We are beginning to see a small influx of free to play console with Dust514 coming free to play to the PS3 later this year and a free to play Call of Duty game becoming available in China.
I wonder then whether we will start seeing more freemium games with paid games becoming a thing of yonder year. Developers will no doubt still make vast amounts of money from these types of games, as we all buy the best weapons, armour or whatever we need to win at a certain game. These microtransactions will over a period of time, lead to a lot of money being spent.
It certainly seems that many companies feel that freemium is the way forward and are adapting to the market. EA boss Frank Gibeau recently told GamesIndustry International when asked when the company will have most, if not all, revenues coming from digital products.
“For us, the fastest growing segment of our business is clearly digital and clearly digital services and ultimately Electronic Arts, at some point in the future – much like your question about streaming and cloud – we’re going to be a 100% digital company, period. It’s going to be there some day. It’s inevitable.”
Crytek are developing its own social games network entitled Gface, which will allow players to access free-to-play titles that stream over the web. To launch the service, the company have developed Warface, a first-person shooter with a host of co-op and competitive multiplayer options. Both Gface and Warface are currently in beta.
There is a host of other developers out there saying that free to play is the future, whilst I think that that on the surface this is great, I mean who wouldn’t want to just play their games for free without having to spend a penny.
Plus it will give many smaller developers who over the past few years have been squeezed out by the big boys over the past few years a real opportunity to get back into the market, given that they wont need to be supported by retailers.
However I am not sure whether I like the idea of the majority of games being free to play and then having pretty much everything on the game locked up. Does it give the game a sort of half finished quality, you quite like the game but before you can really fully appreciate it and play the game how it should be, you will have to pay for a host of unlockables, so perhaps not really saving money in the long run.
For those out there who are a fan of shooters, like myself, I can certainly see that I would be spending a lot of money getting the biggest and baddest guns available, after all Ill need them in multiplayer, or I will end up splattered in every round.
I am undecided yet whether I prefer the way games are at the moment, whereby you get an opportunity to play a full games demo and if you like it, you can buy it and know exactly what you are getting. I guess we will be seeing a lot of free to play in the future though to allow me to make my mind up.