The lights are on
The free-to-play model is gaining more traction as developers and publishers realize the increased potential for growth (and profits) that it offers. Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney is among the believers, as he told an audience at GDC Taipei.
"North American and European developers are far, far behind the state-of-the-art Asian business models," Sweeney said in his keynote. "We've been building these games like Gears of War where you go into the store and you buy a piece of plastic! You just buy this DVD. That is going to change rapidly."
Sweeney also believes that console manufacturers could warm to the possibility of a free-to-play model. Microsoft and Sony do allow publishers to supplement their games with microtransactions and DLC, but the console market hasn't embraced the model as much as we've seen in mobile and Facebook gaming or throughout Asia. It's certainly changing, but these seem to be more along the lines of experiments than a larger shift.
"I think the console business we see in the United States and Europe will be just another platform," he says. You should soon be able to ship a freemium game on PC, and on console, simultaneously. "That is a very realistic possibility."
Gears of War remains the studio's flagship series, but that doesn't mean that other Epic IP aren't carrying their own water. In fact, the opposite is true. "The most profitable game we've ever made, in terms of man years invested versus revenue, is actually Infinity Blade," Sweeney says. "It's more profitable than Gears of War."
Epic will continue to invest in mobile gaming, as platforms such as the iPad continue to mature. "[We've been] very, very surprised to see how fast smartphone and tablet devices are improving."
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If consoles and games start becoming free to play, depending on how much they hinder my gaming experience, I might just end my gaming hobby because I don't want to bother by paying for all kinds of different things in a game, I just want to sit down and play a game without having to worry about paying another extra five dollars for something to make my experience better
I despise FTP and mobile (phone) gaming. I see there is some cheap quick money gained from casual family gamers, but they will quickly fade away.
I'm not against F2P, but it will be along days away until I give up my consoles or my PC to trade it in for a mobile tablet.
the future of gaming is very bad...
I am not going to let this bother me right now.
That's pretty funny. NA has one of the strongest gaming industries in the world, and he wants to change to be more like the Asian market? Last time I checked, they were the ones playing catch-up. The last thing we need is for companies to shy away from our core line-up of AAA releases in favor of not really free-to-play garbage. Yeah, it's easy to be successful as F2P, but it's quite difficult to hold any traction in the gaming industry.
How many long term, successful, F2P games are there on the market now?
Hmmm there are pros and cons to this. Handled correctly and a free infinity blade would be cool. If there was just an add banner at the loading screen or on the menu I would be fine with it. But if adds constantly pop up or I need to make a bunch of in app purchases to complete the game I hope this doesnt happen
Whenever someone brings up "free to play," what I actually hear is "nickel and dimeing for basic gaming."
There are a lot of fun mobile games. They could make some more.