PopCap CEO Defends F2P Plants vs. Zombies

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."

You can catch the rest of the interview here. If you are interested in checking the new Plants vs. Zombies, game, visit the game's product page.


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  1. 0
    DorthLous says:

    Yeah. And it doesn't come on most Android device (tied with contract or competing stores), is poorly taken care of and yet whimsical when they do curate it. I develop mostly on Android lately, and I don't dislike it that much, but there's more hurdles than they should be, by an order of magnitude.

  2. 0
    Cronosonic says:

    Yeah, the original Infinity Blade was kinda terrible about this, but Infinity Blade II does this so, SO much better, as there's a lot more ways to acquire gold, there's plenty of item drops from chests, prize wheels, etc. It's much more fair, though ultimately there's still the issue of having to monotonously go through the same areas again and again. But it's leagues better than the original game in pretty much every way.

    That being said, I think the Infinity Blade series limits itself severely from being on iOS. Rogue Legacy takes a similar concept but makes it a lot more substantial, it seems.

  3. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Wait wat? No touch for me then. I'll just wait till they release an ultimate edition with all the crap with it or get a hacked version I'm never going down the fee for this or that road again.

  4. 0
    SeanB says:

    Here's a good question (following some stats)

    FTP and Fremium are king on Android. At any given time the 20 or 30 highest grossing apps on android far outpace the best "selling" app.

    Further, globally, 70% of active smartphone devices are running android.

    Add to that, facebook stats show that android is the (by far) leader of facebook mobile users, and PvsZ2 is a social game…..

    Yet they launch this on IOS first?

  5. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    I'm fine with them charging for stuff so long as it doesn't hamper the game.


    To me Star Trek Online was one of the games that did it right. You can experience all of the content and not a pay a dime, but there are a lot of goodies you CAN buy, like iconic ships or ships with special features, such as a Galaxy class ship with the saucer separation, or uniforms from different Trek shows.

  6. 0
    GrimCW says:

    They charge for various in game items, including certain plants like the jalepeno.

    I'll give them credit, at least they didn't gimp it like say.. Infinity Blade.

    Buy the game to be forced to buy in game currency just to unlock the sword you unlocked for in game sale by fighting the boss at the top. Since without it you can't finish the full game in its entirety, and you can't just earn the cash in game because your forced to upgrade gear or cease gaining experience as your enemies grow in power regardless….


    I.E. sell you the game and then let you get half way through before popping up the price tag to be allowed to finish the game you paid for under the pretense that it was all there.

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