Planetside 2 just launched this week. I played some tonight, and yes, that's a lot of great game for the price of zilch. I think Sony and Microsoft would be stupid, if their boxes don't come preloaded with a slew of AAA Free 2 Play games like Firefall and Planetside 2 and Tribes Ascend. If they're smart, and I think they are, they'll be pursuing the free 2 play market aggressively.
Hey - buy our new console. There's also tons of free games. Good fucking games. For free.
Also - try out some Planetside 2, if you haven't already. It's out on Steam, and it's pretty great.
To gain 3rd party support out of the box, console makers will want to both strengthen retail and 3rd party relationships by having bundles or encouraging people to purchase games with their system early. F2P games in the box sounds great to you, the consumer, but I don't see it catching on.
No. As much as that'd be good for consumers, that seems like a stretch too far for either company.
If you were designing a console where most of the revenue stemmed from software sales, and you didn't actually make that much off of hardware, why would you provide an incentive not to pay for games? Wouldn't you want new titles that would provide a decent stream of revenue, instead of relatively old titles that might only act as additional cost to the manufacturer?
There isn't the money in Free2Play that you seem to think there is. Plus for whatever money they are making off every 10 persons, that's a lot of people that are choosing to play that game, entirely for free, rather than actually buy a game.
That's besides not pissing off retailers, though I'm sure the rush of downloadable games is already making retailers count the days to bankruptcy.
It really depends on the console and how well it does at launch. If it's anything like the PS3/Wii launches, then this is a terrible idea, since they're going to be selling all their consoles anyway. The only reason they'd want this is to get more people to buy them, which seems like something later in the cycle rather than launch.
The current consoles already have some F2P stuff though, so they may just bring those over at launch.
Do Free 2 Play games really cannibalize regular software sales that much? Most classic genres don't work with the Free 2 Play. And is there really that little money in them? Hell - if I wanted to play Planetside 2 like a full retail game on day 1, I'd have to drop triple the money of a regular retail game on it, if not more.
I'm not a fan of Free 2 Play either. I don't think the business model lends itself well to good gamedesign. Regardless - it's innovation and opportunity, since there's definitely money to made here, and there's definitely interesting games to be played, that likely wouldn't have seen the light of day - and I don't think classic game experiences have anything to fear from it.
Buying a PS4, and having a microtransaction-driven Planetside 2 right out of the box, at no extra cost? That'd be damn sweet. With the broad availablity of PSN pre-paid cards, I might even give 'em a couple of dollars for some guns.
Having played plenty of free, and near free games on my iphone, yeah it's great, but most of these games on the iphone are making a fraction of the console games.
The more free, and near-free games on the MS and Sony platforms the closer you get to that model.
Plus people seem already willing to pay for a console game, then buy DLC on top of that.
There's actually a lot of problems with the format from a business perspective but I'm a little too tired right now to get into them. I think right now the big three are holding their breath that they can kill the used market with downloadable games. In some ways promoting Free2Play heavily is counter-intuitive to all that.
Also Microsoft and Sony lose money on every console they sell. They need the royalties from game sales to pay off their loses and make a profit.
Isn't every dollar spent on Free 2 Play games outside of their platforms, a dollar they didn't get a cut from? Where-as they'll get a cut of every dollar spent on Free 2 Play games on their platform.
I wonder how much EA, Microsoft and Sony made off Mass Effect 3 online multiplayer booster packs (and that for mostly redundant unlocks). Now that's a number I'd love to learn more about.
My general attitude towards F2P games is that they are terrible. Sure, there are exceptions, but most of the time it just feels like it's a 'free' game that you have to spend more money on than a regular priced game if you want to have any fun. I rather just pay for a full priced game and have everything given to me, rather than spending zero cash on a game that's terrible unless I spend a lot.
As I said, there are exceptions, but I have yet to play any like that.
I think you could see exclusive access to something like that as part of the platform's subscription service. The next gen battle is going to be won and lost on who can most incentivise the purchase of their console over the other guy. Once they have their console in your living room, they have a storefront in your living room and are going to be making money out of you in every way imaginable for the next 5-10 years.
Next gen isn't even about the consoles, or really even about games, it's about turning your living room into a store. The game side of it is just the carrot which allows them to be able to do that. That's not necessarily a bad thing for gamers though, because if you're smart enough to realise what they're doing, then you can nom the carrot and then say 'no, thank you' to all of the other shit they are going to try and push on you.
I think they would be fools if they didn't make a huge push towards free to play games considering how big they've become. Seems like there's a lot of money to be made there and I wouldn't be surprised if one of the two had an exclusive MOBA style F2P game in the works.
Will you still need Live to play these games?
That's one of the 3 things that I wonder about the most when it comes to the upcoming crops of console hardware.
- Will basic online play still require a Gold subscription on Microsoft's next console
- What will the standard interface device for each of the consoles be like
- And will platform holders embrace or oppose the Free 2 Play business modell
My guesses are...
- Yes - online play will still require a Gold subscription, and yes that's hubris, and might cost Microsoft its lead...
- Not a fucking clue, hoping for a gamepad with higher precision analogsticks and more shoulderbuttons/shoulder functionalities, perfectly suited for first person games.
- Yes - Sony and Microsoft will go after the free 2 play market aggressively, Nintendo will yet again miss the train for a generation or two.
This is tangential but planet side 2 might be the first game I truly wished I could have just payed $60 for. Its just so good.
As a f2p, I could easily put $60 into this game and would hardly put a dent in the things you essentially need to buy to have access to. I say "essentially", because you can pay credits for everything non-cosmetic, but most guns for infantry/vehicles come out to 1000 credits, which even if you are good will probably take you 15 hours to accumulate. :(