Blizzard Not So Hot On Free-To-Play StarCraft II, Says ‘Maths Just Isn’t There’

Blizzard Not So Hot On Free-To-Play StarCraft II, Says ‘Maths Just Isn’t There’

Blizzard has resisted the allure of free-to-play for quite some time, though it was suggested by one of the company’s lead designers that a F2P model “was an option” for StarCraft II‘s multiplayer. It sounds like those plans didn’t gain much traction, according to a recent interview with Blizzard president Mike Morhaime.

Speaking with PCGamesN, Morhaime said he wasn’t convinced by the “maths” of the free-to-play argument, at least in the context of value for money for the consumer. The president feels that the one-off purchase, especially when the game is on sale, represents better deal than a comparable game using a micro-transaction model:

I think for the value you get from a copy, StarCraft II has the most value of any entertainment property out there. I mean, jeez, if you bought it during Cyber Monday, it was 50 per cent… it was 20 [US] bucks. Compare that to the price of your so-called free-to-play games — twenty dollars and you can play it practically forever. I really don’t think cost is an issue … It is a little frustrating that the question keeps coming up because the [maths] just isn’t there to support the assumptions behind that argument.

I get the argument — you can pick-up a game like StarCraft II when it’s cheap and get everything at once, whereas a “free-to-play” game might not have an upper limit of payment and could end up costing more… which is hardly playing for free.

Despite the model working for players and developers, if it’s not the right fit for Blizzard, Morhaime is in the best position to make that call.

Blizzard’s Mike Morhaime talks about the future of StarCraft 2 eSports, Heart of the Swarm, and how Blizzard are addressing community concerns [PCGamesN]


  • Because Blizzard likes to do things right 🙂

    They mite make more money but they did it the right way by making good games. i got my copy for $70 over a year or more now and the 4000-5000 matches in that time have been a great experience. Unlike most the value is certainly there.

    • 4000-5000 matches in something over 365 days you say?

      Yeah, not surprising you’d be slurping Blizzard’s kool-aid, you’d need that in a drip alongside your catheter.

      • Let’s see, a match could be over between ten-twenty depending on tactics, and (at least in my case) if you’re just starting at get matched up against an experienced player it tends to get finished quickly.

        There’s also the possiblity that maybe zealous is just using hyperbole when discussing how many matches they’ve played. No need for your condensation in any case.

        • I assume u mean “condecension” ie. the act of being patronising

          as opposed to “condensation” ie. the scientific process of gas changing to liquid


  • Not entirely sure Starcraft could support a F2P model. A lot o the game depends on the delicate balance everything has and if you start locking stuff off behind a paywall it seems like it would destroy the game somewhat.

  • I think earlier there was discussion about locking some higher-quality custom maps (possibly Blizzard DotA?) behind a paywall, but I guess that’s not happening right now. Paid name changes hasn’t even been implemented yet, sigh. I’m a big StarCraft fan (not as big as zealous up there, hehe), but some of their decisions disappoint me. For the most part it’s a fun game and I AM glad that I don’t have to worry about any further payments for it, except the expansions.

  • I actually prefer the pay once model. Not many games have done the totally free to play model properly. It’s subscription fees I have issues with.

  • Whats wrong with actually paying for a game straight out. Who actually thought paying for things inside a free game was good? I love SC franchise for the Single player portions of it. I dont want to be paying for each missions because they decided to go with a free to own proposition. Free2play doesnt really bare out when talking about a game like SC. Free2Play seems in my mind to be an MMO thing.

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