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Mojang:  Scrolls  Won't Be Free, But Will Contain Free-To-Play Aspects
Mojang: Scrolls Won't Be Free, But Will Contain Free-To-Play Aspects
October 24, 2011 | By Mike Rose

Minecraft creator Markus Persson has revealed that Scrolls, the upcoming game from his Mojang studio, will feature a monetization service that is "along the lines" of the free-to-play business model.

However, Persson was keen to stress that he is looking to avoid using the term to describe the game, as he doesn't want players to be coaxed into believing they are getting an experience different from that which is advertised.

In a tweet earlier today, the Mojang dev explained, "Scrolls will contain aspects of 'free-to-play'. We won't call it free-to-play though, as it's not a 'free' game."

Expanding on the topic to Gamasutra, he explained, "Scrolls won't be free at all, so we're avoiding the term 'free-to-play'."

"It will have an initial cost that gets you started with the game. The game will be designed so you can in theory play the game with just this initial cost, but if you want to you can buy more scrolls to play with."

He continued, "The idea is that you can play for free after the initial payment, which includes a lifetime subscription of new scrolls at regular intervals, and [you can receive more free scrolls] by participating in ranked tournaments and a few other things."

"My personal opinion, however, is that Scrolls is definitely along the lines of a 'free-to-play' game," he admitted, "except we try to avoid the 'free' part of it. We don't want to trick people into thinking it's a free game."

As part of a blog post, Persson noted, "While I am skeptical of the free to play trend, what I hate is the wording 'free-to-play.'"

He reasoned that free-to-play has because so popular due to the fact that there is no limit to how much a player can spend, and that the sign of whether a game is a success or not now rests on whether a game is profitable.

"You get your players hooked on your game, and then you try to monetize them," he explained. "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."

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E McNeill
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I like Free-To-Play, but I don't like the way it's being used in most places. I think Notch should take a look at the discussion Adam started about the right way / wrong way to implement this business model:

Arthur Tam
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Because naturally, trading card game makers are all terrible people.

Jeremy Reaban
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Trading card game makers? No. But the collectible card game makers selling packs of randomized cards, well? Probably.

They are the ones that came up with the "Don't sell what people want, sell them a chance of getting what they want" model, which has largely infected the F2P market. I guess the difference is that cardboard has a slight intrinsic value, while virtual goods does not.

Of course, what's interesting is that the CCG industry over expanded and crashed pretty hard. Virtually every RPG company tried to cash in on it, and most got burnt badly.

I would not be surprised to see something like that repeat itself in the F2P MMORPG field. Especially how rapacious most of these games are.

Ian Uniacke
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I think you misread the TCG market Jeremy. What people "want" is to get random cards. Part of the fun of those games is seeing what you can make with a random selection of cards. There are people who will want all the cards of course but they can still buy those on the second hand market.

Jean-Michel Vilain
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Maybe they can release this game under that specific business model BECAUSE everyone has heard of Minecraft and will pay attention to this game.

I'm pretty sure that if scrolls were made by an unknown team, very few people would blindly pay the bucks for it.

Jeremie Sinic
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Did you say "Paymium"? :D

Darcy Nelson
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From what I understand here, they're using the same model as Magic: the Gathering Online?

Greg Back
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"the sign of whether a game is a success or not now rests on whether a game is profitable."

Is this new? Is Minecraft famous because Notch handed it out for free?

Darcy Nelson
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Maybe it was a personal revelation on his part.