A model that has received a lot of talk over the past year is the free-to-play model, but one developer is not as optimistic about the chances of the model being employed by more developers as the next-generation arrives.
According to a report from GameChup on Sunday, lead developer of Frozen Synapse Ian Hardingham said there's a reason why developers are high on the model, but at the same time it is also difficult to ignore the payment model.
"I think it’s difficult to design an F2P (free-to-play) game without constantly being influenced by the payment model.
"When I’m making a game, I only have to worry about whether the game is fun. And that, honestly, is hard enough – I can spend weeks with a designer’s block; trying desperately to work out what’s missing from a certain mechanic.
"I can’t imagine what it would be like having to balance that most crucial element – make the game fun – with several others based on getting my players to pay and pay often.
"The worst aspect to F2P design is the desire for players to play for as long as possible. We call this “retention” in the business.
"Retention doesn’t want you to enjoy the game – it wants you to be addicted to it. It wants you to play it compulsively," Hardingham said.
Hardingham went on to say it's important for games to maintain a high retention rate, but where a developer's priorities lie is also significant.
"A bit of retention is a good thing. I don’t want to sell you a game which you only enjoy for ten minutes.
"But when you start prioritising volume of player time over quality of player time, then you start asking yourself all sorts of bad questions: is this section too fun? Could we make this last longer with the same content? You start diluting, basically.
"More fundamentally, at every point in an F2P game you’d like to say to the player: you are having some fun now. If you pay us some money, you can have more fun.
"How is that a good thing to design around? When I’m designing my old-fashioned pay-once game, I’m saying: I’d like you to have the most fun, all of the time," Hardingham said.