Fittingly following my last news piece covering the increasing profitability of the freemium gaming sales model, Gamesindustry.biz conducted an interview with Creative Assembly devs Renaud Charpentier and Nick Farley. The two are responsible for the unique strategy game, Total War Battles, that has come to iOS, Android and, most recently, Steam.
The interview covers the drawbacks and perks of working with portably platforms, and it seems that one of the main gripes that the duo had were with the free-to-play sales model. Farley believes that the increasing prevalence of f2p leads to many games being ‘under-produced and over-simplified.’ While he praises such games as Cut the Rope, he thinks that they are grossly undervaluing themselves.
This is personal, and I don’t represent Sega by saying this, but I think we’re devaluing our product by selling it so cheaply. We’re devaluing the experience, and we’re dumbing down the experience. I’ve got nothing against Tiny Wings, I’ve got nothing against Angry Birds. I mean, Cut The Rope is a fantastic game, but that should sell for £4, not 79p… When you sell a game for so little you have to sell millions of them to make the economics work.
Total War Battles fits into what Charpentier and Farley describe ‘mid-core’ games. Selling for £2.99, TWB is relatively pricely for a mobile game, but they believe that it is part of a wave of premium games that will become prevalent in the mobile gaming market once the freemium and casual games begin to wear thin. Charpentier said that
There are many tap-tap casual games, but that’s not what Total War is about and it’s not what Creative Assembly is about. We’re doing mid-core games, and there’s a lot of room for that. Casual games on smartphones and Facebook are introducing games to many people, but over time they will want something more.
Do you think that the current trend for casual mobile games is just a gateway onto bigger and better things in handheld gaming, or will the likes of Angry Birds continue to dominate over arguably more ambitious projects like Total War Battles?