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Session Name:

Free-to-Play: The Morning After


We stood on the horizon of a grand new gaming paradigm, and like pioneers in a new land, we crossed over. First a few, then many, running from the apocalypse that core games were sure to become. We passed around money hats and congratulated ourselves on reaching the future. However, some years in, the horizon we craved is miles away, and the shore is an endlessly running treadmill of design retreads, sporadic mega-hits, and spam. Where there were once mechanics, there are now marketing patterns. Where there was innovation, copies. Players became users, play merely became service, and great designers pushed out what they were told. Some left companies, and even the industry, dissuaded by what it had become. Others remained, silently fighting behind the scenes for something that satisfied their soul, the old soul - the one that drew them here in the first place. In this talk, Brenda Romero (formerly Brathwaite) examines the successes and failures of the F2P space, considers its effects on games, game design, and designers, and looks toward a possible future.

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  • GDC 2013
  • Brenda Romero
  • UC Santa Cruz
  • free content
  • Design
  • Design