Free-to-Play Console Gaming At E3

I’ve gone at length before with the belief that free-to-play games are going to become big on the next generation consoles. If we start to see any indication of this, it’ll be at E3.

While I was writing my previous update, a handful of F2P games were essentially confirmed to be coming to the PlayStation 4. If they hit the right note upon release, I think at least one of them could really shift the course of the upcoming console generation.

The studios behind Warframe, War Thunder, Planetside 2, and DC Universe Online announced PS4 versions of those games recently. For the most part these games represent a lot of the tenants of what people usually perceive as “next gen” — the qualities of games that usually differentiate new hardware from old hardware.

If things play out right I think, Planetside 2 in particular could be a killer app for the PS4. I haven’t actually played the game yet (my current PC can’t run it), but from what I’ve seen and read about it, in every way the game represents a significant leap from the shooters console gamers have been playing on PS3 and Xbox 360.

The PS4 trailer immediately shows off the game’s online battles between literally hundreds of players at a time, dwarfing even games like MAG. Secondly, Planetside 2’s graphics are clearly a step above anything you’ve seen on the PS3. Almost every part of the game is immediately recognizable as something that is not possible on the PS3.

Usually a killer app for a game platform is a game that not only looks new, but plays like nothing else on previous hardware. Lastly, Planetside 2 being F2P means pretty much everyone who buys a PS4 immediately has access to the game. Games like War Thunder and Warframe could be in a similar position as well. I’m pretty sure we’ll see all of them at E3, especially Planetside.

Microsoft seems to be taking a different approach to a similar end. Sony seems to be simply making it easier for the developers of these games to come to them by allowing self-publishing on the PS4. This has already been stated as the reason Warframe and War Thunder are coming to the PS4.

Microsoft is rumored to be trying to publish Xbox One versions of F2P games like League of Legends and Hawken. Legends is already pretty huge on PC, like Minecraft was before it got ported to Xbox 360 and likely sold a lot of consoles for Microsoft. I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft was betting on Legends to be a similar success.

A lot of core gamers might still be wary of F2P, but all it really takes is some legitimately well-made games to justify the business model, and those games are already starting to emerge on the PC. Sure there are already at least a couple F2P games on PS3 like DCUO and Dust 514, but right now they are the exception, not the rule. If an F2P becomes big on next gen consoles from the beginning, it could established F2P in the minds of each system’s early adopters and thus establish a market for F2P throughout the upcoming generation.

BULLETS:

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One thought on “Free-to-Play Console Gaming At E3

  1. Games Fan says:

    Just a short note to say many thanks for the games update here,
    that was exactly what I (used) to be in search of!

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