The Free-to-Play Promise

by Jogolumo on July 10, 2012

It’s important to have beliefs. Here at Team Lumo we believe in great games. We believe in doing everything we can to make Kumo Lumo a great game. We genuinely love creating games, but whilst love may well make the world go round, it’s money that keeps a roof over your head and a mug of your favourite tea in your hand.

This is a post about love and money.

In the old days, life was simple, we would make a game, put in on the shelves, and you, the players, would buy it if you thought it was good enough. Everyone got paid, everyone was happy. Since then, the world has turned and many developers now give their games away for free, but charge you for stuff that might make the game a little better or give you a few different ways to play.

And actually, we think this is a great idea. Players get to try out all sorts of new and exciting games, and then only pay into games that they really like. Suddenly, us game devs can’t rely on a few flashy screenshots and a noisy trailer to sell the game, we’ve got to make sure that the game itself – the whole game – is really good!

Theory and Reality

Now, that’s fine in theory, but we think that some game developers go a little too far and ask you to pay for too many bits of the game they initially told you was free. Although we respect their decisions, we want to take a different approach. We want to offer the player really valuable items and additions to the game, items that we really hope you would want to buy, that you’d be happy to buy. We don’t want to charge for each tap on the screen or for each second in the pause menu or… well, you’ve seen the sort of things that some games get up to.

The Free-to-Play Promise

This is the Free to Play Promise, and it comes in three parts.

  1. If a game is free to play, you should be able to have fun playing the whole game for free. That means no pay walls on level 5!
  2. If you buy something it should make your game better or different. That means you get new skills and better abilities to use in the game. It also means we won’t charge you just to play the game for a few more minutes.
  3. We should not be in your face all the time telling you to spend money. That means you can play without feeling there’s a dodgy timeshare salesman sitting on your shoulder.

It’s a tough aspiration to live up to, but we believe it will make Kumo Lumo a better game, and force us to be better game designers. Once again, everybody wins.

We want Kumo Lumo to be FREE, but supported by in-app purchases that we believe will give players a lot of enjoyment and we’ll get paid for making the game without compromising our personal ethics. We want to make money and be a successful team but we want to be able to sleep at night too. We believe that this ethical approach will help foster a good feeling with our players that may translate into support not just of Kumo Lumo, but of our future games – and we really, really want to keep making games because we love making games.

For all this to work, we need your help. We want you to tell as many people as you can about Kumo Lumo and about our Free-to-Play Promise. If you are a player, then tell us what you think about our promise in the comments below, or on our Facebook page. If you are a game developer, maybe you would like to join us in the Free-to-Play Promise and help bring fair play back to video games.

Share our Vision

So please share this story with as many people as you can. You can use the Facebook, Twitter and Google+ buttons, tell your friends on forums or paint a picture of Lumo on the wall of your house. (And if you do paint a picture of Lumo on the side of your house, pleeease send us a photograph!)

Whatever you do, keep an eye on Kumo Lumo – we’ve still got loads to tell you, and an amazing game to share with you!

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