- Over at his blog, Microsoft's Kim Pallister has posted an opinion piece called 'What should World of Warcraft and David Copperfield both fear?'. Apparently, that's "...someone giving away what they charge for, and tanking their business in the process" - and the piece rambles its way to some interesting insights on what's happening.

As Pallister notes: "At Casual Connect this year, there was a lot of talk about the big media companies (e.g. MTV/Viacom) coming into the space. What I don't think people grokked though, is that not only will they come in and compete for the same customers, but they may completely upset the apple cart in an effort to get those gamers interested in their IP (and thus watching the shows, buying the dolls, eating up all the Hollywood soup and washing it down with a sugary, fizzy dose of free-to-play branded MMO."

He concludes: "So the thought exercise for you (as I try to bring this in for a landing), is what do you do when your competitor's business model suddenly is "free"?" And indeed, this is the great wonder and the great potential issue on the Web and for, really, any non-console platforms.

Given that casual games are, indeed, relatively cheap to make compared to AAA-style PS3/Xbox 360 games, don't you think it's possible that many of the mainstream will get their 'fill' of games from the free Flash-based ones? Won't this be even more true as companies turn to games and virtual worlds to advertise and cross-market their products? It's certainly an interesting potential dilemma for the game biz - and one not enough people are thinking about.