VentureBeat has an in-depth interview with Mike O’Brien about the financial side of Guild Wars 2. In the interview he talks about why the $60,- is justified, what their view is on microtransactions, their stance against gear-grinding and ultimately why their gem system is able to rid the incentive of Real Money Trade companies. Below you can find some of the most interesting quotes or read the whole article on VentureBeat.
GB: What are the key features that set Guild Wars 2 apart from free-to-play MMORPGs and simultaneously justify a $60 purchase?
O’Brien: It’s kind of a funny question. I usually get asked the exact opposite: How can ArenaNet afford to release a game that is this high-quality without monthly fees, when our competitors charge $60 for the box plus a $15 monthly subscription fee?
The answer is we’re really focused on creating the highest-quality MMO, not the lowest-cost MMO.
Here’s what we believe: If someone wants to play for a thousand hours to get an item that is so rare that other players can’t realistically acquire it, that rare item should be differentiated by its visual appearance and rarity alone, not by being more powerful than everything else in the game. Otherwise, your MMO becomes all about grinding to get the best gear. We don’t make grindy games – we leave the grind to other MMOs.
As far as platforms go, right now we’re focused on Windows because that’s where our current fan base is. We’ve done some experimentation, and I think Guild Wars 2 can work well on other platforms, but we’re still a small enough company that we have to tackle one thing at a time.
GB: Subscription MMOs like WoW and SWTOR offer free content updates (besides paid-for expansion packs). What are your plans for expanding and improving GW2 long-term? Can customers expect any content additions for free or will they only come in the form of expansion packs?
O’Brien: We’ll have both. Players can expect the same level of ongoing support from Guild Wars 2 as they would expect from any top-tier MMO.