Do next-generation consoles need more free-to-play games in order to say competitive with PC MMOs and mobile apps? One very important Crytek team member says both the PS4 and Xbox 720 will be in trouble, either way.
Cevat Yerli, the founder and CEO of Crytek, tells Eurogamer that Sony and Microsoft will be fighting a losing battle with their next gaming consoles if they don’t adopt more free-to-play options:
“It’s quite a challenge for those companies logically because they rely so heavily on retail to sell the hardware and to sell the games where the margin for retail really is,” Yerli continued. “If they would forgo their entire retail business and go digital free-to-play, then they would not be selling any more Xboxes as well. There’s a chicken and egg thing there. And they have to make radical calls.”
Although Yerli has a point, he may not be entirely on the money when he says that consoles wouldn’t sell if physical discs were no longer needed to house software.
Even if free-to-play consoles eschewed the traditional tactic of selling upgraded consoles every lifecycle, there’s a wealth of online content for both systems that make them just as important as their games library. In Microsoft’s case, Xbox Live is so entrenched in living rooms, it would be hard to imagine they wouldn’t continue monetizing it with Xbox consoles.
“We know that free-to-play games have a bad image,” [Yerli] said. “They have a bad reputation – it’s pay to win, it’s low quality. I completely get that, but we are making free-to-play that’s high quality. It’s CryEngine 3, it’s a big investment.”
What Yerli’s talking about specifically is Warface, an upcoming game form Crytek that’ll be free-to-play on PC.
After that game launches, all of Crytek’s future titles will embrace the F2P model, which signifies a dramatic reliance on the PC market. If Sony and Microsoft want in on the money, they’ll have to support Warface on their respective networks, which aren’t traditionally geared towards F2P software to begin with.