Microsoft's Behind The F2P Gaming Curve

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor June 25, 2013
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If you're looking to get an Xbox One for your free-to-play kick and don't mind paying for an Xbox LIVE Gold membership... well, you still might be out of luck because your selection of games could be seriously limited, thanks to Microsoft's Stone Age policies regarding digital distribution.

By now, you've likely heard about Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi saying that he's “not happy about” the Gold subscription requirement for World of Tanks on the Xbox 360. He's still one of the lucky ones, though – his game will actually be on an Xbox system.

On the heels of that interview comes DayZ creator Dean “Rocket” Hall's questioning Microsoft's digital distribution model – or rather, it's existence at all, which he calls “ridiculous”. DayZ won't be free-to-play, but the points he brings up – echoed in another piece from last month – seem to indicate that Microsoft isn't exactly friendly toward indie studios and especially developers that don't have a major publisher or that ship a physical product.

That issue is, of course, at the heart of free-to-play gaming. There are major companies that make free-to-play games, like SOE and EA, that ship plenty of physical products, but if this information is accurate, even they're limited to one digital-only game on Xbox LIVE Arcade for every two physical retail games shipped.

And what about smaller companies that can't get on the shelves of Best Buy or GameStop or Walmart? Many F2P-focused companies fall into this category, and F2P gaming itself is primarily a digital venture, usually with no accompanying physical product. Even a well-established company with a very successful “other” game, like CCP, does most of its business digitally, which probably explains why DUST 514 is on the PlayStation 3 and not the Xbox 360.

Microsoft needs to seriously wake up on this issue. It's no longer 1995, where the only way to produce and distribute games is through physical discs (which they seem to understand only as it pertains to DRM). Perhaps the issue is that they don't want a ton of indie/low-budget games cluttering up the XBLA marketplace, but that could be solved with a little more quality control... but that would probably require more resources, a.k.a. money.

Victor Kislyi may be right when he says “We will teach – excuse me – we will advise them on how to embrace” how to properly handle free-to-play gaming and alternate payment models. I've spoken with Victor and he can be a little blunt, but in a charming way, and this seems like him coming up with the right, though undiplomatic, word and realizing he needs to quickly soften it. Still, it's a little troubling that developers need to teach Microsoft this lesson, one that a true forward-thinking company should already be in a hurry to implement.

If you care at all about the Xbox One, you'd better hope that enlightenment won't come too late.

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In this article: Microsoft F2P.

About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

Discussion (39)

Xboxisshit 8 years ago
Even though microsoft doesn't support small indies, they'll happily get minecraft onto their systems
This is a load of bull, all they care about is money, without a single care for customer happiness

saed 8 years ago
CONSOLES IS FOR BRAINLESS NOOBS ONLY! Almost all games SUX, very bad looking, unplayable controls, big prices... u should be super ideot to buy that crap! Even low end pc beat all console craps, u can do anything even play any console games on pc.

Moremoney 8 years ago
If i have more money, I'd never buy consoles, i'd rather buy a better PC or upgrade it, it does everything i want anyway, no consoles will ever replace or even outmatched, consoles have less work with small specific reward, PC have more work but with better rewardS. End

Consolesaredead 8 years ago
Consoles are dead anyway. Why should someone buy a console when he can have a PC?
the PC does anything better then a Console and you can play with a GAMEPAD to ive you want.
Btw when is the STEAM CONSOLE comming out? And STEAM BIG PICTURE makes a console more useless.
Everyone with common senes should save his MONEY and dont buy a bullshit console better a buy a good pc and you wont have any of this childish problems.

View 1 reply
Consolesaredead 8 years ago
Consoles are dead anyway. Why should someone buy a console when he can have a PC?
the PC does anything better then a Console and you can play with a GAMEPAD to ive you want.
Btw when is the STEAM CONSOLE comming out? And STEAM BIG PICTURE makes a console more useless.
CONSOLES ARE DEAD everyone with common senes should save his MONEY and dont buy a bullshit console better a buy a good pc and you wont have any of this childish problems.

CONSOLES ARE SOOOOOO... DEAD

Bic Boi 8 years ago
This seriously puzzles me--is F2P games that you can get on a PC -really- that huge of a deciding factor? What happened to all the AAA disc-based games from big name franchaises? Or did everyone just up and forget about those and are only focusing on F2P? Seriously? Someone throw me a bone here. I'm fricken lost.

chefmadness 8 years ago
Well duh. This is nothing new. I could have told you this months ago. Microshit will never let xbox be free online. You must pay to play no matter what. Even if the game is free it self. This is nothing new & shouldn't be a shock to any one. That is why PC & PS3/4 for the win! I have never paid Microshit for any thing. I pirate everything I have on my PC including my Win764bit OS & I never use Microsoft word, Open Office is way better & free. Open Source & Free/Share Ware Rule!!!!!

View 1 reply
lol 8 years ago
I'm glad PC solves all my gaming needs. I have never had the desire to ever buy a console, and with the trend that consoles are continuing to go towards, I don't see that changing in my future. The majority of titles released on both Xbox and Playstation are also available on PC, with a few that I do wish they would port, but not strongly enough to actually purchase a console (Gran Turismo, Forza to name a few). Not only that, the xbox 360 controller is becoming more of a trend now in newer games. I essentially have an Xbox, but with no monthly fees, and access to all the free-to-play games I could desire (with an xbox controller might I add).

View 1 reply
ThisJKid 8 years ago
First line correction: "don’t mind playing for an Xbox LIVE Gold ".
Change "playing" to "paying".

View 1 reply
some random scottish guy 8 years ago
please stop putting console news on the mmobomb website, this is no place for console stuff.

View 1 reply
headintheclouds 8 years ago
and titian is going on there cloud server, ah well another game that lots will NOT play ;)

Ryu 8 years ago
Amazon did a poll for the Xbox One vs PS4 and which one people plan to get, PS4 came out with 95% while Xbox One was 5%, it was around 38,000 for PS4 and 2,000 for Xbox One before the poll was abruptly shut down, how much ya wanna bet Microsoft did some damage control there?

View 1 reply
Akshansh 8 years ago
If we have to pay then there will be no sense in subscribe to pay . This means pay to play free to play lol . If I want to spend money I will spend on pay to play games and not subscribing for free to play. So free to play games of Xbox never. PS4 rocks

View 1 reply
Vinal 8 years ago
So it's a free-to-play being subscription based. Welcome to the void plane, where no logic exist.

well 8 years ago
well once they see there sells compared to the PS4 they will either shape up or ship out i love xbox but i wont buy bull shit

View 1 reply
RottenTaco 8 years ago
Mounted

bob 8 years ago
Another reason why not to buy this POS system....really wish they would just go the way of the dinosaurs.


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