During the Valencia eSports Congress panel, StarCraft 2 Lead Designer Dustin Browder commented that Blizzard was “looking at free-to-play as an option” in the game’s multiplayer mode. Its an idea many will initially scoff at. Even Browder admitted “We don’t know how we would monetize it. While it might be good fun for me to play against someone with only half the units available to them, that’s not going to be an enjoyable experience for them.” This statement is more than true, as anyone who has played a F2P game typically bemoans the “pay-to-win” portion of the game.
But I don’t believe anyone is thinking very clearly about how this game would work in a F2P capacity. StarCraft 2 could potentially be a huge F2P game if we get out of the idea that monetizing pieces of the game itself will do the trick. Many consider StarCraft to be the competitive gaming experience of today and opening that experience up to even more people (and monetizing it for the people already playing) could be bigger than games that have mastered the F2P formula such as Riot’s League of Legends or WarGaming.net’s World of Tanks. Lets take a look at some ways Blizzard could consider moving to this model.
BlizzCon is the premiere event for Blizzard fanatics. An event that perhaps has grown too big for its britches in recent years. Blizzard has decided that in light of the fact they might have 3 games releasing this year: Diablo III, Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, they will not be hosting a BlizzCon this year. I’ve personally never been to them nor watched much of their footage online, so I feel like a bit of an outsider looking in on this situation.
If there was one real problem I have with the gaming industry today, it must be the timing of announcements. It seems that there is no shortage of the need to blurt out that you are working on some sequel the moment development begins. What for though? Why even waste our time with this nonsense? I can certainly understand that you are all excited to be working on the next sequel to some game we all played 5, 10, even 15 years ago, but if there is no clear sight of the finish line then I just don’t see the point of telling us about it right away.