It’s no secret that in-app purchases are a touchy subject around this neck of the gaming woods. On one hand, IAPs let you try out a bunch of great games at no initial cost; but on the other, some developers have been known to abuse the model and manipulate gamers into paying much more than the base game might actually be worth.
Today we were hit with some pretty shocking news from thatgamecompany on the free-to-play front. As you might know, thatgamecompany are the artistic geniuses who brought us the trilogy of PSN exclusive titles, Flow, Flower, and the groundbreaking Journey. But now that their exclusive deal with Sony is up, it could mean that the Journey creator’s next game will come to mobile platforms, and that it might adopt the ever-provocative free-to-play model.
Please say it ain’t so! In an interview with Joystiq about the developer’s new direction, thatgamecompany co-founder Jenova Chen acknowledged how the average gamer feels towards IAPs, and made a promise that his team’s potential use of the free-to-play model would be different: “If we do actually end up going to free-to-play, we will make sure that you don’t pay because you are not happy, you pay because you are happy.”
Judging from how reluctant Chen himself seems about the new business direction, and how he’s still considering adopting it just the same, begs the inevitable question: are microtransactions in gaming becoming a necessary evil? Are gamers becoming too reluctant to pay full price for an IAP-free game when they have hundreds of other free ones right at their fingertips?