On games and monetization

I don’t watch South Park, because I don’t like South Park. I think it relies too much on crude humor, to the point where even when I actually find something funny instead of cringeworthy, I’m ashamed to laugh at it. So I’m presented with a minor dilemma here, because going by the AV Club reviewSouth Park has just taken a potshot at my livelihood, and it seems unfair to complain about that without actually watching the episode.

I do, however, feel justified in offering a general rebuttal to people who complain about freemium games. It’s something I’ve touched on before, but apparently it bears repeating:

Game developers are doing a job. There are certainly many of us who love this job enough to do it for free on the weekends–that’s what game jams are, after all. But we also like having homes, food, and health insurance, so if we’re going to make games full-time, we have to get paid. And for developers to get paid, games have to make money. The freemium model is a compromise: it allows players who don’t want to pay for the game to play for free, while also providing a revenue stream from those players who do pay for extras. If you don’t want to put any money into a freemium game, that’s your choice; I’d be a hypocrite to blame you when I’ve never put a cent into Candy Crush. You can play the free content, or you can choose to stop playing. But don’t blame the developers for trying. I don’t like making design decisions based on what will encourage players to buy power-ups, but I’m also aware that those power-ups are paying my rent.

Of course, if anyone reading this happens to have seen the episode and have an opinion on it, that’s what the comments section is for.

Edit: The Simpsons-Futurama crossover, which I did watch, also gets in a shot at freemium games. What is this, Beat Up On Freemium Week?

Edit 2: This article strikes me as relevant–while I think it would be great if we could do art for art’s sake all the time, Dibble is right about that not taking priority over the realities of making a living.

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