In case you missed it, Sony had a few choice words to say at last week’s GDC about their free-to-play business on the PlayStation 4. By and large, the words of choice were “very good.”




As reported on GameSpot and elsewhere, free-to-play revenue on Sony’s consoles is up 50% over year-to-year, with 3-15% of players being converted from free to paid players. Furthermore, the average revenue per paid player is comparable to what PC players pay and over 80% of PS4 users download digital content.

Around the time of PlanetSide 2’s launch, Sony Online Entertainment’s John Smedley said his research showed that 8-18% of F2P players, across a wide variety of games – not all Sony properties – converted to paid players. That could mean that the PS4 is lagging a little behind or simply that, because the games available on PS4 tend to be less “pay to win” than other F2P titles, that Sony is accepting lower conversion rates in exchange for generally happier players.

Going past the numbers, Sony admits that there are issues with approving and pushing content in a timely manner, an especially large issue for F2P games, which rely on continuous injections of content to keep people interested (and spending). Granted, it’s not like F2P devs who want to break into consoles have many choices. Microsoft is notoriously behind the curve when it comes to F2P on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and Nintendo… well, is Nintendo.

Maybe some of Sony’s pace is in making sure that an F2P game or update doesn’t tread down that “very dark road” that Zombie Studios’ Jared Gerritzen references. Valve has come under criticism for allowing some rather shady games (remember The War Z/Infestation: Survivor Stories?) onto Steam, so it could be that Sony wants to take the proper time to make sure F2P games on PS4 meet its standards for microtransactions. Even a game that’s been around for a while and that hasn’t shown any hint of questionable content can very suddenly shift its focus – sometimes inadvertently – to pay-to-win transactions.

In any event, if you were hoping that the free-to-play experiment on PlayStation 4 would be a failure, you’ll probably be disappointed. On the other hand, if you love the idea of F2P on PS4 – and, eventually, consoles as a whole – it looks like you’ll have a lot to love in the coming years. It just might take a little longer than you, and the developers, would like.

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  1. rjc523 on March 29, 2014

    who cares about f2p games on the ps4? that is what a pc/laptop is for. and the ps4 isn’t that great and barely have any games for it. so i’m good with my laptop. also i heard from a youtube video that they are going to add ps1 and ps2 backward comp. which is good. but wtf about ps3 games? again the ps4 have barely any games for it. so they should of added ps3 backward comp at the start. and i’m talking about the ps4 games you buy. not the f2p games. like i said before all you need is a pc/laptop for f2p games. mmos and non mmos alike. hell i saw comments saying the ps4 is pretty much only a 400$ blu ray player or something like that. which i agree with. anyway that is all i have to say. one last thing. if you want to play f2p games. get a pc/laptop over a console. that is all.

    • Bic Boi on March 30, 2014

      Lol I know right? All the big youtube let’s players aren’t doing F2P crap. It’s all the major releases..because in the end almost no one cares about F2P games. You don’t buy a console for F2P games especially if you have a computer, which nearly everyone who isn’t a brand loyalist (aka fanboy) or troglodyte has.

      Just as RJC says, get a computer. This crap of “Oh a console is cheaper”. Yeh? But it’s also locked, it can’t be improved and it runs inferior to PC versions of the same games. A computer is an investment that pays off immediately AND over the long term. Swear some of these people require a spreadsheet before they’d be able to begin to understand.

      Buy a console for games that matter, like exclusives. Get a PC for everything else.

    • Ed on April 8, 2014

      Why did you read the title about f2p and ps4 then bother reading and commenting you troll. I have a pc that would sodomize your laptop and a ps4 to play different genres. Its about the gameplay not the pricing model, if they developed a game like dark souls with f2p im sure people would pref a native controller to play with

  2. Trumbles on March 29, 2014

    Sony has learned from their blunders in the world of PC free-to-play games, they’ve learned that being aggressive with microtransactions and paywalls is bad, and hopefully this means no big payment-related mistakes in the foreseeable future.

    They’ve embraced free-to-play, they’ve worked out the kinks, all they need to do now is learn to push updates faster. At the very least it means they’ve got good quality control.

  3. Mystika on March 28, 2014

    Why would anyone want F2P to be a failure on a console in the first place…I’d like to see it take off throughout all mediums of gaming, from the PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, 3DS, Vita, Oculus Rift and so on…

    F2P should be all about choice – you get free gameplay and if you like it, you pay for extras. That and ensuring that the offering of free gameplay is not hindered in any way by paid restrictions.

    • Eviil on March 29, 2014

      It’s still a business regardless and they need to ensure they don’t end up in a dead end. It’s not that anyone is wishing F2P to fail, understand that F2P games are a gamble when it comes to making money. That is why they’re carefully monitoring and handling their F2P mode games, as Sony is very new to the F2P market. They’re not aggressive with their strat and they’re happy with that. Because of the F2P > Subscription player conversion, they’re seeing progress to lock their fans to console gaming.

      • Golgo28 on March 29, 2014

        Sony isn’t new to f2p they have been doing it for awhile now.They just usually did it on pc.Ad they used to be far more aggressive with their f2p model like on EQ2 where most races and classes were behind a paywall.Along with the highest tiered gear.And it realized peopled hated that model.So they made all the races and classes(except for beastlord and channeler which require you to have the xpacs they were added in),plus no longer requiring you to spend money to use the best gear.

        • Eviil on March 30, 2014

          PC is one thing, but console is another and the department is totally different. I’m well aware of Sony themselves having F2P models for the PC. The experiment they speak of involves consoles, an that’s what they’re looking at closely. Everything I said was not wrong at all, i’n fact it was pretty brief.

    • Aregadon on April 5, 2014

      Atleast in japan the Vita is taking on the F2P Market so I really hope it will also get the games out in English

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