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BioWare says Anthem won't rely on big-spending 'whales' for success

This week, BioWare took some time in Los Angeles to show off key details about its upcoming online action RPG Anthem, sharing story details with members of the press in advance of a trailer preview at The Game Awards. 

Next week, we’ll be bringing you a conversation with game director Jon Warner about the direction of Anthem, but during the presentation BioWare lead producer Mike Gamble was able to talk to Gamasutra about the transition to live gameplay operations, and shared an interesting detail about BioWare’s philosophy toward its (loot box-free) plans for monetization.

Namely, Gamble said that as of this time, BioWare doesn’t feel the need to target so-called “whales” as the core part of its plans. 

A lot of game companies, especially in the free-to-play space, structure their monetization to attract large spenders who hopefully exceed the average user spend for a given game. When pressed if Gamble thinks BioWare needs these kinds of players for Anthem to succeed, Gamble’s immediate reply was “I don’t think so.”

With Anthem, Gamble stated that BioWare “is hoping to attract as many people as possible, make the pool as wide as possible, to support the game as long as possible. So even if we don’t have lots of people spending lots of money, we’re hoping the economy is such that we have a number of people [who can support the game.]”

“Having whales is great…but we don’t cater towards any particular group,” Gamble explained “Some people have more time than others, some people have less time than others, and that’s just where we leave it.”

Gamble also made an interesting comment during a group Q&A in response to a question from Mashable’s Jess Joho about BioWare’s plans for live operations for Anthem. “We want to support matchmaking where you don’t have to know six people on Reddit to play the game,” he said, rather bluntly pointing out that many online RPGs in the vein of Diablo and Destiny have that social barrier that can even turn away experienced players without the right social group. 

“We feel that is one of the barriers into getting into these kinds of games…we’ve tried to design the game that we felt we could get into [as single-player RPG players], we could take that extra step and say ‘you know this is actually fun playing with someone else.'”

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