Free-to-Play Coming to HD Consoles and More!

MMOBomb Staff
By MMOBomb Staff, August 21, 2011
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It comes as no surprise to anyone that free-to-play games will be a part of the current console generation and play an even stronger part in the next generation. Basically, it’s something we all already predicted, since it’s the path that the videogames industry is following. Popularity and quality of free-to-play games is increasing drastically each year that goes by. As soon as free-to-play titles proved viable and extremely lucrative in the west, it was merely a question of time until they jumped from PC to consoles.

Rumors abound of Microsoft planning to jump in the free-to-play wagon very soon. They are, according to several sources, working on the micro-transaction backend for Xbox LIVE, something that is, as we all know, the real reason for a prolific free-to-play market to exist and grow exponentially. Micro-transactions of virtual items are an incredible source of income for developers – at nearly no cost (only the creation of the shop and items) and without any danger of stock rupture (how can you run out of something that isn’t physical?), this is a commercial dream come true.

Besides selling in-game items, Microsoft is reportedly looking at other free-to-play model: premium upgrades. What this means is that players who want the full experience will have to pay for something like a premium subscription (“freemium” is the word that is becoming the norm).

Tribes: Ascend is coming to PC (free-to-play) and Xbox 360 sometime this year, and it seems that Microsoft is working as fast as they can to get this anticipated Tribes sequel as a free-to-play launch title in Xbox 360. It’s a difficult objective, but not an impossible one. Sony is also experimenting with the free-to-play market, with their MMORPG Free Realms already available on PS3 (and there’s also the Japanese-only MMORPG Angel Love Online).

Nintendo is planning to add in a near future DLC content to 3DS and Wii U on their eShop, as reported by Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s president. This will allow for purchase of additional content for games. That being said, the eShop will be technically prepared to offer micro-transactions and freemium content for future free-to-play games. The announcement that free-to-play tactical shooter Ghost Recon Online will launch on Wii U and PC is telling of Nintendo’s will to bet in free-to-play games.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the industry are conflicting opinions about the subject matter, saying that free-to-play MMO games will take quite some time to prove themselves on consoles and that their success will be far from that attained on PC, since the experience isn’t exactly the same. However, some MMOs are proving the contrary, with DC Universe Online (a pay-to-play MMORPG game) being reasonably successful. In the old days the FPS games were also an experience only possible in pc... Besides, other genres such as MMOFPS games, Racing MMO´s and much more are reliable additions to consoles and their integration seems relatively easier.

Free-to-play games are here to stay and are also confidently gaining their share in the mobile market, in devices such as mobiles and iPads, and I would be surprised if handheld consoles stay out of the deal, even if a steady online connection is strictly necessary all of the time.

Talking about the future of videogames is an arduous task, since technology is constantly evolving. If it’s related to cloud gaming or other format, one thing seems certain about it – free-to-play games will be with us all the time. The Internet access is getting better and better and this allows for the ideal conditions for free-to-play online games to evolve for something even more surprising. As for us, we can’t wait for the future to happen!

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Discussion (27)

common sense 10 years ago
anyone who likes F2P games is just... gullible, if this is the future of gaming then the poor people will be left out in the cold while rich kids act like they are gods killing everyone in sight with their mommy and daddies credit card, yeah sounds like fun, "hey i killed that noob" means i spent more than him or "dam some noob just killed me" means he spent more...future of gaming sounds boring and non competitive, wake up people!!!!!!!

movieman14 10 years ago
@ Ashi : Listen to this quote from the article...~ ''working on the micro-transaction backend for Xbox LIVE, something that is, as we all know, the real reason for a prolific free-to-play market to exist and grow exponentially. Micro-transactions of virtual items are an incredible source of income for developers – at nearly no cost (only the creation of the shop and items) and without any danger of stock rupture (how can you run out of something that isn’t physical?), this is a commercial dream come true.''~ ...this doesn't quite sound like just porting free-to-play mmo's onto systems,it sounds much more like ''free-to-play takeover''.I also want to point attention to this part..~''Besides selling in-game items, Microsoft is reportedly looking at other free-to-play model: premium upgrades. What this means is that players who want the full experience will have to pay for something like a premium subscription (“freemium” is the word that is becoming the norm).''~
That ^ is what happens when you go ''free to play'' you lose money,not save it.And I would like to point out one last part which is probably most important is this paragraph. ~''Nintendo is planning to add in a near future DLC content to 3DS and Wii U on their eShop, as reported by Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s president. This will allow for purchase of additional content for games. That being said, the eShop will be technically prepared to offer micro-transactions and freemium content for future free-to-play games. The announcement that free-to-play tactical shooter Ghost Recon Online will launch on Wii U and PC is telling of Nintendo’s will to bet in free-to-play games.''~ With no offense meant to mmo-bomb,this is grasping at straws...yes Nintendo is planning on releasing Ghost Recon,but as a game that is for purchase with online play (which many fps on wii already have might I add) not a completely free f2p.Iwata has had several interviews in which he very clearly stated that he does not want to go the f2p route and even with dlc would allow it for other developers but not do it with Nintendo's First Party titles (and also to keep in mind..dlc is dlc,not a f2p game or a sign of one)...this is not ''proof'' that Nintendo or the entire gaming market is turning f2p and it is really more like mmo-bomb trying to make a completely non-topical comment what they wish it were.

movieman14 10 years ago
Well,Iwata himself has said that they are not planning on going free-to-play but will work on dlc,so saying ''Nintendo is also going free-to-play'' is not 100% correct.Free-to-Play might be acceptable for a handful of games but there is NO WAY I would want to see it on a majority of console games..while it might mean no immediate pay to begin playing you overall end up paying MUCH more overtime for membership,micro-transactions,etc. ...free-to-play has its place in pc gaming but that is where (for the most part) it should stay,I prefer paying $50 to have all of a game than (over time) $100 and still not have the full game experience.

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DAMN 10 years ago
this is f*** outrageous :O.. DAMN PS2 OR PSP OR WEE WHATEVER IT IS!.. DAMN.. DAMN... MORE DAMN -.-

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10 years ago
I am a little bit scared about the Xbox free to play games. Microsoft always finds ways to get money out of these.

So be prepared for limited as f**k, everything for xbox games.

Wii and Ps3 will have fun.

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Baconation 10 years ago
See the console gamers/devs are getting some brains, they see how computers are better and now they finally decide they should probably look more into it. There is no way consoles will ever have as much as the PC(F2P related) has but at least there's something.

Megazell 10 years ago
Consoles. LOL They always 20 years behind PC. So out of the 94+ million titles on the PC/Mac/Linux how many will they be porting over? From the conference they stated 52. LOL

10 years ago
Nice article.

I hate how many developers/publishers are denying the success of past console MMO's, as well as RECENT ones.

For example, Phantasy Star Online Ep I, II, and III were all great/popular games made by Sega, which were available on the Dreamcast, GC, PS2, and Xbox.. Even the Wii's Monster Hunter Tri is the MOST played game on the Wii to date. Even DC Universe is going strong.

And I KNOW there are even more...

Tech1Crux 10 years ago
Here's the thing, Only the PS3 is strong enough to run good, Open-world MMOs (just look at how DC universe is PC and PS3, no 360, and MAG with 256 man battles...PS3, NOT 360) So Microsoft will try to bring a sort of F2P model, but lacks the ability to have any GOOD MMOs, PS3 already has DCU, FreeRealms, and FF XIV.

Sorry microsoft, we all know your console isn't strong enough, so stop trying to get people to pay more for games they've already bought. Leave the online world to PS3, atleast then internet connection is free.

View 4 replies
10 years ago
some mmo on xbox 360 could be AWESOME, except about the "premium accounts". Those accounts totally destroy the f2p model, because most of the game is unavailable, but i'm not totally against purchasable DLC or CS, if it doesnt become pay2win

Bioswat 10 years ago
Cool! I wish Sony to make more games for PS3 and some F2P FPS Online games cause my PC is lagging because of tons of file on it and I'm lazy always to open laptop :D Plz Sony some new mmorpgs MMOFPS-s and other
P.S. BTW if SOE ported Free Realms to PS3 may be they'll port EQ2 some time? I mean F2P model of it:D

View 1 reply

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