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Ex-World of Warcraft team lead claims Square Enix 'don't get' App Store pricing system

F2P is the model of the future

Product: Square Enix news | Manufacturer: Square Enix
Square Enix news iPhone, thumbnail 1
The former World of Warcraft lead Mark Kern has delivered a scathing indictment of Square Enix's App Store pricing practices, claiming the Final Fantasy developer is out of touch with the realities of the iOS market.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Kern said: "Isn't it ridiculous that you can buy these fantastic games on iPad, but then you get a publisher like Square Enix charging an astronomical price for an old game port?"

We presume Kern is referring to games like Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, both of which cost over £10 - an undeniably hefty chunk of change when compared to the 69p asking price of many iOS titles.

Cost prohibitive

Kern, who is now CEO of Firefall developer Red 5 Studios, delivered his withering assessment of Squeenix's App Store business model as part of an argument for why studios should stop pouring millions into publishing AAA games and instead focus on producing self-distributed F2P titles.

"[Free-to-play titles] don't need the distributor to succeed, so a lot more money goes into the game rather than to marketing and you get to grow organically with your players," Kern argues.

"And as there's no barrier to entry for players you can start to compete on fun instead of marketing, which is really the area that we as developers should be in."

Pay wall

It is this fundamental understanding of the mobile market that, in Kern's opinion, developers like Square Enix have failed to grasp.

"They just don't get it. They don't get that we have to lower the barrier for entry."

Reviewer photo
James Gilmour 4 May 2012
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Mar 2011
Post count:
Espekayen2 | 17:34 - 4 May 2012
If people are happy to pay the asking price and the games are selling in sufficiently high numbers, they have no reason to lower prices. I'm no businessman, but it makes sense to me.
Mar 2012
Post count:
ptr362 | 15:11 - 4 May 2012
Although I don't like the idea of freemium games, I have to agree that Square Enix aren't getting the right idea on how they should be pricing their games. Yes the games are high quality but I hate how despite paying £10+ for one of their games, which is expensive for an iOS release, they do not give you a universal version of the game for your iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad. For the price, that should be provided as standard I think.
Jun 2011
Post count:
chaos_envoys | 14:48 - 4 May 2012
F2P just destroy the entire gaming system.. whenever I see freemium, I don't want to play the game.. Who cares about the "entry" when you can enter just an inch from the door? every move after that must be paid to be enjoyable.. the feeling is like having a ferrari but you must pay to make it run.. otherwise you must push the car... really HATE freemium!!
Jul 2011
Post count:
aros | 14:31 - 4 May 2012
Most F2P titles cost much more than £12 to play if you enjoy them with the features of a paid-game. The majority are utter junk designed to nickel and dime the playerbase. SQE obviously make money to have stuck with the model of high prices and no sales. You know you are getting a premium quality item.

If only they'd come to the Xplay