Today Fishlabs linked to an interview with its CEO Michael Schade on Polygon. One of the topics was the question whether a developer can deliver a premium gaming experience with a Free-To-Play business model. Michael Schade seems to think so.
I think it's going to be a difficult task. Delivering a high quality game while at the same time trying recuperate the cost of development and marketing through a FTP model results in the creation of a thin red line.
On one side of this line players are going to enjoy the game but won't have much incentive to spend money. On the other side of the line players have no possibility to significantly advance in the game and enjoy it without spending money over and over again on In-App-Purchases (see the Real Racing 3 travesty of a game).
Apply this logic to an online multiplayer game and that line becomes even thinner than in offline games, because it means a player (or a group of players) with sufficient funds can potentially gain so much power that other players will lose interest.
Walking that thin red line is what Fishlabs has chosen to do.
That being said, I believe that in previous Galaxy on Fire titles they've made good use of IAPs, limiting them to things that make the experience nicer, help the player progress a little bit faster, or give her/him a little edge, but nothing that'll completely alter the difficulty and thus the over-all experience of the game.
Because of this I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt, but as we've seen with recent titles on the App Store, customers are increasingly sceptical of (high-profile) games that rely heavily on In-App-Purchases.
All that remains to be said is: "Viel Erfolg Fishlabs!"