Lead designer Dustin Browder stated that developer Blizzard have been considering making the multiplayer component of StarCraft II free-to-play for a while now.
The designer stated that whilst this was a possibility, they were unable to figure out how exactly they would implement the freemium model.
‘Freemium’ is the term used to describe Free-to-Play games that also have a premium option available. Usually, this amounts to either buying cosmetic gear. Unfortunately, sometimes it can also ruin games in which users can purchase superior equipment to gain an advantage over other players, resulting in a ‘Pay-to-Win’ environment.
“We don’t know how we would monetise it,” Browder said. “While it might be good fun for me to play against someone with only half the units available to them, that’s not going to be an enjoyable experience for them.”
Browder made this statement at a panel for the Valencia eSports Congress. It’s certainly interesting news, and it would be absolutely fantastic if Blizzard implemented this. For those worried, should this ever actually occur, I can almost guarantee that it will not affect current owners of StarCraft II. It will most likely simply enable new players to enjoy the title. Unfortunately, for the moment it appears to just be a subject for discussion.