For a few months, I have been hearing about the Dr Who adventure game that has been created for Dr Who fans to download for free.
I have read a number of articles about this in MCV, Develop etc. and there seems to be some concern that this free offering from the BBC will be damaging to the games industry. At a time when the games industry is sending more and more development abroad for tax reasons and the supermarkets are squeezing the independent games outlets by offering mainstream titles at such low cost, there is no profit margin. Surely the concept of high-end free games is a worry?
The point that niggles me is that nowadays the term “free” often detracts from the true cost of creating these free things. For instance, the Dr Who game will have taken a large amount of money to develop, just like many other games and many other things of value that are tag’d with the “free” label.
The point that everyone seems to be missing is that the BBC Dr Who game is not really free. In the UK, the BBC is funded by the license payer, like myself, who have to get an annual TV license currently £145.50 per annum.
While I think the BBC is a great service and don’t begrudge paying the license, I think calling the Dr Who game a free game is potentially damaging to other game makers and it is not free as it has been subsidised by the TV license payers.
I strongly suspect that the BBC would not be giving the game away for free if the license payer had not funded its development.
What are your views?