fees), I'm not at all sure a model has fully emerged yet that can take the place of the foundering AAA industry.

I do think Molyneux has a good point about what the F2P model is doing to the next generation of gamers, though.

I might be off on this one, but the way i read this "invest to play" is propost as a more honest name for "free to play".
It doesn't try to hide the fact that there will be asked for money at some point.

the way i see it, there are 3 type of "free to play" games

1: (masive)Multiplayer games
These games have dedicated servers that cost money (and lots of it)
They need a way to earn money.
these games need the steady income the most, but are in general the most fair about what goes behind the pay wall.

in general i find these the most fair, these games have a high server cost.
If no one would pay these games would disappear, but often you can play without paying just fine

2: The interactive banner ads.
You watch the banner or buy the premiun version, either way the company gets payed.
This is a bit of a mixed badge, some are just fine, others are annoying as hell.

3: The "free to download" games.
They don't charge you for downloading them, but they do charge money for just about anything else.
These games are often singleplayer tap games with timers were they give you the option to pay a small amount or die of old age before you enter the next round.

I have to agree with Molyneux here, F2P is virtually gambling the way it is run right now,

To reiterate a point I made in a previous thread, the Gamasutra article is called "Chasing the Whale"

And here's an extract:

Chris' behavior during this time is how people in the video game industry would describe a "whale"-- someone who spends large amounts on free-to-play games, and essentially makes the business model viable by balancing out the 99 percent of players who don't ever fork out a dime.

The important thing to note is that "Whale" isn't a video game industry term. It's a gambling term used by casino staff (and others in the industry) to describe the richest guys that come into casinos with $10s of millions to blow it on blackjack.

If we are already at the stage where we are using gambling terms to describe customers (which can be unsupervised children) then there is something wrong with the system.

Hero in a half shell:
If we are already at the stage where we are using gambling terms to describe customers (which can be unsupervised children) then there is something wrong with the system.

This. What really got my goat was the way EA Mythic went so far as to weave the IAPs into Dungeon Keeper Mobile's tone. It wasn't just an ancillary mechanic; it was something the mentoring character (Horny) openly admitted to being a soulless cash-grabbing attempt, but seeing as he's meant to be comically evil, then rubbing that fact in the player's face is *somehow* okay?!

What the fuck, Mythic?! I get that the series' tone has always involved a kind of tongue-in-cheek adoration of all things wicked and reprehensible, but don't go "You want more? You gotta pay for it 'cause we're EEEEEVIL, up in this shit!" as this is nothing but an outright farce that's being made out of the original series' tone!

There's just no amount of humor, no amount of sass, no amount of black comedy you could ever squeeze into an iDevice app that would make me look to in-app purchases with something that even remotely approaches a wry smile! Considering what's been mentioned before, this kind of money-gouging isn't joke material, not when most iDevice owners don't even bother with activating Restrictions or don't even know how to do that!

Case in point, my grandmother has an iPad. As everyone in the house is over 20 years old and could be considered sane and financially responsible, the device isn't restricted. Still, all it took for her to end up with fifty bucks' worth of Smurfberry credit was a visit from one of my cousins' kids - a six year-old who straight-up downloaded his favorite Freemium app without mentioning it to anybody and who just went straight off demolishing the game's paid-for limitations.

Two weeks later, we're stuck explaining to an eighty year-old woman who's just starting to get a hang of the pinching motion to manipulate photos that one of our cute lil' ragamuffins bought stuff on *her* credit card.

Confusion and betrayal galore.

If this is where the casual market is going, then I'm entirely in favor of these games being regulated like gambling apps.

Adam Jensen:

TheSniperFan:
Hey!
Don't forget Blacklight Retribution. >:(

I didn't. Compared to the other games I mentioned, the amount of work you need to put in to get something in Blacklight to last you forever takes forever.

i dont agree but fine, each person has their own opinions

This is either very hypocritical of him, seeing how Godus is just as much a "Free to play" game like all the others. (read Pay to play).

Or, he's saying something different.
I might be cynical, but it sounds more like he's warning his fellow penny-pushers to try and not to go overboard with this lucrative model, or the government might tighten the rules.

He doesn't want this model to go away, he wants to keep pushing people for money, he just calls it differently and warns people not to draw too much attention to it.

Ranorak:
This is either very hypocritical of him, seeing how Godus is just as much a "Free to play" game like all the others. (read Pay to play).

Or, he's saying something different.
I might be cynical, but it sounds more like he's warning his fellow penny-pushers to try and not to go overboard with this lucrative model, or the government might tighten the rules.

He doesn't want this model to go away, he wants to keep pushing people for money, he just calls it differently and warns people not to draw too much attention to it.

On steam Godus goes for just about €18, but that can be for early access.
Why people will pay to play a game that isn't done and will be free when it is, is beyond me.
But there is an other treat for that.

I do think he is just warning fellow developers not to overdo it.
If they can create a code of conduct them selfs, the goverment doesn't need to make laws that are undoubtedly more restrictive.

But we as customers can also benefit from this warning.
there are a lot of fun games for a tight budget,
If tight regulation come to pass, the good games may also be affected.

But in the end, we are customers.
So we are paying for the games, just not always up front or with money.

iniudan:

Adam Jensen:
Path of Exile, Loudout, Star Trek Online, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2. The only f2p games in the endless ocean of f2p games that do a good job at being f2p as far as I'm aware. I can't believe I actually agree with this guy.

LOTRO used to have a good F2P model, they also were the first major Western game to do it, no idea how good it is now, as haven't play in like at least 2 years.

From what I played... it's... it's -pretty- crappy with the F2P model, at least that's a few months back.

Your capped on the amount of inventory space you have, can only have a max of 10 gold or some small amount like that, certain quests are "pay 2 play" only, and a host of features seem to have been ripped straight out of the game and hidden behind a pay wall.

I hear The Old Republic has gone to to the darkside of F2P in similar ways as well. EA's method seems to be akin to putting your arm in a meat grinder and saying you don't -have- to pay them to let your arm go, but if you pay them they'll let your arm go.

EDIT: Turns out it's 2 gold max, also you have several chat features being blocked off, and you can -bid- on a marketplace but not get listings, also PvP is limited.

Chareater:
This coming from the guy who tried to make you pay 3 for black dye in fable 3. How very ironic.

I cant really believe I'm typing this but I think he's right in what he is saying. Can I ask what's wrong with charging 3 for a dye pack? Dye's have no impact on the game other than the purely aesthetic. It's exactly what pay DLC should be, if you want it buy it, but you will still be able to experience the full game without it.

Way to click-bait with that headline, Escapist. That's not at all what Molyneux said. But, you did get me to click on it, so....you win this round.

Anyway, I completely agree with Molyneux here. The Dungeon Keeper's and All the Bravest's of the world are taking a really interesting game model and just pounding it into dust.

It not just Molyneux, there are other developers like myself who absolute hate this stuff:
http://www.baekdal.com/opinion/how-inapp-purchases-has-destroyed-the-industry/

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here