World of Warcraft designer: ‘It makes sense for Blizzard to go free-to-play’

While the company still has 8m people paying subscriptions for World of Warcraft, it recognises that free-to-play gaming can’t be ignored.

When asked about creating free-to-play MMOs in the future, WoW’s lead designer Tom Chilton told Polygon that his team is open to the idea, but remains cautious.

"For Blizzard it makes sense [to go free-to-play] at some point," he said.

"But a lot of the risk is in making that transition. You hear stories about developers going free-to-play and getting double the number of players, but you don’t always know it works out that way and how long it stays that way.

"We really don’t know what the rate is before people drop off an lose interest."

World of Warcraft went free-to-play last year, allowing new players to take their character up to Level 20 before charging them a monthly fee.

Chilton also responded to criticisms that Mists of Pandaria, the fourth World of Warcraft expansion that was released last year, was taking the game away from its hardcore roots and towards a broader, more casual audience.

"We would have been in bad shape had we not done that," he said. "Audiences always evolve."

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