Rob Pardo, head of Blizzard, has a neat interview with Game Industry, where he describes his path along the gaming front. It’s an interesting read since he’s been around for a long time and seen things that would make most people’s hair turn white.
He has interesting ideas in regards to business models (F2P vs Subs vs Single Player) and the design trends. Of note:
Definitely. I’m personally a big fan of game designers being involved in the monetization design, because that’s what will ultimately make for the best game. A lot of times I think those become very disconnected in the industry. Someone that’s more business-oriented or production-oriented will graft a business model onto a game because that’s what they think is going to drive the most revenue, but the game doesn’t really support it. That’s one of the things you’ve seen a lot with the subscription-based business model. I personally think subscription-based business models can still work, but you can’t over-value your game. There’s been some games in the past where they’ve put the subscription model on it because they thought they could get away with it. The reality is if you’re going to do a subscription model you need to deliver an immense amount of premium content over time, because people are going to be looking at as ‘If I’m going to be $10 or $15 per month, what am I getting month after month?’ If I’m not spending enough hours in your product, it’s just not going to make sense as a value proposition.
I bolded the part I think is relevant. Some games have a business model before a single piece of code is written, others have it tacked on at the end. This is part of the problem games have with converting to a F2P model. The D3 link here is that the game was designed primarily around the RMAH. Sadly, the entire game was a pay to win scenario at launch. It sure does make it hard to find balance though. If the gear is too good, RMAH runs everything. Gear is too crappy, no one uses RMAH.
A worthy read nonetheless, just to see how an old school Blizz employee sees how the path of gaming is going.