Discussions with Developers: F2P and the Changing Landscape of Games Business Development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The role of business development has become increasingly important for videogame developers in the mobile sector. Over $10 billion was spent in Apple’s App Store in 2013 – a platform dominated by games since its inception – and although few games are guaranteed to be an “overnight success”, developers can optimize for opportunity, particularly in adopting a business model with proven success. In the contemporary sector, the model often adopted is that of free-to-play (F2P), yet response to this model is often mixed; and developers’ discourse often binaries F2P according to moral and ethical criteria.

Such attitudes were apparent on 6 December 2013, when a cohort of ten games developers and industry experts were invited to participate in a workshop to discuss the current state of the sector. Through analysis of material gathered from these workshop discussions, this chapter examines the way in which F2P is valued by those within the industry, and how its pervasiveness in the contemporary sector is having an impact on production processes (and approaches to games as “art”), intra-industry relations, and engagement with consumers.

In an ever-changing landscape, this chapter captures a moment where free-to-play business models – and the wider implications they have for the industry at large – are a pressing issue. Shaped by the direct views of those in the industry, as well as popular and trade press, industry reports, and academic literature, the chapter highlights the importance of communication between stakeholders to help shape the direction of their industry.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial, Casual and Mobile Games
Subtitle of host publicationThe Changing Gaming Landscape
EditorsMichele Willson, Tama Leaver
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781501310584
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2016

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