Gamasutra is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
arrowPress Releases

If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:

Can free-to-play be effective without being exploitative?

Can free-to-play be effective without being exploitative?

May 20, 2013 | By Mike Rose

"There are lots of ways to implement free-to-play, and most of them are detrimental to the core game design."
- Rami Ismail, one half of Dutch indie studio Vlambeer, discusses why he still isn't a fan of the free-to-play space.

Ismail has spoken out before about "evil in-app purchase stuff," stating that these monetization techniques more often than not take away from a game's core design.

Talking to free-to-play consultant Will Luton, and as reported by, Ismail reiterated his thoughts, noting that the most successful free-to-play titles are those that exploit players.

"The problem we see is that, the way to efficiently do free-to-play is to exploit people, or to exploit the psychology of people in a way that is often perpendicular or opposite to core game design," he says.

"That is something we worry about because we see potential in implementing free-to-play in a good way," he adds, "but every game we've seen that tries to do that has been a financial failure."

Ismail is keen to stress that in-app purchases in a game do not automatically lead to bad game design, but he says that "the solutions that are being implemented at this point show really clearly that the most efficient way to do in-app purchases is exploiting people as much as possible."

He concludes, "A lot of games currently in the App Store are not necessarily good games, and just happen to gross a lot because they get a lot of attention, they're free, people can play them, and they're built in such a way that they get people addicted and spending money."

Related Jobs

Genies Inc
Genies Inc — Venice, California, United States

*Principal Engineer - Graphics Programming & Rendering Engine*
Yacht Club Games
Yacht Club Games — Marina del Rey, California, United States

Marketing / Community Manager
Behaviour Interactive
Behaviour Interactive — Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Senior Game Designer
Disbelief — Chicago, Illinois, United States

Junior Programmer, Chicago

Loading Comments

loader image