At this year's annual Game Developers Conference, Ben Foddy, creator of online hit QWOP, took to the stage during the "Indie Soapbox" and mused about how one could redefine the "free-to-play" model, proceeding to suggest two radical ideas. The first of these thoughts is called a "reward model," where gamers who are good enough at a game don't have to play. The second idea he threw around suggested you only pay for a game if you're absolutely horrendous at playing it.
Now, redefining how gamers pay for content is already radical enough, but while these models might be nice for smaller developers, big-time publishers would be hit hard if even just the top brass of players didn't have to pay. It seems to me a more encouraging model would be the absolute opposite of these ideas—one in which gamers can play the game for free until they get good enough. That way, more people are encouraged to try the game for free, and after getting enough time with the game to know if you want more, then you have the chance to pay. Of course, this is but my own brief musing, but it seems to me a pricing model like that would work better for the little guys, while being a little bit less harsh on the profits of the bigger corporations.
Do you think the gaming industry should redefine pricing models, or with platforms like Steam and the eShop, do you think having set, adjustable prices with frequent sales is the way to go? Would you like to see some companies push forward with the idea, or do you think it should be ignored altogether?