(Too mean? Yes, too mean. Sorry.) David ‘Earthworm Jim/Sacrifice/That Matrix Game’ Perry reckons he knows the shape of things to come – “the next big thing will be free games”, he told the BBC, whilst visiting Belfast to pick up an honorary doctorate for Doing Lots Of Stuff With Videogames.
He claims it’s the natural response to piracy, and reckons the ohgodithurtstosaytheword micropayment path is the one to tread. It’s worked out well with Asia, Maple Story being one of the leading lights, so he’s positive it’s the global gaming future. “It’s going to turn our industry on its head and I want to see the same thing happening in the USA and Europe.”
While his own experiment with the concept, free MMO 2Moons, seems a little troubled (always reassuring when a game’s official website doesn’t work), he’s hardly alone in thinking the West is ripe to give it a go. Battlefield Heroes and Mythos are the most interesting upcoming attempts to pull it off, and I suspect much hinges on their success. And on just how long collectormania can really sustain itself- if we do end up with a metric crapton of games using this model, will forever buying new funny hats lose its appeal after a while?
Meanwhile, another upcoming Perry project is The Fan Awards, another portal for homemade/indie games. It was due to launch back in May, but now offers a ‘coming with 30 days’ message. It’s a crowded market place, but the fact it’ll hand out prizes to the best games could mean it encourages some excellent entries. Which we get to play for free. Woo!