Blizzard looking into free-to-play for StarCraft II multiplayer

At the moment, people who want to play the full multiplayer experience for StarCraft II must purchase the full game, which also has a single player campaign. However, we have also seen the rise of the free-to-play game genre and titles such as League of Legends and the forthcoming DOTA 2 are gaining more and more players from that business model.

In a report on the PCGamesN.com website, there's word that Blizzard is at least considering a change that could turn the multiplayer part of StarCraft II into a free-to-play game. Dustin Browder, the lead designer on the sci-fi RTS game, said that the company was "looking at free to play as an option for the multiplayer" during a panel at the recent Valencia eSports Congress.

Browder said that one of the concerns about such a move was how the company could make money via a free-to-play StarCraft II. He is quoted as saying, "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."

You can bet that Blizzard will look more closely at such a move if other free-to-play games become more successful.

Source: PCGamesN.com | Image via Microsoft

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19 Comments

g0ld1e said,
LAAME. I am not on board with FTP games.

Such a negative stigma is associated with F2P, people will talk out their ass hating it before they even see details of it.

THolman said,

Done right, F2P is great. Just try Team Fortress 2.

You mean with that obnoxious store with grossly overpriced stuff. I hated TF2 once that store got added. Constantly finding chests and stuff that u need to pay money to unlock. Sorry, thats fail.

dead.cell said,

Such a negative stigma is associated with F2P, people will talk out their ass hating it before they even see details of it.

That's because the entire point for a company to instill a F2P system is for the original cost of the game to go up via "minuscule" transactions. I would much rather pay the $60 and have a fair multi-player experience than me having to pay real money to get ahead of the next richest guy.

Beyond Godlike said,

You mean with that obnoxious store with grossly overpriced stuff. I hated TF2 once that store got added. Constantly finding chests and stuff that u need to pay money to unlock. Sorry, thats fail.

You dont need buy anything from the store to get ahead since weapons can drop, unlock or be crafted. Also most of the standard weapons you start off with are still better then the other weapons. Only a few weapons are a stright upgrade like the Third Degree which does the same amount of damage as the fire axe but does damage to anyone connect to a medic beam even on payload carts.

Believe it or not, this makes so MUCH sense that it's scary! Right now, the thinking in terms of shooters and RTS titles is the reverse of that (campaign/story mode is the meat and potatoes, while MP, if it's there at all, is only paid cursory attention); further, you don't need story/campaign to sell the MP. (If anything, you could sell a well-done campaign/SP on its own.) Therefore, don't even try. GIVE the MP away - literally. If anything, use it to sell the story/campaign mode. (How do you think MMOs - especially the F2P ones - make their money? Single-character storylines/raids/etc are almost always concentrated in paid DLC - DCUO, for example, has a DLC pack built around exactly that - The Last Laugh.)

Kalint said,
This game came out a long time ago, people are going to play; are playing it.

Not everyone. I liked the trial, but I wanted to wait for it to get cheaper before I bought it (as I cycle between a lot of different games), but it still hasn't got cheap. It's a two-year-old game, and in that time, the price has dropped by a massive £6 (The cheapest price in the UK is £23.95).

Multiplayer Free to Play:
Avaible race : Terran (hey where are the other two races? Youhave to pay for them!)
Avaible units at start : Marines (wait, where are my dropships? My tanks? You have to buy them too!)
Map Selection Hey look there's 40 maps avaible! (Click one) "You have to pay 0,99$ In order to play on this map"
Total spent : 200$.
Better keep it like now.

Oh lord.....more Pay to Win crap. And Guild Wars 2 is the worst offender, they make you buy the game AND, now they are tweaking the game to force people to buy from the cash shop. Pathetic.

P2W needs to die a slow and painful death.

Mike Frett said,
Oh lord.....more Pay to Win crap. And Guild Wars 2 is the worst offender, they make you buy the game AND, now they are tweaking the game to force people to buy from the cash shop. Pathetic.

P2W needs to die a slow and painful death.

Guild Wars 2 is not the worst offender, you're just a fanboy of paying $15 for half-assed content that is NOT worth $180 a year.

Mike Frett said,
Oh lord.....more Pay to Win crap. And Guild Wars 2 is the worst offender, they make you buy the game AND, now they are tweaking the game to force people to buy from the cash shop. Pathetic.

P2W needs to die a slow and painful death.

You obviously only believe what you hear on the internet. Perhaps play GW2 and look at it's cash shop, yep, nothing at all in there that will help you... You can sure look pretty though.

I can't think of a good way they could monetize StarCraft 2's MP. They can't add new units because that would make the game imbalanced. They can't change the units dramatically but unique skins could work. I think it'd anger a lot of fans though.

This F2P crap must be someones bad idea of a joke and must be shot.
What I don't like is the fact that once i get to a certain spot, The dev will put his hand on my shoulder and say " Hey, if you want to keep playing, then you must pay and hey, i know your at a good spot but you have to pay to keep playing"

If someone did that while not telling me that i would have to pay at a later date, i'd get very ticked and sparks would fly if i didn't get a satisfactory answer. If they tell me to pay up at the start to enjoy everything then not a problem.

I have that very same issue with a dev of a good app i use. he never bothered to tell anyone that all future versions would be pay only. Pay only stuff is pure fail.

soldier1st said,
This F2P crap must be someones bad idea of a joke and must be shot.
What I don't like is the fact that once i get to a certain spot, The dev will put his hand on my shoulder and say " Hey, if you want to keep playing, then you must pay and hey, i know your at a good spot but you have to pay to keep playing"

If someone did that while not telling me that i would have to pay at a later date, i'd get very ticked and sparks would fly if i didn't get a satisfactory answer. If they tell me to pay up at the start to enjoy everything then not a problem.

I have that very same issue with a dev of a good app i use. he never bothered to tell anyone that all future versions would be pay only. Pay only stuff is pure fail.

So you prefer pay-once (ala Guild Wars 2 - which has NO single-player at all) ot paying for SP which you mostly won't play? (How many of those that play the original Starcraft: Anthology play it for the single-player? I do - however, I'm quite aware I'm a major outlier. Same can be said of *any* RTS - even Sins of a Solar Empire or Civ V.)
Single-player content in most RTS games - where most of the development dollars go - often goes unexplored AND underappreciated, if not just plain UNappreciated - why should Blizzard continue to sink the majority of their development dollars into it?

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