QWOP Creator: What If A Game Remained Free So Long As You Didn’t Suck At It?

QWOP Creator: What If A Game Remained Free So Long As You Didn’t Suck At It?

Sound crazy? The idea comes from the Game Developers Conference, during an “Indie Soapbox” where developers took the stage to talk about indie game development. Ben Foddy, who is behind the ever-ridiculous QWOP, had some out-there ideas about how people pay for games — but that’s what makes them rad.

Take the idea of not having to pay for a game if you play it well enough, for example — he calls it the “reward model”. Not keen on that? What about only having to pay if you absolutely sucked at a game?

These are but two ideas that he threw out, but they’re the most interesting ones — they’re the models that show “free-to-play” doesn’t have to exist in the way that we typically experience it. People sometimes wince when they hear the term; people assume there’s always a catch to free to play. Or worse, there’s always the fear it’s really just pay-to-win. But who knows, the way we pay for games now might not be the way we pay for games tomorrow.


  • Perhaps some kind of token system where each attempt or ‘credit’ has a fixed value? Then if you die frequently you will need to buy more of these ‘credits’, perhaps by inserting coins into some kind of receptacle on the machine.

    I can’t believe no one has ever thought of this before.

  • What popped into my mind is Nintendo’s Flipnote Studio software that allows people who have a large following to have free elite features.

  • The obvious arcade comparison aside, “only having to pay if you absolutely sucked at the game” seems like a fantastic way to make no money at all. I guess I’m thinking about something like QWOP, but if you fail catastrophically X number of times and then the game says “insert coin to continue”, who is realistically going to do so?

  • I’m pretty sure there have been some games like this already. Where you invest a certain amount of energy and if you win, you get to use it again, while if you lose, it gets taken away.

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