LittleBigPlanet might have been free-to-play

At this year’s Develop Conference, three founders of Media Molecule took part in a panel discussing the history of the development house. Leading the panel was none other than former Sony executive Phil Harrison, who worked closely with the developer during their early work on LittleBigPlanet.

Talk of the good old days eventually brought about tales of Harrison’s push to make LittleBigPlanet a free-to-play offering, something that was relatively unheard of at the time. Alex Evans, technical director at Media Molecule, said the Sony exec thought it should be “free to play, it should have a new business model, it should be downloadable.”

Evans went on to to say Harrison wanted LBP to have downloadable and user generated content and that “Phil was basically raising the bar on what we were pitching.”

After the panel, Harrison clarified what had been told to the developers, saying the challenge he gave was to make LittleBigPlanet into a service with a “mechanism for monetizing user generated content.” Creating that service instead of just a gaming product “would allow the best creators to be to rewarded in some way for their for the innovation.”

Why didn’t that happen with LittleBigPlanet? Harrison says there were “many good reasons why that didn’t happen, but clearly the seeds have certainly been sown and it will be fascinating to see how the console platforms take on that challenge in future.”

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