That’s the philosophy Blizzard is taking with Overwatch. Eurogamer recently published an interview with Game Director Jeff Kaplan. In it, Eurogamer asks about how Blizzard intends to fund/monetize the game post-launch.
“We haven’t locked in exactly whether there’ll be additional monetization after launch or not. Some of that is because we want to watch the launch itself and see how successful that is, and see what sort of player base we end up with and see how engaged they are,” says Kaplan. He then talks about how Mike Morhaime always tells him about the famous quote from ‘Field of Dreams.’
“If you build it, they will come.”
Will Blizzard look at microtransactions? I can’t imagine a world where they wouldn’t. But any microtransactions would be focused on cosmetics only. Earlier this week, Blizzard announced every additional map and hero following the game’s initial launch will be free.
In the announcement, Blizzard said, “we thought about this and we decided the best way to add them to the game is to patch them in as free content and not as paid DLC.” It’s a great move for everyone. We don’t have to pay upwards of $100 for necessary content. If folks want to shell out hundreds of dollars for cosmetic items, go for it. For Blizzard, they gain a lot of goodwill among consumers.
Cosmetic microtransactions combined with free maps/modes is the future. Games like Rocket League and Halo 5 are doing it and have been praised. On the flip side, games like Star Wars: Battlefront stick to their season passes and catch flak for it. In Battlefront’s case, it also had to do with the lack of singleplayer and small number of maps for the main game modes.
Kaplan continued about how Blizzard will approach Overwatch’s launch and after. “Right now, our biggest concern with Overwatch isn’t about how many ways in which we can monetize people, but it’s more along the lines of making sure that the game is really fun and that we get a really big audience that enjoys playing the game with each other. From there, it’s easier to figure out what to do.”
Eurogamer’s interview covers much more besides microtransactions. It touches on ranked play, when the beta will return and how the developers are feeling about the beta’s reception so far. Kaplan also touches on how Twitch has given them valuable insight into how people are playing.