How do you do free-to-play gaming in a way that doesn't upset and alienate the people who are actually going to be playing the game?
That's a question that Butterscotch Shenanigans has been mulling over as it tried to work out how best to - sorry for the dirty word - monetize its next 'big' game Crashlands.
And it thinks it's come up with a solution that benefits players and devs alike. It's free-to-play, but not as we know it.
The core idea is fairness for the player, and fairness for the dev.
Money for something
The game is all about finding and building stuff, collecting recipes and lumps of materials to make those recipes. These recipes have been split in two.
Progression recipes are free to everyone, and you can complete the game using just these. They're things like basic weapons and armour, house walls, and workbenches.
Enrichment recipes on the other hand are more exclusive. They're shiny weapons, stronger walls, and something called an Anger Omelet.
Free players can watch advertising videos to earn one of these recipes. It's your choice as well. Paying players can buy them in bundles, or splurge on a one-time IAP to unlock everything in the game.
That IAP also unlocks a hardcore mode with perma-death. And you'll get any enrichment recipes patched into the game at a later date.
The whole system is based on a series of founding principals that Butterscotch Shenanigans aspires towards.
You can read more about the payment method, and the principals that underlie it, in a blogpost over on the Butterscotch Shenanigans website.
It's definitely worth having a look at if you're interested in this sort of thing.