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Notch: Scrolls free to play after initial payment

"I hate 'free to play'."

Scrolls, the next game from Minecraft developer Mojang, will be free to play after an initial payment is made.

Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson told Gamasutra there will be an initial cost associated with the game, and you can buy more scrolls to play with after that point.

"The idea is that you can play for free after the initial payment, which includes a lifetime subscription of new scrolls at regular intervals, and [you can receive more free scrolls] by participating in ranked tournaments and a few other things," he said.

In a Tweet Notch said: "Scrolls will contain aspects of 'free-to-play'. We won't call it free-to-play though, as it's not a 'free' game."

Scrolls, which has been at the centre of a high-profile trademark battle between Notch and Elder Scrolls maker Bethesda, is a fantasy-based interactive collectible card game.

In a blog post titled: "I hate 'free to play', the superstar indie developer elaborated, saying he was "sceptical" of the free to play trend.

"The reason some people are moving to this area is that free to play showed up in the 'social gaming' segment (Facebook) and made a few people (Zynga) very rich," he wrote.

"It's been tried in other genres in other markets with decent success. By 'success', I mean 'it's profitable'. The reason anyone switches to 'free to play' is to make more money. You get your players hooked on your game, and then you try to monetize them. The idea is to find a model where there basically is no cap on how much the player can spend, then try to encourage players to spend more and more money.

"Various psychological traps like abusing the sense of sunk costs get exploited, and eventually you end up with a game that's designed more like a slot machine than Half-Life 2.

"So instead of calling it 'free to play', we should call it 'as expensive as you want it to be' or something."

Little was known about Scrolls until a making of documentary was released last week following a Swedish judge's decision to grant Mojang victory in an interim injunction claim by Bethesda.

"I do not mind paying for games after the purchase," Notch continued. "I like customizing my character, or getting a few extra levels (Deus Ex: HR: Missing Link, woo!), or even paying a subscription cost for something with running costs.

"But let's get one thing clear: people who think 'free to play' is a great future are mostly game developers, not game players.

"I'll go play some Team Fortress 2 now until Dota 2 is released. I can't wait!! =D"

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