Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 16, 2016

Email: Starcraft 2 gone F2P

Its happened just as you predicted, Starcraft 2 will be going Free 2 Play with dances, cosmetics, voice packs, the works. Some players are upset that their game has “micro-transactions” while others are excited at the chance to throw more money at Blizzard (never-mind their Hearthstone profits, Overwatch, or being backed by Activision), its probably the most buzz the games had in a long while.

Actually scratch the f2p part, SC2s still a 3-part game with a price tag that will be receiving microtransactions.

Personally I’m kinda neutral on this, some of its just plain greedy (No free Nova for those that brought Co-vert Ops), most of it just an unnecessary attempt to give a dead game attention. It is interesting to observe peoples reactions, and to attempt to decipher the real players, and the fairly obvious employees vigorously defending Blizz’s decision (either that or there really are people that think Blizz needs money). Alternatively, MAYBE its a desperate cash grab, maybe they are slowly dying as you predicted.

Whats your take on all of this?

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I don’t think much of it. I do like the custom announcers and the separate MMR for races.
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Free to play is nothing new. We had Shareware and Freeware throughout the 90s (how companies like id and Epic got started). Warcraft 2 and Starcraft allowed ‘spawning’ off of one disc.Single player was always purchased.
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Diablo 3 or whatever follows Diablo is going to be F2P.
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What is troubling me is the time for development that is skewing all these costs. Once, long ago, a game could be made in months. Nintendo had to limit companies to make only five games a year else they feared they would be overrun by games like during the 1983 Atari Crash. But no such possibility of a problem exists today. Some companies can’t even make five games per generation.
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We are getting to the point where sequels to games like Skyrim are missing the entire generation because they are taking too long to make. “Oh, and here the ‘remastered’ version while you wait.” I remember when Civilization II came out, and it didn’t have multiplayer. “Oh, I see…” said one letter writer, “You are trying to make us buy the game twice.” Why are we buying the same game multiple times? I stopped buying Civilization at launch after that.
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Look at Star Citizen for example. While the ‘controversy’ about Star Citizen is that the game some ‘grab their money and run’ fiasco. It is a fiasco, but it is a fiasco suffering from modern technology. Any NORMAL AAA game today is taking WAY LONGER to make and costing more. No one is used to Star Citizen’s development schedule being so damn long. Clearly, bad play must be involved. But it is just that everything is taking so damn long to make these days.
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Nintendo president said NX was delayed because of lack of software. I interpreted that to mean Nintendo wants to launch NX with a ton of software. It could just be that NX will launch with typical number of software except this software takes MUCH LONGER to make.
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About Blizzard, I LOVE Blizzard’s single player games. For their multiplayer, I love playing Blizzard games with friends. But Blizzard’s business model is about ‘fight the world’ on the Internet. Blizzard is moving to multiplayer only and non-story type gaming. Chris Metzen may be leaving Blizzard because his position has become obsolete. Blizzard doesn’t want to do story anymore which is a significant departure of the past. The narrative of the games series played heavily in getting people to buy sequels.
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I interpret Blizzard’s move to F2P more as a move to not make single player games anymore. Has there ever been a hugely successful single player F2P game? I can’t think of any.
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I think the F2P also means that the product cannot ship because it takes eternity to make. All gaming becomes ‘early access’ and no game is ever ‘complete’. Since no game is ever ‘complete’, that means no game deserves a ‘bad review’. Game industry is going to love that.

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