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 ANDROID INTERVIEW

Peter Molyneux: F2P Godus will have monetisation 'that hasn't existed before'

Part I of our chat with the infamous developer

Summary Interview Review Screens Videos Articles Tips  
Product: Godus | Developer: 22Cans | Publisher: DeNA
For: Android   Also on: iPhone, iPad
 
Godus Android, thumbnail 1
Peter Molyneux is the famed British developer behind Populous and Fable.

Molyneux reckons he's cracked free-to-play. He says he's come up with an entirely new way to get your cash in upcoming strategy opus Godus, and it will apparently be "delightful".

Though you definitely shouldn't call it 'free-to-play' in front of him.

"There cannot be a term that is less true," he barks. "What we need is a new term. And that term is more like 'invest-to- play'. What really are we doing? We are tempting people to invest some of their money into a game."

He compares the current library of free-to-play mobile games to "taking a huge hammer and smashing our customers with it. We're saying: 'Be patient or pay money.' That's not a delightful mechanic. That's not going to get people to invest their money."

Deeper dungeons

No game fits that description quite as well as EA and Mythic Entertainment's mobile revamp of Dungeon Keeper, a game series that Molyneux himself created when he was working at Bullfrog.

Talking about this reboot, he says: "The free-to-play mechanic was so dominant that it obscured all the fantastic work they did. It was like a horrible odour."

"I wanted to play and keep on playing and keep on playing. But I just kept getting beaten up for being an impatient gamer."

Dungeon Keeper

I ask Molyneux how he would have made a new Dungeon Keeper for mobile.

"Well, I wouldn't be greedy," he starts. "I would probably not use the free-to-play model at all."

"I'd no longer make it 2.5D so you're stuck on one level. I'd make it so you could dig the Mines of Moria," he says with a hint of creative glee in his voice.

"And there's a Balrog in it! That's what I'd want to make. This sort of device would be perfect for that," he adds, pawing at his iPhone.

God of gods

So, according to Molyneux, Godus will be the anti-Dungeon Keeper.

"We can't be so crude in making the first thing we teach people in these games how to speed things up by spending gems. That's absolutely insane."

Instead, there'll be monetisation in Godus "that hasn't existed before". And it will be as "fresh and as new and as different from anything you've ever seen in any game", he adds, in one of his now-typical promise-the-moon sales pitches.

He's cagey about the finer details of Godus's monetisation, so getting him to divulge concrete examples is like pulling teeth. But here are a few hints that should set you up for the full announcement in the coming weeks.

Godus

For one, you won't be able to pay a penny in Godus until you're deemed ready.

"You've got to be subtle about it and slowly layer in those mechanics. The point we introduce monetisation depends on the player, and the game maker has to get you into the right mindset."

You might also want to think back to the monetisation techniques employed in Molyneux's barmy social box tapper Curiosity.

Those purchases - including angry badgers and the ability to troll players by adding extra cubes - were an experiment on the part of Molyneux and his team to see "how can we put as much inventiveness and creativity into people paying money into a game as we would any other mechanic".

Games as a hobby

Most importantly of all, though, the brains behind Black & White wants to "to tempt people to think about being proud about investing. Before we even talk about monetisation, we want players to feel like Godus is a hobby (not just a game)."

I ask Molyneux if he's worried that no one will pay at all. Games from overly generous free-to-play game devs that don't hobble your progress and prey on your impatience have flopped, after all.

"Yeah, I'm worried about that, but those risks are worth taking," Molyneux says. "We could layer in 'it takes six days to build this house', and maybe we'd make a shitload of money, but that's not my ambition for games."

"There has to be a better way."

Check out Part II of my conversation with Peter Molyneux here.
 

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 13 February 2014
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Joined:
Feb 2014
Post count:
1
Mitchell Attfield | 00:19 - 25 February 2014
Well I'm confused. Because I already purchased the game on steam. So if I have to continue to purchase the game through ingame transactions that'll be the last of his games I pick up.
Joined:
Feb 2014
Post count:
1
Wayne Drury | 13:43 - 17 February 2014
Sadly as a backer of Godus and played the v1.3 beta to end. There has been no updates to the backers at all since at least October. No videos of the development as promised and in general no communications.

One of the Kickstarter game I have backed Novus AEterno by Taitale Studios is less well known, less developers and already in an active pre-alpha with Daily updates on progress, live Twitch games/chat with backers, with them you feel part fo the development like it should be when promised.

Once really sad is I had a lot of respect for Mr Molyneux from his previous games and this way of treating your fans is destroying his reputation in the gamer community. I recommend her get a community person asap to manage this and particular reads and responds to the Steam forums before it gets out of hand.

Your a long time gamer (30+ years) and wavering Molyneux gaming fan.
Joined:
Sep 2013
Post count:
37
Summer LaRose | 10:30 - 14 February 2014
Sorry but I'll have to see it to believe it. The current "time skip" type of F2P is actually the newer way to play *some* types of F2P games. The originals that came out didn't have time skips in them, nor energy either. The energy systems came out later on FaceBook and when people got sick of them the time systems were a way to do the energy type games without having energy in them.

F2P has actually had a ton of different types tried out, including games that have *only* cosmetic additions and nothing else and the entire rest of the game is free.

There are XP boosters, pet sellers, extra dungeons, there have been a tremendous amount of different F2P systems tried out. The time skippers are actually a small percentage of the F2P games so making out like that's where F2P gaming is is somewhat ignorant. Huge numbers of different systems have been tried. And as mentioned, the more generous ones end up failing for the most part.

Somehow Path of Exile on the PC is still holding on despite selling only cosmetics and giving away every entire bit of the game for free otherwise - but that's a rarity.

The point is there isn't much that hasn't been tried really. Honestly the scumbag lottery type drawing games (where you pay to draw items, cards, heroes, etc and they randomly can be good or bad, usually bad) end up making the most money despite being despised by many people. If you think you've come up with some new system where people will be proud and happy to pay even though they have no need to pay - I say be ready to have a flop on your hands. Most people are leechers and will take what they can get for free. Many games that make it have to have systems that make up for the leechers by having smaller numbers of people pay greater amounts of money. You're overestimating the generosity of players if you think they're going to be proud and happy to pay money when they don't need to just because they enjoy the game. There are some of us like that, I am one of them, but we're in the extreme minority.
Joined:
Apr 2013
Post count:
19
@Malboardsworld | 23:59 - 13 February 2014
If he is so convinced free to play doesnt work then why cant he just make his game a single purchase title? The best none intrusive titles are single purchase games everybody knows this but just like the rest of the industry he doesnt want to take any chances.
Joined:
Feb 2014
Post count:
1
@TomMWells | 16:07 - 13 February 2014
How long until the next part? Let me guess, about 4 months.
Joined:
Mar 2013
Post count:
10
Codman7 | 15:59 - 13 February 2014
Good job on the interview! Hopefully Mr. Molyneux have something in his sleeves and inspire the rest of the industry.
 
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