Triple A Gaming Is the Future, Says Epic Co-Founder

Triple A Gaming Is the Future, Says Epic Co-Founder

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Epic vice president Mark Rein says that paid for content will always beat free-to-play.

As popular as games like Farmville and other free-to-play games might be, Epic co-founder Mark Rein doesn't believe that it's the future of the industry, and that paid content would always be more profitable.

Speaking at a Q & A session at the Gamehorizon conference in Newcastle, UK, Rein said that free-to-play was a misnomer, and there was always a cost attached, even if it wasn't immediately obvious.

"Let's be clear," he said "there's no such thing as free." Rein said that whether via advertising, microtransactions or the exchange of social contact information, players paid for the games they played.

Rein continued, saying that there was more money to be made in paid content, and the best free-to-play games couldn't compare to their paid counterparts. "They all pale in comparison to how much World Of Warcraft and Modern Warfare are making," he said. "Triple A isn't going away."

While nothing that Rein said is wrong, I can see room in the market for both paid content and free-to-play content. It seems like a question of scale: A game like Epic's own Gears of War certainly made millions of dollars, but it also cost millions of dollars to make. Something like Zynga's Frontierville probably made much less, but certainly cost less as well.

Source: Edge

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As it's true that there is no such thing as a free game, it's still true that free games could be better than paid for games. Just look at I Wanna be the Guy. Or the most current: SMB Crossover. (Looking at genres of course.) Now, there also plenty of free to play RPG's that are better than paid for RPG's. Hell, even AAA title RPG's. But that doesn't change the fact that A: They aren't really free as you need to pay for some content and B: It's probably a small percentage in comparison.

So yeah, if AAA titles can have the heart and soul of those free games, then yes. They will be the future. But for now, it's looking like f2p games aren't going anywhere.

I don't think Triple A is exactly the future, but neither is free-to-play.

I think the future will rely more on smaller studios, much like it did back before 2000. The insane budgets for current gen games means that it's very easy for a studio to push itself to meltdown over one mistake. I don't think the industry can support that kind of pressure, the industry itself is rapidly moving towards an oligopoly, with a small amount of big players having to match each others business moves. We've already seen this with Move and Kinect, each following the Wii's success. I don't like it myself, as it stifles creative innovation, but I think that eventually it's going to lead to another videogame crash and the whole scene will be essentially reset to zero. It looks a bit to me like the housing market just before the crash 2 years ago, massively bloated.

Then again, my predictions are about as reliable as throwing a dart onto a dartboard covered with post-it notes, so there's probably no truth in what I'm saying.

Uh, must we always compare the two?

To me, they're separate markets; and that especially irks me when people say Farmville is the future of PC gaming.

No, it isn't. It's the future of stuff like solitaire on the PC maybe, but not the gaming market I'm apart of.

Woodsey:
Uh, must we always compare the two?

To me, they're separate markets; and that especially irks me when people say Farmville is the future of PC gaming.

No, it isn't. It's the future of stuff like solitaire on the PC maybe, but not the gaming market I'm apart of.

Exactly!

Triple A gaming is a huge risk, and eventually some of the major companies will go down.

Triple A Gaming Is the Future, Says Man Who Has Vested Interest In Triple A Gaming Being the Future.

He's got a point though.

I thought "triple A" gaming was epic's past? As they haven't made much of worth in the last five years. Does this mean they're planning to make better games in the future?

I hate to be that snarky, but epic talking about "triple A" games reeks of bullshit. Might as well have high school dropouts espouse the future of higher education.

Anyway... the whole "zygna" thing is pretty much over. "Social" games have existed as long as the internet, but never catch on because moderation staff invariably view it as spam. Facebook isn't moderated and wasn't regulated. Slight regulations applied, zygna starts hemorrhaging money.

Zygna made a ton of money, got noticed, and seeing as the industry completely lacks for imagination these days (GRAW! MUST COPY EVERY SUCCESSFUL BUSSNIESS/DESIGN DECISION!!), its understandable why this became an issue. Its just... over now. "Social" gaming works by forcing their userbases to get spammed and spam the shit out of one another. Applying that to live or psn would be an atrocity.

Not to mention, there is such thing as "free." Once you start quibbling about "time investment" and other such non-monetary functions being "costs," you're forgetting everything has these "costs." The difference being your game still costs $60 and won't last anywhere near as long.

AAA games have got to evolve, they're too expensive right now.

You've got to standardise an effective and flexible engine across all platforms, use it as a base and reduce dev costs by having a stable engine at the start, as opposed to the mad-scramble all studios seem to imply they do, bashing out their own unique engines.

Cynical skeptic:
I hate to be that snarky, but epic talking about "triple A" games reeks of bullshit. Might as well have high school dropouts espouse the future of higher education.

Those who have loved and lost wax on about romance more than any other...

I think there's room for a lot of different kinds of successful games in the future.

Gaming has grown an incredible amount in the last decade, and it's not about to stop that growth. While AAA titles will always remain popular (after all, that's where the big budgets go, including the marketing budgets), there are a lot of different types of games that are strongly on the rise. The Farmville type of games are one example, as they mostly appeal to people who are outside the target audience for traditional AAA titles. Another example are budget games by smaller (often indie) studios, which have become a lot more accessible and mainstream thanks to digital distribution.

I think the future is going to be very interesting while those different approaches to game-making are finding their balance, and I don't believe for a second that any one of those aspects will be pushed out of the market by the others.

Cynical skeptic:
I hate to be that snarky, but epic talking about "triple A" games reeks of bullshit. Might as well have high school dropouts espouse the future of higher education.

I disagree strongly with your comparison. I'm a high school dropout, and even though I did eventually manage to get into higher eduction in a very roundabout way I think few people really get to experience first-hand the importance of education as those who lack it.

Besides, it doesn't take a top chef to be a good food critic, if you catch my drift.

While I'll gladly pay for the games I choose to play, I refuse to fork out additional money to play these DLC packs or additions that are required just to be on the same starting line as other players - that's just money grubbing and makes me feel like the developers are just touching me in the wrong places.

Logan Westbrook:

Rein continued, saying that there was more money to be made in paid content, and the best free-to-play games couldn't compare to their paid counterparts. "They all pale in comparison to how much World Of Warcraft and Modern Warfare are making," he said. "Triple A isn't going away."

Yeah, because Zynga totally didn't reel in a hundred million in profits last year alone.

Hurr Durr Derp:
I disagree strongly with your comparison. I'm a high school dropout, and even though I did eventually manage to get into higher eduction in a very roundabout way I think few people really get to experience first-hand the importance of education as those who lack it.

Besides, it doesn't take a top chef to be a good food critic, if you catch my drift.

I'm a high school dropout as well, but its not like I sit around talking about how important higher education is... or it's future.

And while that last bit is true, it does take a top chef to chart the future of the food industry and/or fine cuisine. Otherwise s/he is just speaking out his/her ass.

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory was completely free, and fucking good. The only thing that rivalled it was Battlefield 1942 in classed based shooters but ET was objective based and BF was area holding.
W:ET is certainly on par with BF1942.

But I highly doubt a situation like that will occur again.

Of course its more profitable...its paid for. I am sure Zynga enjoys swimming in peoples monnies though

Well free porn is better than paid for porn, I gotta say. Also what of games like Guild Wars? That's free to play after you buy the game.

I think the future is in indie/small companies who understand that games are supposed to be fun, and all the goddamn graphics in the world can't stop a piece of shit from playing like a piece of shit. Hell, World of Warcraft doesn't exactly have up-to-date graphics, and it's got 11.5 million people willing to pay 15$ monthly to play it, because they made a quality game. Blizzard is rolling in money because they know gameplay is king. (I have no idea how Zynga stays in business.)

mattttherman3:
That's free to play after you buy the game.

Well, in that case, everything is free after you buy it.

(guild wars is not a mmo)

Enigmers:
Blizzard is rolling in money because they know gameplay is king. (I have no idea how Zynga stays in business.)

Believe it or not, zygna games stay in business the same way WoW does. Time investment + maximum accessibility (read: piss easy grindfest).

The title seems like saying "Water is a better hydration choice than sand."

Am I missing something that makes this anything short of "duh?"

Pay to play beats free. Okay.

What does Epic Games know about Triple A titles?

Eh.

I disagree.

Free-to-play games are often as entertaining or more so than modern "Triple-A" titles, simply because they're remarkably inventive. A lot of Flash games out there are terrible, but some of them are absolutely wonderful. Sure, you won't be getting A-list animation or storytelling, but that's not what a GAME is about.

Triple A games as in what? Games with a Metacritic score over 85? 90? What? If that's what he means, okay, great. But everyone has their own different tastes on what makes a Triple A game for them, so what's the point of saying that?

Duh?
Maybe?
I thought that was obvious...

Frontiersville? Back in my day, we had the Oregon Trail. And if you were being a bitch about dysentery, you'd get put down.

Well, it's not like he has an obvious bias or anything.

But seriously, though, free-to-play isn't a misnomer--he's just applying the label to too few games. I mean, check out Cave Story, Spelunky, I Wanna Be the Guy, and pretty much every game on the TIGSource forums, among other places. A lot of these games don't have in-game advertising (or are played in a browser), they don't require any type of social contact, and they don't have pop-ups forcing you to buy premium content at $15 a pop. They are, basically, free-to-play, and the first three I mentioned are damn brilliant games in their own right.

So, no, Mr. Rein, free-to-play can be free-to-play, and with how top-heavy and sequel-embracing the current market has become, you'd be lucky if it doesn't make like a game of Jenga.

Honestly? While saying that "free to play will destroy pay to play" is stupid, I really think that the AAA titles are in danger of driving off a cliff. Too expensive to produce, developers take less risks and stick with tried-and-tested formulas and an increasing amount of gamers are getting bored of the said tried-and-tested formulas (e.g. the warfare shooter being the most common trope of this type).

I think a market crash may be coming, due to developers producing the same old thing. And then, we would be left with smaller studios.

IN all honesty, I have seen more and more restriction on these grand AAA+ titles. Sure are entertaining and rack some some good bucks but also cost alot of money yet always seem to be the same game over and over.

In all honest, Gears of War is my sanctuary. The cover system and whatnot has it's charm and I'd happily buy those games without a doubt. Free-2-Play has alot more audience since they are exposed to the 'casual' demographic which is quite huge.

Where does Pop Cap games fall? They as about as cheap as Farmville to make, but actually cost money to buy.

i think the industry lies in the indie peeps. Innovation comes before refinement. trip-a games will be big bucks and surprise the mainstream, but it always starts from some gaudy awesome idea. granted maybe a trip-a game will stumble upon a gaudy awesome idea and thus making that game orgasmic. Or we can just stick to incredibly refined games ie MW

... until Google starts making games. Then we'll see some crazy AAA titles that are absolutely free, and technologically more amazing than anything before it.

No such thing as free? Apparently these people have never heard of pirating.

dfphetteplace:
No such thing as free? Apparently these people have never heard of pirating.

Do what you want 'cause a Pirate is free. You are a Pirate! Yarr harr fiddle deedee! Being a Pirate is alright to be! Do you want 'cause a Pirate is free, you are a Pirate!

In all seriousness, is there anything what actually governs a 'AAA' game rating?

True... AAA games are great... IF IT DIDN'T SUCK!!!!!!!!

They label any game that has a big budget a AAA game... WHICH SHOULDN'T BE THE CASE!

There should really be a governing body for classifying games in terms of quality... :/

EDIT:
About that governing body........ They might also get paid by the publishers to rate it an AAA... Damn economics... *sigh*

 

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