Design director Mike Chapman also says there are “no plans” in place for monetization.
Rare’s Sea of Thieves received its share of criticism at launch but the developer has since worked hard to rectify the same. Along with a number of free content updates that add new threats (like Cursed Sails), there have been numerous events for players to partake in. But what is the plan for monetization? We heard sometime before launch that microtransactions could be included eventually, but nothing else thus far.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, design director Mike Chapman revealed that the developer doesn’t currently have any plans on when monetization would be added. Furthermore, he revealed that Sea of Thieves would not charge players for its content releases.
“We will never charge for those content releases because that would segregate our players,” said Chapman. “We took decisions around never having power progression in the game – you might have it within a session if someone finds a gunpowder keg or other weapons in the world – because otherwise, you’d reach the stage where certain people couldn’t play together. You’d have this weird thing of having to keep up with your friends, maybe feeling like you were being left behind. That will never happen in Sea of Thieves. So the idea of having to buy an expansion in order to play with your friends – we’d never do that. We have no plans locked in place now on when we’d add monetisation.”
However, he also mentioned that if Rare did monetize content, it wouldn’t just do the same thing that other games have done. This was already reflected in the developer’s desire to not include loot boxes. Chapman further added, “The one thing I will say is if we do that, we won’t just take something from another game and put it into Sea of Thieves. The way we’ve looked at mechanics, tried to innovate and do things differently, we’d want to do that with monetization as well. It’s not just about taking another approach and forcing it into Sea of Thieves. With all of our mechanics, it has to feel at home.
“We won’t step on the shoes of the gameplay, we won’t segregate our players, we certainly never would do pay-to-win. It would be around something that players love, and a way for them to keep enjoying the content.”
The question is – what could Rare do to incentivize player spending? Furthermore, is there enough goodwill built up to ensure monetization wouldn’t be met with hate? It all depends on the developer’s approach so, in the meantime, we’ll have to wait and find out.