Epic VP Mark Rein claims that Sony and Microsoft have been "going heavily" on the Free-To-Play gaming model when speaking to developers.
As the news and rumors continue to trickle out about the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s next Xbox console, there always seems to be an undercurrent of controversy whether it has to do with things like the requirement of always-online, the inability to play used games, and so on. Although these have been hot topics as of late, they remain largely unconfirmed by the main parties involved, except for Sony who recently admitted to never considering always-online for the PS4.
What does seem like something that is definitely taking place as we move toward the next-generation is the shift toward the Free-To-Play (otherwise known as F2P) model of gaming. The debate on whether or not this is a positive thing rages on in gaming circles everywhere, some believing that it’s just another way for developers to nickel and dime them, or make lower quality games in order to justify the free entry. Those are of course only a few of the criticisms. As well, there are those that think it could work out quite well when executed properly.
Regardless of gamers’ thoughts on the matter, it doesn’t seem like Sony and Microsoft are slowing down. Joystiq reports that both companies are "going heavily" on F2P as well as in-app purchases. All this is according to Epic VP Mark Rein, who is definitely in a position to know. He was quoted as saying the following:
"The next-gen consoles are going to be fully embracing the free-to-play and these IAP-type business models…So in case you don't know that I'm putting that out there. Sony and Microsoft are both going heavily in that area."
When prodded for proof he continued on saying that this is what both companies are telling developers rather than his own speculation. This was recently backed up by statements made by Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida in the latest issue of Game Informer who admitted that Sony were themselves working on a F2P game for the PS4.
For those unfamiliar, what these types of games usually entail is very low barrier to entry, such as making the game free, but hiding a lot of the content and features behind different pay walls. Players then have the ability to purchase the content that they want, and ignore whatever they don’t want. It sounds good in theory but the results have been mixed in practice.
We’ll have to wait and see how this finally shakes out, and no, not every game will be following this model, but this is a trend that will continue to grow as time goes on.