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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Free To Play

    - staff
  •  The free-to-play, pay-for-items model has become more and more prevalent. While it doesn't seem set to supplant the traditional model, there's an increasing demand for designers who know the ins and outs of this market.

    Contrary to what you might think, say those with experience in the Asian markets where free-to-play originated and is the primary mode for monetizing games, you can't just slap a price tag on equipment and expect to sit back. It's an integral part of the game design, taken seriously by the creators at a fundamental level of the game's planning.

    Check out this article for just one insight into the issue. There's more reading to be done on the topic, of course. See what you can find. And, of course, there's still some controversy about the practice.

    Game Career Guide challenged its readers to create a successful free-to-play online game. This challenge left readers open to experiment with genre and gameplay to arrive at the best and most interesting way to implement free-to-play.

    What follows are the best and most original entries we received. Here are our top picks:

    Best Entries

    Loïc Ramboanasolo, Comp Sci Student at Universite de Montreal, Unethical iContract (see page 2)
    Unethical iContract lives up to its name, punishing losing players by deducting real-world cash from their bank accounts. The lure of valuable prizes is bound to promote heated competition, ensuring a steady, if ill-gotten, stream of income for the game's publisher.

    Nacho Pintos. Student at UOC Post-Graduate Program of Game Development, Extinction: Imminent (see page 3)
    Extinction: Imminent is a violent, fiercely competitive game in which players must exterminate every living thing within the game world...including themselves. There's an odd sort of balance to be found in the midst of the chaos, however, and microtransactions provide both gameplay advantages and a cash incentive for each round's winner.

    Stavros Kokkineas, Student at the Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Fair Play (see page 4)
    Stavros Kokkineas describes an alternate take on the sports team management genre in which players pay for clothing, stadiums, and better players for a virtual soccer team. The cooperation mechanic (also supported by microtransactions) encourages players to maintain a strong community -- a vital component for many free-to-play games.

    Honorable Mentions
    Cass Breneman, Freelance Graphic Artist, Dreamstealer (see page 5)
    Jeremy Lloyd, Grand Master (see page 6) 


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