Blizzard Looking into Free to Play Starcraft II Multiplayer
A lot of eSport games nowadays aren’t full priced games. League of Legends and DotA 2 are free to play and Counter Strike: Global Offensive doesn’t charge a full $60. Starcraft II is the only contender that still charges full retail price. It seems, however, that may not be the case for long.
During a panel at the Valencia eSports Conference, the lead designer on Starcraft II, Dustin Browder, was asked if Blizzard had any free to play options in the works. Browder said that Blizzard is “looking into free to play as an option for multiplayer.” Now this isn’t a confirmation, but if Blizzard does take Starcraft II free to play, it would be pretty huge.
Blizzard does have one major boundary keeping them from making the jump, though: Money. They have no idea how they would make money if they took the game free to play. According to Browder, “We don’t know how we would monetise it. While it might be good fun for me to play against someone with only half the units available to them, that’s not going to be an enjoyable experience for them.” That is a valid concern. One way to quickly turn people off of a free to play multiplayer game is having them play against someone who sunk hundreds of dollars into it to get the best units, making them retardedly over-powered.
I’m not a big fan of RTS games, but hopefully this all works out for Blizzard. It would open the game up to way more people who have been hesitant about diving into Starcraft and get them hooked for the next big game from Blizzard. It could also produce some new people for the eSport scene.