There's no reason why AAA-level games can't be free-to-play.
Crytek's Cevat Yerli has, for many years, been in the business of making jaw-droppingly gorgeous PC games and helping other games get made via his company's CryEngine. But with the next generation of consoles more-or-less impending, Yerli says that PC gamers have no reasons to fear the PS4 or Xbox 720. "I think PC gaming should never fear. PC gaming is always going to be on the public's eyes," he said.
"The only thing that will happen is that PC gaming is going to change and adopt different business models - and we are trying to change it ourselves with high quality, premium free-to-play titles." Indeed, Yerli thinks that the free-to-play market has room for even the biggest of big-budget titles, and with big-name studios like Valve and perhaps BioWare exploring the space, it's hard to argue with him.
According to Yerli, there is "absolutely no reason" why gamers shouldn't be able to get AAA-level games for free, legally. To him, it's one of the critical failures in thought of the Western gaming development model. "How can you justify 10-30 million in production going in to a game that people are going to play for free? There is no royalty calculation possible in traditional minds."
Instead, Yerli thinks that developers should be looking to the models popular in the East, only applying Western standards to avoid the "crappy quality" that tends to be synonymous with "free-to-play" in gamers' minds.
"I went to Korea in 2006 and I was blown away by the way people play games - online, connection and social... that's their lifestyle ... So when I came back I said, 'I want that kind of business model in the Western world with the quality of a Crysis.'"