If you're going to do a series of talks discussing the games-as-a-service business model on PC, there is really no better company to talk to than Wargaming.
The World of Tanks firm has successfully been operating that free-to-play title since 2011, going on to launch two other pillar brands in World of Warships and World of Warplanes. Speaking on-stage with PCGamesInsider.biz editor Alex Calvin, chief corporate development officer Sean Lee said that it's important to not let the business concerns run the project.
"The difficulty comes when you let the business run the game, a lot of the live-ops and development decisions that you'd make as a studio become challenging," he said.
"You're starting to try and figure ROI and every little advance and that doesn't allow for a very fun experience for the players. In a way, not to say you want me to want to be a business organisation, but really focusing on what's going to make the players happy and have them come back. The point is that they have to keep coming back to the game. Focusing on that is really important."
This is arguably where many traditional triple-A publishers have run into trouble in the past, charging too much for content and appearing to be simply wanting to make money. Lee says he still sees this happening today, but the Wargaming would make similar mistakes if it was making games outside of its traditional comfort zone, too.
"I'd say it's happening even now. If you look at the most successful triple-A publishers out there, they're really good at what they do, but what we do is very different," he said.
"The way I sometimes describe it is it's almost like a religion; having that mentality around developing and operating free-to-play games is a religion. You have to have faith. As an organisation, you have to have belief and faith that you can do this, that it will work out. All the great teams doing triple-A games or traditional console retail games were very good at what they do and they have a fundamental belief in that. In a way, Wargaming would struggle if we were suddenly tasked with making a triple-A premium boxed game to go on console and PC, we'd struggle with that because we don't have that fundamental conviction and belief."
Asked what the most important learning from Wargaming's eight years of operating service-based games, Lee said that it was discovering how quickly and easily fans can disappear.
"The biggest lesson we have learnt is that if you do a free-to-play game, players come much easier than they would in a premium game," he explained.
"They're not paying $60. But the thing is they can go away as easily - usually, they go away faster if you mess up if you don't deliver what they want. Fans will forgive you to a certain degree. But after a certain point, when you've used up all of your forgiveness, they will go away and most of them will not come back. That's the most painful lesson we've learnt over the years; people, customers, players and fans that you thought were yours are never yours."