Toylogic, developer of the 360's first F2P game, envisions a bright, free future.
Stop me if you've heard this one: A free-to-play developer believes that the free-to-play model will grow ever more popular to the point that even traditionally full-priced titles end up caught in its perverse, money-free gravitational pull. This time the comments come courtesy of Toylogic president, Yoichi Take.
"I believe it is quite natural that people will gather to play games for free," Take told GamesIndustry International. "I predict that, moving forward, even triple-A titles will be shifting toward Play-for-Free."
Take might just be right. Toylogic's Happy Wars will be the Xbox 360's first (technically) free-to-play game, and it certainly won't be the last. Whether the game's microtransaction model will work remains to be seen, and Take notes that Microsoft's purchasing policies make spending money on Happy Wars more complex than it needs to be. Currently, players have to purchase Microsoft points, then use those points to purchase Happy Wars's in-game currency which is used to buy items. And that's assuming players have access to the XBL Gold account required to play the game in the first place. Take declined to answer when asked if that extra cost would impact the game's F2P model.
While Happy Wars launches this week (12th of October), Sony may have already stolen all the best seats on the F2P bandwagon. DC Universe Online and Free Realms are both F2P on the PS3, and Phantasy Star Online 2 will be free on the Vita when it launches in Japan in early 2013. Eve Online spin-off, Dust 514 is another free-to-play title set for release on the Ps3 and Vita sometime this year. Sony Online Entertainment boss, John Smedley, has claimed that making in game purchases "frictionless" is a major concern for the company.
Source: Gamesindustry International