PopCap has taken some criticism for jumping on the free-to-play bandwagon with Plants vs. Zombies 2 (which was released this week on iOS), but PopCap CEO Dave Roberts says that free-to-play isn't all that different from the business model it started with more than a decade ago.
"We’ve gotten a lot of flak in the games industry for going free-to-play," he told Geek Wire in an interview today. "Everyone is: ‘free-to-play is so evil.’ But, part of it is, look we can now talk to a million people in a day or two million people in a day or five million people, or whatever it is going to end up with today. That’s a huge deal. People forget that freemium can really be a great thing because we are really showing a lot of people the game, and they are excited about it."
"I think the model — like any other business model, it can be flawed, or it can be great. It depends on how you execute." he continued. "People used to complain about … (when we started) we sold $20 download games. You had a 60-minute trial on, and then you had to pay $20 for it. And then you owned it. It was two percent conversions, and it was the same thing. A lot of people would try it, and a small number of people would pay for it. And that’s how PopCap grew up."