Candy Crush Dev: Microtransactions Are The Future of Games

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Candy Crush Dev: Microtransactions Are The Future of Games

Candy Crush Saga art

Tommy Palm says that gamers will resist the free-to-play model at first, but will fall in line as all companies transition to it.

Tommy Palm, King's "Game Guru" (his official job title) and a developer for Candy Crush Saga, has seen the future of gaming, and it involves a lot of people paying a little bit of money many times. He believes that free-to-play titles with microtransactions are the only way to go, and that all game companies should make the transition. "The microtransaction is so strong and it's definitely a much better model [that the traditional pre-packaged model]. I think all companies have to transition over to that," he told IGN.

Furthermore, Palm added that while hardcore gamers will, naturally, resist the transition at first, that attitude will change as all of their favorite franchises become free-to-play. "If you talk to many hardcore gamers, they're not happy about it right now, but if you asked them about the long term, 'do you want to continue playing your favorite game for years to come?' And the answer will be yes," he said.

However, before you get out your torch and pitchfork, Palm did stress the importance of sensible pricing. "I think for companies it is very important to find a good balance. Free-to-play games are difficult to do, and you really need to be good at making it feel balanced to the gamers. So it's not too greedy."

He noted that his own game, Candy Crush Saga, is actually able to be fully completed without paying a cent, and that of the players who are on the game's last level, more than half of them didn't pay to get there.

Palm also cited Blizzard's Hearthstone as a free-to-play title done right, stating that "it's a great example of a F2P game that is made really well, it's well balanced, and I don't think many people are complaining about that business model."

I think Palm makes some good points, namely, that free-to-play is a very powerful model, but... why not both? Surely, F2P can co-exist with the traditional, pre-packaged product model?

It's also somewhat hard to take the company that tried to trademark the word "Candy" seriously about anything.

Source: IGN

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Free to play translates to me as "free to avoid" in almost all cases. Definitely wouldn't want to see that as the standard model.

We will fall in line? What a fuckin' dumbass. I hope his company crashes and burns and everyone forgets it existed.

I avoid FTP at all costs. Microtransactions are only the future of penny grabbing douche companies. I'm sick of games where I would happily buy outright, instead offering a freemium model that nickel and dimes me for 10x what the game is worth. Paywalls are another pet hate, only allowing progression (although it can be done by waiting) by spending real money.

TL;DR : Fuck King - FTP is a hateful experience (Hearthstone excluded)

/RantOver

How can a game dev be so out of touch with the gaming community?

He's encouraging other devs to go against what the consumer wants, this is what's wrong with the games industry.

There is nothing wrong with the free to play model, there are games that do it right i think he is correct in thinking that hearthstone is one of them so is the secret world. His game however is the worst example of how to do free to play or in his case free to wait.

I don't think free to play will work for everything but it does have its place if done right, not if its exploited by the type of dev who wants to copyright the word candy, d**k.

Steven Bogos:
However, before you get out your torch and pitchfork, Palm did stress the importance of sensible pricing. "I think for companies it is very important to find a good balance. Free-to-play games are difficult to do, and you really need to be good at making it feel balanced to the gamers. So it's not too greedy."

This is what gets to me about the entire F2P market. It's never about being balanced, it's always about feeling balanced. The idea that the model is fine provided that your customers never think too hard about what they're actually doing. A Free To Play game will never be fully balanced unless the only incentives are through cosmetic items or sideways upgrades a la Team Fortress 2 - and there's only so much smoke and mirrors you can pile on to make a game 'feel' balanced before your customers start seeing through the cracks.

Yeah, absolutely, Tommy. All games should force the user to wait hours for lives/turns to regen, or be prohibitively difficult. All games should arbitrarily be damaged goods, then slowly restored to any sort of decent quality by the user.

See, what you want is for a large proportion of your userbase to try the game out, and then decide that it's terrible because they're only allowed to have fun for 15 minutes at a time. This allows for a situation where your entire fucking profit margin comes from 5% of your players, the few who bother paying anything before looking for another cheap thrill.

Clearly the future of games lies in a situation where almost NO ONE gives a shit about your game, and a few obsessive fans pay for development.

That second paragraph is a peach! It makes out that the only way games will continue is with the FTP model, which I think is a bullshit model.

Personally, I think the FTP model is crap but I am one of those who thinks everything is over priced. I am not even talking about those silly 70+ ones (like I would 70+ for a AAA game. Warframe on the PS4 has a 109 one) but paying 5 for a gun is absurd to me!

Using my previous example, warframe ... I sometimes play a level or two in that but I always spend more time just looking at the cost of stuff. To buy colours is about 3-4 but they sell them in packs, so you can get all these vibrant colours but if you then want black, you need to pay another 3-4 for that.

Everything is locked away in FTP play games and they have insane grind times to get anywhere, makes runescape look like no grinding involved.

In my world, using warframe as an example. A colour pallet would be about 0.50p and a gun would be about 2. Maybe living on such a low income has made me value a 1 more but once you start buying stuff in a FTP game, you're invested ... when you stop playing is when you've wasted your money and I don't feel any FTP has been good enough to warrant that yet.

Whilst there's nothing wrong with free to play titles, I have to say that this guy is talking out of his ass. In an ideal world, we wouldn't have to pay a dime to play games in their fullest, or watch movies. But, that's not how the world works. We live in a world where money is king, and people will walk over other people to get it. And we're already seeing this in today's game industry. They literally don't care about their customers. (Generalizing, I know). And we can't trust them for as far as we can throw them. So, no, we won't just roll over and accept it. We will fight it, tooth and nails.

No one in the industry uses the term "Game Guru", It's what outside consultancy firms call some tangentially qualified person who comes in to brief people who know shit all about games. As I've stated before King.com does not make games. It contracts (sometimes literally) starving flash-game developers who thought they would get rich from the facebook boom but instead ended up in a bun fight for scraps with thousands of others to make colour vomit crap.

King.com contracts these people to make clones of popular games and they'll go along with this questionable work, sometimes literally told to folly rip-off others games out of spite, because they have less than np power in this relationship.

But back to this 'game guru'; King.com is a load of empty suits attached to a load of ravenous lawyers. At the higher level they a (dubious) Intellectual Property holdings company. From what I've seen they don't have a clue how making a decent games could even potentially work. This brainless statement further cements that.

Steven Bogos:
Candy Crush Dev: Microtransactions Are The Future of Games

Furthermore, Palm added that while hardcore gamers will, naturally, resist the transition at first, that attitude will change as all of their favorite franchises become free-to-play. "If you talk to many hardcore gamers, they're not happy about it right now, but if you asked them about the long term, 'do you want to continue playing your favorite game for years to come?' And the answer will be yes," he said.

I strongly disagree with this paragraph. That implies our "favorite" games are only enjoyable in the form of sequels, which presumably will adapt the "Free to Play" method. I still have a lot of favorite games from the SNES, GBA, GBC, and even the Sega Game Gear era that I can still "play" without having to go through a pay-wall again. Plus there are old games I never got a chance to try in my youth but are available on services like GOG and/or Steam (i.e. "System Shock 2" being a great example) that can keep me interested. Basically, I find this paragraph flawed because it implies backwards compatability or only current/future games are the only 'good' ones.

As for the Free-to-Play model: Whether it is the future or not, gamers have a hard time finding ways on how the "free-to-play" model works best in different games. The problem I see with them is that they can easily break the flow of the game by being ingrained into the core mechanics. Actions that were basic and simple to perform in, say, "Dungeon Keeper" has become a time-sink waste of time in "Dungeon Keeper Mobile". The "Free-to-play" model can easily work as a trap by luring players in with a free game, then snap shut on them to prevent any growth or entertainment with out some incremental pay.

Yes massah I surely will fall in line. Egotistical prick. You know what? If it happens that this becomes the norm rather than the exception is the day i quit gaming it's not like i don't have a backlog to get by on.

Scars Unseen:
Free to play translates to me as "free to avoid" in almost all cases. Definitely wouldn't want to see that as the standard model.

it has a place imo...i enjoy many "F2P" games...but in all honesty i put very little stock in anyone claiming what they might be doing in particular "is the future"...

human beings...not very good at predicting "the future" actually...

very good at "bigging themselves up" however.

especially when they've made an obscenely large amount of money...

even if it is off something borderline inconsequential.

Candy Crush Saga is just "the puzzle game that caught on".

next gen Tetris if you like...

but unlike Tetris it's not "original" by any means...and the truth is, barring the twists of fate, it could have been any number of colourful puzzle games that rose to the fore.

...as such its developers opinion doesn't actually hold that much weight imho...

and that's without factoring in how facepalmingly inane it generally is to proclaim what you're doing is "the future".

ultimately...things aren't actually driven by what "companies" might want to do anyway...

My problem is not with the F2P model. It's how the game is usually designed around it, limiting what you can do as a developer. (Jonathan Blow did a good talk about this subject, just google 'Jonathan blow free to play' if you are interested)
Single player games will die if Tommy Palm is right.

I would like to point out that this is effectively saying "Almost all Games need to be Objectively worse". Most Free-to-pay models are about locking away content, making game systems frustrating and actively pushing and bullying the player into spending money.

"You can complete the game without spending money"
is the weak justification of a coward. It's the same old line over and over and its an underhanded half-truth. The statement for most mobile 'games' is more like
"Our game is designed to be frustrating and at points unplayable without sinking money into it. Our basic game systems are geared towards frustrating the player into generating revenue and not enjoyment."

Feemium elements objectively make a game worse. The galling thing is that no other media or art form needs to do this. Is a theater performance done in stages and stops impatiently until you give them more money? No. Do we go to the movies and have to pay scene by scene? No. Do you know why? Because they would make them shitty experiences and destory anything worthwhile about them. Full free to play, at a basic level, would be the destruction of art.

The point of many games is that you pay for them and they are yours. That's the beautiful concept i miss and a concept the Indie gaming companies are making billions from. What were some of the games last year that arguably made the biggest splash in terms of pushing gaming forward? What games had almost no budget but still managed to be both artistically and commercially successful? The Stanley Parable and Paper Please. Two games you can buy outright for less than 10. They don't have a fancy revenue model, they aren't even games most mainstream gaming publishers would consider remotely marketable. Hell look at early access; people are so eager to fund new ideas they are buying into a very flawed business model but once again one that does not nickle and dime them.

The parts of the industry with some integrity left are doing things that a creatively bankrupt money-pit like King is intellectually incapable of doing. If you are a Zynga or a King, or an EA mobile then i hope you look at these games and feel dead inside. Because it shows just how totally you fail to create something people will remember or even engage with. Your games are like a one hit wonder from 1971 everyone has forgotten existed. Time will pass you by and no one will notice or care when your sorry excuses for games fade away. Ultimately history is on the side of the gamer.

It's funny...I seem to remember another game company making massive, unpopular changes to an established product and claiming that the community would "come around" and "deal with it." How well did that work out?

Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it.

Adam Jensen:
We will fall in line? What a fuckin' dumbass. I hope his company crashes and burns and everyone forgets it existed.

It's the "fall in line" part that I really take issue with. Instead of actually finding a way to make F2P appealing to everyone, he just expects everyone to accept that it's inevitable because he says so. This part especially reads like a threat:

Steven Bogos:
"If you talk to many hardcore gamers, they're not happy about it right now, but if you asked them about the long term, 'do you want to continue playing your favorite game for years to come?' And the answer will be yes," he said.

To me, this basically amounts to: "Accept our business model or we'll take your games from you. No, we don't care whether you like it or not, we just want to nickel-and-dime you for all you're worth."

Even in the worst case scenario where a majority of action oriented games go F2P, there will always be a strong core of indie and medium sized companies selling complete games. Not everyone is making games as pure money makers. Some developers actually care about the art involved in games, and I don't see how it is possible to create a game as a an piece of art with F2P elements (unless they are there to comment on F2P itself, like Cow Clicker).

How would you convert Shadow of the Colossus or Dark Souls to F2P? The gameplay in those titles directly addresses the themes involved. Every aspect of Dark Souls (player invasions, humanity, human/hollowed, bonfires, etc.) is directly tied to the world and story. Including F2P elements would wreck that. Developers who actually care about their games aren't going to compromise on their vision to squeeze a few more nickels out of their audience.

There's also a very clear economic reason that F2P will never take over everything. There's money on the table from gamers who don't like F2P and someone is going to address that.

The idea that the traditional form of gaming is somehow dying is the new "PC gaming is dead". I thought we were all supposed to be playing all games on our phones by now ...

Remember when EA started saying shit like this? How f2p is the future, and then they started talking about charging for individual bullets in FPS. This as been said since f2p got big, yet nothing has really come of it. There are a lot more f2p games and cow-clickers, but they have not taken over the market and never will.

Clovus:

The idea that the traditional form of gaming is somehow dying is the new "PC gaming is dead". I thought we were all supposed to be playing all games on our phones by now ...

F2P might be able to exist as a model along side other business methods, especially in the mobile market where half the people downloading you game were either never going to give you a cent or just weren't interested in particular title after 5 mins of hands on time with it. But, if most of the industry, even if it slowly moved towards it, would crash, hard. There's the balance issues, greedy publishers, big risks that a new game might not generate enough revenue to break even and the general feeling of lack of ownership of one's games. Until consoles are discless, it's also impossible for them since pressing DVDs and giving them out is too expensive to undertake. And that isn't happening soon(say not even next gen) with the way Big Cable is manipulating the market in North America.

I hated getting nickled and dimed for map packs whenever I played online console games. I still hate DLC coming out for today's games that cost almost as much as old school expansion pack while lacking the depth of them. I shall hate having to pay for small parts of a game even if I got it legitimately for free. I'd rather pay a reasonable price for a game and buy any add-ons for it that are reasonably priced and interest me. This F2T future along with constant online connectivity and required multiplayer in some cases carries the same worry as the predictions of an all streaming market; The company has complete control over their game and the user doesn't really own anything. Total Biscuit just talked about Rovio Stars updated one of their titles to freemium and those that bought the full game were stuck with just the first three level after applying an update. Maybe it was a complete mistake, but that capability scares me. I'd rather not find out that because I downloaded an update, I lost content I paid for. For me, just let me buy a big chunk and if the game doesn't work that way, screw it.

Clovus:
There's also a very clear economic reason that F2P will never take over everything. There's money on the table from gamers who don't like F2P and someone is going to address that.

in the words of t'internet "1000 times this".

"the market"/"demand" is king.

NOT what "companies" may want to do to in pursuit of ever more money.

...as Square Enix as just apparently come around to realising...

meanwhile all the rest who think they can feed us what they want are generally considered to be "in trouble"...

I do enjoy some free to play games with microtransactions, but the idea that ALL games should have them? NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! A THOUSAND FUCKING TIMES NO! Please tell me how Dark Souls would be improved by microtransactions.

I hope this guy steps on a lego brick in the middle of the night.

King should not even be covered on The Escapist if I had my way. They are hardly a 'games company' at all. This 'games guru' is talking out of his ass and I'm glad that almost everyone can see that. F2P (pay to get anywhere) has its place in the industry, will it become the standard method of payment in the medium? Absolutely not.

Dream on Tommy, dream on.

Dear King.
Please shut the fuck up.
Sincerely yours.
RT.

Steven Bogos:

Tommy Palm, King's "Game Guru" (his official job title) and a developer for Candy Crush Saga, has seen the future of gaming, and it involves a lot of people paying a little bit of money many times. He believes that free-to-play titles with microtransactions are the only way to go, and that all game companies should make the transition. "The microtransaction is so strong and it's definitely a much better model [that the traditional pre-packaged model]. I think all companies have to transition over to that," he told IGN.

Furthermore, Palm added that while hardcore gamers will, naturally, resist the transition at first, that attitude will change as all of their favorite franchises become free-to-play. "If you talk to many hardcore gamers, they're not happy about it right now, but if you asked them about the long term, 'do you want to continue playing your favorite game for years to come?' And the answer will be yes," he said.

Yeah, no thanks. But I'll tell you what Tommy Palm, you can crawl back to your pathetic little mobile dirt hole and pray the bubble won't pop soon.

"Free-to-play games are difficult to do, and you really need to be good at making it feel balanced to the gamers. So it's not too greedy."

"So it's not too greedy." That's nice. The implication there is that Palm knows and admits that a F2P game, even when done right, is still a greedy model.

Three cheers for Capitalism!

It will be the way of the future, until the various governments get their collective heads/thumbs/dicks out of their arses and enforce 'gambling' legislation pertaining to F2P.

There is a reason why casino terminology like 'whale' fits so easily into F2P.

"Rape em till they like it", oh Tommy you truly do care about us don't you...

However, before you get out your torch and pitchfork, Palm did stress the importance of sensible pricing. "I think for companies it is very important to find a good balance. Free-to-play games are difficult to do, and you really need to be good at making it feel balanced to the gamers. So it's not too greedy."

I do want to point out that if FTP becomes the order of the day, being "greedy" isn't just an immoral quality, but also a death-sentence for your business model. If there are enough competitors, many of them are bound to snap up the customers who appreciate cheaper games, better experiences, or a mix of the two. It's the thought that counts, I guess, but I'm not sure what that thought is after reading this.

I cant even say ''Candy Crush Dev'' without scorn and contempt in my voice. I will never play free to play games on principle, I hate the model. Never never never, I hate it I hate it I hate it.

erttheking:
I do enjoy some free to play games with microtransactions, but the idea that ALL games should have them? NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! A THOUSAND FUCKING TIMES NO! Please tell me how Dark Souls would be improved by microtransactions.

I hope this guy steps on a lego brick in the middle of the night.

ohh the pain the pain!

Steven Bogos:
"If you talk to many hardcore gamers, they're not happy about it right now, but if you asked them about the long term, 'do you want to continue playing your favorite game for years to come?' And the answer will be yes," he said.

that's right, because they've already paid for the fucking thing!

Burn and Crash King

Adam Jensen:
We will fall in line? What a fuckin' dumbass. I hope his company crashes and burns and everyone forgets it existed.

Given the levels of pride going on here, I'm inclined to agree. Even the stuff that's supposed to make them sound less dickish has the opposite effect.

Free to Play is an excellent business model when used well. It keeps a game active, and customers happy.

However, that does not mean that it should be incorporated into every type of game on the market.

If the games free to play, than yes. But now your getting this crap done with full price games and thats unacceptable. Especailly when we know they make the game purposely a pain to play to force you to buy stuff. Like we have seen with Forza 5 and GT, both games made gaining credits harder. This just made the games a chore instead of fun. I have no problem with difficulty, but when the developers purposefully handicap you to make you buy stuff. Thats shit will start the end of gaming.

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