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.