It’s too early for VR developers to survive on a free-to-play strategy alone, one of the minds behind Candy Crush has warned.
Former King game designer Tommy Palm is now CEO of Resolution Games, which launched its first two virtual reality titles – Bait and Solitaire Jester – as free-to-play.
Yet, he told GI that VR’s prospective player base remains too small for most studios – such as those without the backing of investors – to take the risk.
"The install base is not at the point yet where you could sustain yourself as a developer on that model unless you had a very hardcore audience and could monetise that very heavily,” Palm observed.
“That's not what we're trying to do right now. We have investors behind us that believe in VR as a long-term thing. We want to get in early and start learning about this market, to come in while it's kind of a blank page but have opportunities to home in on our target."
Palm went on to predict that the ubiquitous business model may have a future on platforms such as Oculus, SteamVR, Gear VR and PlayStation VR once a healthy audience has been established, but that the medium’s infancy had offered devs the ability to return to a more conventional route to market.
"[Free-to-play on VR] will probably become more common later on,” he said.
“Right now, I think people can do premium sales. They can sell something for $9.99 and get away with it. It's much simpler from a development point of view, so I definitely see why a lot of developers would do that instead."