Adrian Crook had an interesting presentation at the GDC Worlds In Motion Summit on the issue of free to play games - where they've been, where they're heading, good things, bad things .... He's put up the slides and speech over at his website, and while the narrative redux is apparently not as zippy as the original presentation, it is an interesting listen.
Crook points out some growth challenges to free to play, though he notes these are definitely not deal-breakers for the business model. First, there are virtual property challenges. "At some point that's going to be decided by the courts. Hopefully we're out ahead of it," Crook said, pointing out Eric Bethke's forward-thinking endeavor to create an avatar bill of rights. Second, there are differing broadband speeds. And rising development costs will become an issue now with the advent of Electronic Arts' highly-polished Battlefield Heroes. Larger-scale F2P products are going to raise the quality bar, Crook says.
The talk clocks in at a little over half an hour, but if you're interested in the free to play model, it's definitely worth taking a look at.