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.