In the games industry, the free-to-play platform is a business model that involves freely-downloadable games that generate revenues through microtransactions and advertising.
But for Joshua Hong, CEO of free MMO publisher GamersFirst, "Free2Play" is also a political platform. Hong is in fact running as a write-in candidate for governor of California, and yes, he is running on the "Free2Play Platform."
The campaign has the markings of a marketing stunt. Earlier this month it wasn't completely clear whether Hong was for real, because the campaign's initial unveiling landed in close proximity to April Fool's day.
But Ronjini Mukhopadhyay, senior PR manager for Hong's campaign, who also happens to be senior PR manager for GamersFirst, insisted to Gamasutra in a phone interview that the campaign is no joke. "He is running as a write-in candidate. He's not actually on the ballot for the primaries, so people would actually have to write him in to get on the ballot," she said.
Hong's "Free2Play Platform" -- the political one -- is based on "people, performance and plurality."
He explained in a press statement, "The three Tent Poles (people, performance and plurality) encompass a majority of the issues that not only our state faces, but even for the national government."
Hong's platform focuses on "putting Californians first," educational objectives, accountability for political officials and equality, among other bullet points.
Asked if Hong is using a political campaign to simply promote his gaming company, Mukhopadhyay replied, "[The free-to-play business model] is where a lot of the inspiration comes from. It's what he knows best, and he translates that to what would work best for the government."
She added, "Yeah, there will probably be people that think 'Oh, you can't do that, it's a gaming company versus a government and that just sounds ridiculous.' But it's more about using the experience that he's acquired and using the inspiration from the GamersFirst company."