Interview With David Hoffman of OGPlanet

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by Kyle Ackerman

I had a chance to sit down with David Hoffman, executive producer of OGPlanet, to talk about OGPlanet's business and latest game Cabal Online. OGPlanet is one of the companies in North America pursuing games that are free to play. As Hoffman explains, OGPlanet is specifically looking for quality games with a successful track record that the company can bring to the North American audience.

The latest of these game to launch is Cabal Online, a game that launched commercially on Friday, February 29. As with similar "free-to-play" games, OGPlanet receives its compensation from microtransactions and, possibly, advertising. In this case, players purchase Astros, the OGPlanet's universal currency, and can spend those Astros in the Cabal Online item shop for in-game items.

In a press release from the company, Hoffman was quoted as saying "It is important to us to find a balance ensuring our players the full experience of CABAL Online without paying a penny. The items purchasable by Astros, our OGPlanet-wide in-game currency, will give players ways to make it from 'Point A' to 'Point B' more quickly, but won't give them any sort of permanent advantage over players who might not have the budget to utilize the Cash Shop."

That's a message shared by a lot of companies that run free-to-play games. But in our discussion, Hoffman was willing to go further. Most players in such games accept the trade-off between money and time. Players with time can advance without purchasing items. Players with money can purchase items that will help them progress their characters faster. But many players feel that in some games, items purchased for real cash are absolutely necessary to enjoy a part of the game experience.

Hoffman stood behind his claim that cash shop items won't be necessary to enjoy the game by saying, "If I discover that players are excluded from a raid or high-level content because they need an item for which they have to pay, I'll make it free." That said, should players want to purchase one-off items from the cash shop, or buy monthly enhancement packages, there will be plenty of opportunities to spend real-world cash.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on March 5, 2008 5:49 AM.

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