Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson says he hates free to play, but it’s going to feature in Mojang’s upcoming Scrolls anyway.
“Free to play” means different things to different people and in different games as well. To Notch, it’s kind of like dealing crack; you lure them in with a freebie, get them hooked and then bleed them dry.
“The idea is to find a model where there basically is no cap on how much the player can spend, then try to encourage players to spend more and more money,” he wrote in a recent blog post. “Various psychological traps like abusing the sense of sunk costs get exploited, and eventually you end up with a game that’s designed more like a slot machine than Half-Life 2.”
So why are so many games transitioning to F2P? Money, obviously. Zynga blazed the trail, bringing in roughly a bazillion dollars with games that even its most ardent supporters must admit are pretty thin, while numerous struggling MMOs have also found salvation in the model. And that’s okay with Notch, whose concern appears to be not with the concept so much as with the misleading terminology.
“Instead of calling it ‘free to play,’ we should call it ‘as expensive as you want it to be’ or something,” he wrote, adding that “people who think free to play is a great future are mostly game developers, not game players.”
Nonetheless, Mojang’s new game will sport some free to play functionality of its own, albeit under a different name. “And, yes, Scrolls will contain aspects of ‘free to play’,” Persson tweeted. “We won’t call it ‘free to play’, though, as it’s not a ‘free’ game.”