DICE's GM Karl Magnus Troedsson made a plea for the industry to place the focus back on fun and away from business models in his GDC Europe keynote - and went on to defend Battlefield 3's Premium service that's caused strife for some users.
"It's about the games, about the entertainment and about the fun," Troedsson told an assembled audience in Cologne today. "It's not about the business model, it's not about the platform we're building on - it's about how much fun we the gamers have when playing the game, and that's been a real thread throughout the company's history."
Troedsson's speech came on DICE's twentieth anniversary, and he gave a potted history of the Swedish developer, detailing its rise from a group of young coders in the '90s through to its work on one of the most high-profile franchises in the industry.
Battlefield has courted various business models in its time, a fact acknowledged by Troedsson as he listed the free-to-play offshoots Battlefield Heroes, Battlefield Play for Free and the downloadable title Battlefield 1943.
More recently, Battlefield 3 introduced a paid for Premium service that included rent-a-servers - a facet that would prove controversial as some players were muscled out of the game.
Troedsson addressed that very issue, and whether it's the case that some business models obscure the fun factor of certain games.
"We need to be able to think about these things, and we can't just not think about business models because then the company might not be here in the future," he said. "If you look at the Premium servers that we have out there now, I would definitely not argue that that gets in the way of having fun.
"There are some premium features that the people who take part in this service get and that other people won't, and of course they could feel that they're left out or they might feel disappointed, but I don't think that the argument's correct that it gets in the way of the fun of it.
"There are things that we try and look at and we try and tweak it," Troedsson continued. "The dedicated servers on console, for instance, there was a big cry out in the community that after we released the rent-a-server programme on console there were no dedicated original servers. We heard that, we changed it and we tuned it back. Sometimes we do something and we have to scale it back."
Troedsson ended his talk with a rallying cry of sorts, repeating his call for a shift in focus. "Business models will come and go, and platforms will be born and they will die," he concluded. "Is the future dedicated hardware or is it streaming from the cloud? It doesn't matter - if you have great entertainment and you create great games, this will span all that, and it will survive all the transitions, because one thing's for sure - things will change."
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