You've been logged out of GDC Vault since the maximum users allowed for this account has been reached. To access Members Only content on GDC Vault, please log out of GDC Vault from the computer which last accessed this account.

Click here to find out about GDC Vault Membership options for more users.


The Number One Educational Resource for the Game Industry

Session Name: The Rise of Free-To-Play Core Gaming
Speaker(s): Mitch Lasky
Company Name(s): Benchmark Capital
Track / Format: Business and Marketing and Management

Did you know free users get access to 30% of content from the last 2 years?

Get your team full access to the most up to date GDC content


The impact of the free-to-play distribution models and virtual goods sales has been well documented in the social and mobile gaming spaces. These business models have also been deployed in China and Korea on core-gamer products and MMOs with great
success. But until recently, the efficacy of free-to-play core gaming had not been demonstrated in the West. Unlike social and mobile games, the relatively high production costs and high customer acceptance risks inherent in core games has limited experimentation with the new business models.

This is now changing and the commercial success of Riot Games' League of Legends and other titles has put free-to-play business models in the spotlight. However, the use of these models is an all-or-nothing decision for a new title. Simply bolting on free-to-play�distribution and virtual goods monetization to a conventional packaged goods game is a recipe for failure. Succeeding at free-to-play requires a new design paradigm, a new marketing approach, and a new relationship between developers and customers that has more to do with internet commerce than the traditional games business.

This session will examine the business implications of the free-to-play models in core gaming. We will discuss the entire business life-cycle of free-to-play core games, focusing on the ways these games differ markedly from existing packaged goods models. Particular attention will be paid to production, infrastructure, team organization, distribution and marketing, virtual goods merchandising and sales, and revenue recognition.

GDC 2012

Mitch Lasky

Benchmark Capital

free content

Business and Marketing and Management

Business & Marketing