LittleBigPlanet Was Free-To-Play

Alex Evans, Technical Director at Media Molecule, has revealed that LittleBigPlanet started life as a free-to-play game. He has recounted the first meeting with Phil Harrison, then President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios.

“Phil said all sorts of buzzwords that hadn’t really hit yet. He said it should be driven by DLC and that it should be free-to-play, have a social core and premium, paid-for content.”

In a strange twist of fate (via its inclusion in the ‘Welcome back’ package) LittleBigPlanet has become free-to-play for many gamers and this has helped to boost the community.

 “There have been over 1.5 million new users since the PSN outage… it’s growing. It’s not a stagnant community. We have 4.7 million levels published, and half a billion plays of those levels.”

Source: Gamasutra



  1. Interesting

    I picked up the 1st one when it was £8.99 not to long after release, I suppose this nominal charge was to ensure their was some profit in the channel for distribution & retail of the game, I can’t see there was much profit in £8.99 for the publisher & the devs

    • I got it for £8.19 in some Asda pricing messup online. Really interesting the idea that it would’ve been been free to play, but it strikes me as there’d be less levels in the game, as a way of encouraging purchasing DLC. How the free to play model works with the user created levels is a little unusual too.

      • You’d probably have to pay for each tool or material.

  2. Now that is interesting! Bought it on release and I hated it lol but then after a while I cracked on with and did really enjoy it…. Might pick up lbp2 when it hits rock bottom prices.

  3. Part of it’s success I think, in that ultimately Mm did rather well in terms of profit from the game, may well have come from the fact that people had to pay for it. It’s a model people are used to, it makes the product desirable and ensures a certain amount of commitment from the player.

  4. Ah I remember the day it came out here. A Wednesday and how I was so exicted. The month that followed was awesome as me and mates just plowed through the levels, building our own, playing others. Great times.

    • After 2/3 weeks of delays i can remember that wednesday perfectly well, playing through 3 blocks of story levels then creating an uncharted level 5 hours straight. Fun times. Just a shame that level was awful and looks even worse now

  5. Wow, nice idea. I imagine it would have worked, but imagine they would probably be in the same place now financially.

  6. I got LBP around a year ago now for a fiver, and after completing the campaign I never really played it much. Now I just play it with friends when I go around there’s, on split screen. I can imagine it initially at least, was meant to be a free to play game.

  7. Even at full price i think this game was a gift to the PS3 gaming community, a gift that keeps on giving.

  8. Is Phil Harrison still at Atari ?…. not read his name much recently.

  9. Good old phil harrison. He also had another vision quashed, a slightly different(better imo) vision for home, part of which incl, streaming into your personal space & watching your own movies.(a bar on guests would sort broadcasting issues.) He also said you’d be able to use photos from your hdd, in your personal space(a virtual demonstration was given to the media.) He left before home closed beta began(can’t remember year.) I’m think he may have left, as sce weren’t sharing his thought of direction. TBH can’t remember if he left for other reasons, or was sacked. (my gut is saying thought of direction.)

  10. I bought and then sold LBP a while ago because I mis-understood the concept. I thought it was a graphically great platformer and didn’t get into it. Now having got it again on Welcome Back my 8 year old daughter and I have explored it more. Great co-op and great online.
    Judging on the fact we got it free I can see a free-to-play working as I’m going to be spending money on costumes and level packs.

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