“I don’t want to criticise the industry too much, but I think all of us who are executives, who are responsible for spending money and investing capital in the games industry have done a disservice to the industry by focusing on money first and hearts second,” so says Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney in an interview with GamesIndustry.

Mahoney goes on to note how game development organizations discouraged developers by saying that they are “not smarter than the next guy.”

Avoiding originality, cloning existing successful titles and doing the same exact thing that has worked in the market allows developers to “market much faster.”

Mahoney even cites how industry executives cynically point out that free to play games are designed to “trick people into playing your game and then you trick them into buying a lot more than they would have spent before.”

He does, however, shoot down this idea by noting how many of these developers that pursue smash-and-grab practices find themselves failing so spectacularly in the long run.

“The reason why they crashed to the ground is because the customers aren’t stupid after all. You can trick them once but you can’t trick them a second time. And fundamentally in a creative business, if you’re a cynic, you get burned.”

Mahoney has also admitted to Nexon following this train of thought by over-monetizing some of their titles, but that finding the right balance is the key to keeping players engaged for years or even decades.

He cites the business models of League of Legends and DOTA 2 – more specifically how they found the right balance to keep players paying while providing quality content that keeps players engaged for the long run.

So the next time you’re tempted to plunk down five, ten, twenty or a hundred dollars on that free to play game, you might want to stop and ask yourself: are you paying for content that is worth your money, or are you propping up a game that’s going to grab as much of your cash as it can before it moves on to clone the next big thing?

Read the full interview on GamesIndustry.biz.

*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net