Tag Archives: free-to-play

Late To The Party: Forza Motorsport


I never got the chance or never got around to playing any of Microsoft and Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport games until they started releasing them on Windows. And by “releasing them on Windows,” I mean making free versions of them available for me to try out — the free-to-play Forza 6 Apex and the recently released demo for Forza Horizon 3. Continue reading

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Yet Again We Anticipate An Apple TV App Store

Here we are once more, talking about the possibility of Apple unveiling an Apple TV that finally incorporates an app store. I’ve blogged about this and other people have talked about it like some kind of doomsday scenario for TV entertainment since iOS and the Apple TV have been around.

This new recent story out of 9to5Mac suggests gaming will be a big focus of the new Apple TV. That in itself suggests a lot of different possibilities. People have doubted Apple’s potential success with TV gaming for a long time but at the same time I think this article may be overestimating what may or may not happen. Continue reading

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Hawken’s Challenging Horde Mode


In a previous post I mentioned the free-to-play mech shooter Hawken and its horde mode analogue. While deciding what multiplayer game I’m gonna stick with for a while I resolved to play enough of that mode to write a bit about it here since Hawken doesn’t get a whole lot of attention on the big websites. As I said before, it’s one of the most savage and unforgiving horde modes I’ve encountered.

Way back when it was first unveiled, what stuck out to me and probably a lot of other people about Hawken was its art design. It has a very nice, heavily detailed sci-fi theme that I think gives it some credibility among other free-to-play games. It has a look of real craftsmanship and production value in it. That art direction is most of the reason Hawken looks so cool in motion.

When I played the alpha and later beta I saw the versus modes — the meat of the game, as a structurally standard multiplayer shooter. It’s got the typical modes but with unique mech-centered mechanics which focus a lot of maneuverability and heat management. The horde mode in question is co-op bot destruction. In it you and a few teammates (who can be AI) survive 24 waves of AI mechs. The first time I tried it I failed wave 1.

Hawken’s bot destruction is brutal for a couple reasons compared to say, Gears of War 3’s horde mode.

Firstly, you don’t get to retry waves. It’s all about seeing how far your team can get from wave 1 on each attempt. Teammates can be revived pretty much for free, but when the whole team goes down it’s back to wave 1, and the game re-rolls its map choice.

The second reason is that enemy spawn points in each wave seem to be random. I’m not sure if there are set spawn points and the game just chooses three upon each wave, or if the spawn points themselves can be anywhere. Whatever the case, you really don’t know where the enemies are going to come from until the wave starts because they literally emerge through portals that change location. That means upon finishing one wave, a group of enemies can drop in right on top of whatever strategic position your team just established.

Those two factors make sure at pretty much all times your team needs to be on its toes and that it can’t really let up for a second. This mode doesn’t really forgive mistakes. Plus, in Hawken in general your mech can’t sustain much concentrated fire from other mechs, so if the team splits up or even one person loses track of the others in the thick of it, things can turn sour pretty quickly. That said, I did eventually get a bit into the swing of it after I focused on collecting “EU” which lets you boost your attack, defense, or weapon cooling. It’s still very much a “try and try again” kind of deal.

Hawken’s monetization from what I’ve seen is structurally a lot like League of Legends. There are things you can buy with one type of currency you can earn through gameplay, and other things you have to buy with another type of currency you can only get with real money. It probably is possible to buy your way to an easier time in bot destruction, but I’m not sure if it’s hard for me specifically because I haven’t paid a cent into Hawken. I know it definitely feels like earnable-in-game currency really only get’s you minor equipment and items.  The only major thing it lets you buy is new mechs.

At the very least I think Hawken is a pretty unique thing — a free-to-play shooter centered around mechs instead of just a straight-up FPS or a MOBA. It doesn’t just rely on that premise either, but has actually tried to build itself into a robust and attractive-looking game.


  • Man Sony’s upcoming PlayStation Network sales aren’t too bad.
  • So GameFly is starting movies. I knew there was a reason I stuck to them.
  • I was wondering why I’d never heard of a sumo anime until now. toei-anim.co.jp/tv/matsutaro/
  • This says a lot right here. http://t.co/nrnMwEeFZh
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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.


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Next Gen Console Game Business Models


One of the main changes going on in gaming right now that traditional console gamers vehemently resist is the increasing influence of online integration and microtransactions. The closer we get to the next hardware cycle and the more people seem to resist, the more game developers and publishers seem to defend this vision of the future. Like all advances forward, it’s probably gonna go through a lot of stumbles before the industry as a whole really figures it out.

For a little while now it seems like we’ve been looking at an all-out assault on the very idea of a video game as a singular piece of content, or as a creative work for that matter. The latest stated intentions come from people like EA and Crytek, basically saying they’re doing away entirely with the old notions in an attempt to get people to stop trading in their games, with seemingly no room for coexistence.

EA wants all of their games going forward to include microtransactions. Forward-looking statements like this rarely end up being 100 percent true, but I also don’t like the idea of EA moving forward with a blanket approach to every game they publish. I could only imagine what Need For Speed, all EA’s Sports games, and Battlefield will look like laden with microtransactions, but I believe Dead Space was the most egregious example because of its history as an atmospheric, isolated experience with game elements focused on a narrative instead of profit in and of themselves.

Crytek’s statement that completely isolated singleplayer games are going to disappear is just as much of a speculative blanket statement as EA’s is. It says to me that they aren’t really going to think about whether free-to-play is really a good thing for this particular game or that particular game. I have no idea how they’d implement it into a singleplayer Crysis game.

Cliffy Bleszinski has recently tried to defend companies like EA, and he’s right in regards to how varied the free-to-play and microtransaction-based model of gaming is. Very few have really figured out good ways to do it. He also makes a point that, apparently, people do buy these microtransactions. The market has generally accepted them, which brings forth the point that the core gamers so vehemently against these new business models are a minority. It’s actually kind of scary when you think about how only a minority of gamers actually care about the idea of a game being a singular creative work, rather than a service with which to generate revenue.

One game that a lot of people (including Bleszinski) seem to bring up as a great example of melding singleplayer and multiplayer is Dark Souls. I actually see Dark Souls as a great example of not ceaselessly pushing forward with online-connected gaming in every single product a company makes.

Maybe a reason I’ve gravitated back towards Japanese games a little bit is because Japanese developers don’t seem to feel the need to cram online into each and every one of their games. When they made Demon’s Souls and later Dark Souls, From Software didn’t just slam token multiplayer or microtransactions onto the game in order to keep people from trading it in. They actually thought up a genuinely unique idea for a game that happened to require an internet connection. People have probably given Nintendo crap for not making enough online-focused games for the Wii U already, but I applaud them for simply sticking to what makes their games fun, whether it be connected or not.

Maybe however this is because online gaming isn’t as big in the Japanese market. What is big over there is local multiplayer for handheld games, as well as passive communication between devices. That’s why so many handheld games have tried out Monster Hunter-style local multiplayer features and why Nintendo implemented Streetpass as a system-wide feature in the 3DS.

Still, I think market differences like that, as well as the continuing demand for wholly singleplayer experiences will result in a landscape next gen that’ll be a hodgepodge mix of such games alongside the fully-connected ones. We already have publishers like Nintnedo, Bethesda, and Rockstar who still primarily make singleplayer games.

Nintendo and Rockstar can do this because their games sell well enough already. You never seem to find used copies of Nintendo games, and their prices never seem to go down at retail, even five or six years after launch. With a game that sells as much as Grand Theft Auto, you don’t really see Rockstar complaining as much about the second hand market either.

Bethesda is the kind of company that can put out Skyrim — a game with no online features whatsoever outside of a few rather large pieces of DLC, and sell over 10 million copies. You never see them complaining about the used market, likely because they made a game that people can spend 100 hours playing. Plus, you’re also probably still gonna have a lot of indies releasing games of all kinds, including those strictly based around singleplayer.

I think the appearance of microtransactions and free-to-play on consoles next gen is inevitable, but what’s also inevitable is that there will be a greater variance of business models and price points for console games.


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Punch Quest: Free-to-Play Singleplayer Done Right

One of the strongest arguments against the assertion that Free-to-play gaming is the future of the entire industry is the question “How do you design a singleplayer F2P game?” People are already making great strides in cracking that problem, Punch Quest from the makers of Mage Gauntlet being one example.

The answer that mobile game designers seem to have arrived at is “make it like an arcade game.” Punch Quest is probably thus far the greatest example of the “running man” genre that’s taken hold on mobile gaming – a proper evolution after Jetpack Joyride.

If you never played Jetpack, in it you automatically run in a straight line, tapping the screen to jump over obstacles and collect coins, getting more points the farther you make it. The powerups and other items you got along the way helped out and added a lot of variety to the game. The result is a quick, addictive F2P game where the only monetization lies in experience point boosts and cosmetic customization. It’s singleplayer, it’s a good game, and doesn’t feel like a scam.

Punch Quest is all of these but with what feels like much deeper gameplay. It’s Jetpack crossed with Final Fight.

You have one button to punch enemies and another for an uppercut jump. Those two buttons alone combine for an impressive array of combos, many of which you unlock with XP (like Jetpack only XP boosts cost real money). It even feels like they designed the various enemies so that you have to use specific combos to deal with each one. On top of the alternate paths with different rewards, it all makes Punch Quest feel like a real next step for these kinds of games. Heck, it even sounds like Final Fight. They nailed that 16-bit beat-em-up sound design here and for some reason it just completes the experience for me.

The most important reason why I think any iOS gamer should download Punch Quest is because you don’t have to grind or buy a lot of XP in order for it to become fun. The gameplay is such that it’s enjoyable immediately – way before you actually start buying anything. That’s what makes it work.


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What Would it Take For Core Gamers to Accept Free-to-Play?

Free-to-play gaming seems to have been nipping at the hells of traditional console gaming for at least a few years now, but over the last couple weeks comments from publishers make it look like it’s really closing in. As I’m wondering if gamers are just gonna have to suck it up, I’m also trying to imagine what it would take for me to start playing F2P games.

Peter Moore from EA has straight up admitted that “hardcore gamers won’t like to hear this”. He ultimately declares that “The $60 game is dying. The mid-range game is no longer profitable. EA has to focus its energies elsewhere in order to meet those quarterly targets.” He puts this all on a timeline of five to 10 years from now.

The main problem here is that F2P gaming follows a mindset fundamentally different from what traditional console gamers have grown up to accept. EA head John Riccitiello put it deftly on the E3 conference floor when he said F2P games aren’t a product you own, but a place you go to. The reason F2P gaming has taken hold everywhere but consoles is because everywhere else is filled with audiences that don’t have preconceptions on what video games are supposed to be. The problem companies like EA and Crytek are gonna have to face is how to make their established fan bases accept the new environment.

In my particular case, the F2P game I play would just have to be a really good game. Unfortunately I still haven’t really had the time to try out an F2P game, but I’ve heard of ones that are either concepts or still in beta that look interesting to me.

The closest example I have played is Jetpack Joyride on my iPhone and I have to admit it is indeed a fun game. It’s actually the only decent example of a singleplayer F2P game I’ve seen (or even heard of). To those who haven’t played it, it’s more similar to an old arcade game than any big singleplayer adventure you’d play on a console today, and I feel like I can definitely reach the end without paying a dime. You just pay money to get upgrades more quickly. For the most part I think it’s a fair system, but without paying real money the game does feel like a grind.

A main issue I think is that we haven’t seen very many F2P games that look like real craft was put behind them. Not having played any of them I can’t really judge, but most of the ones I’ve seen do look like they have painfully low production values. Most of them probably just aren’t targeted at core gamers yet who expect something with a bit more polish behind it.

One exception from what I can tell is League of Legends. Some of my friends play it and I would try it out if I had the time (and a reliable internet connection). I’ve looked at the monetization system and it doesn’t sound like “play-to-win” to me. From what I hear, it also sounds like one of those very delicately balanced games with real craft behind it. The same probably goes for DOTA 2 which I will also at least give a look when it comes out of beta. I don’t think I’ve seen anybody mad about that being an F2P game. Valve also managed to get its hardcore user base to accept Team Fortress 2’s in-game economy with zeal. Another, lesser-known example is a Diablo clone called Path of Exile which I think is going into an open beta sometime this summer.

The final upcoming F2P game that I would definitely want to play is Phantasy Star Online 2 if Sega would just announce an English version. It’s a rare example of a trusted brand going from conventional to F2P. Sega even seems to be taking a risk by only charging for cosmetic items and virtual storage. Everything about PSO2 sounds like they’re taking the high road.

Another conventional game I’ve thought more and more about that might go F2P if we ever get it at all is TimeSplitters. Crytek is going all F2P after Crysis 3 hits and they’ve expressed desire to return to TimeSplitters. For me, an F2P TimeSplitters would really have to feel like TimeSplitters.  It would have to fully retain the controls and the overall feel of TimeSplitters 2 and Future Perfect.

I wouldn’t just play another generic shooter with the TimeSplitters name. I’m not just talking about the weapons, crazy presentation, modes, and maps either. When I play the previous two games, I can still feel the ghost of GoldenEye somewhere in there. I would need to feel it again in order to buy into an F2P TimeSplitters.

Other than that, to be honest I’ve already seen some conventional console games that I think I might play as F2P games if they retained their quality.

At times playing Gears of War 3’s horde mode I’ve seen a weapon skin I wished I could buy for maybe 99 cents (not in packs for $4). If I could buy a single character I wanted, like Griffin, for a reasonable price, I just might do it. As long as Epic didn’t lock weapons and fortifications behind a pay wall I’d be fine. The same goes for Modern Warfare 3’s Spec Ops Survival mode.

The thing that nobody can figure out yet is how to make a big, singleplayer adventure F2P. That might be the major barrier keeping F2P from completely taking over consoles. You might see stuff on consoles in the future resembling Jetpack Joyride, but not much else until some kind of breakthrough is made.

I fully believe that F2P is going to be one of the main things separating the next generation consoles from today’s consoles. The main thing setting current gen consoles apart from the last gen is the change in services and online infrastructure. F2P sounds like a logical evolution of this depending on how many established console game developers are willing to offer it.


  • It seems that people like Cnet are still why Nintendo won’t go mobile and F2P. I’m wondering why they haven’t compared the financials yet. Sure they might be comparing the growth rates, but the raw numbers are still worlds apart.
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The Loot RPGs of 2012

A little while ago I talked about the saturation of loot RPGs over the last few years and actually suggested it was tapering off a bit. Not really, since we’ve got half a dozen either coming out or coming out of beta this year.

The problem I noted last time still stands – I can really only devote myself to one of these kinds of games at a time. Given that, it seems even more ludicrous that other developers are daring to release their loot RPGs in the same year as Diablo III.

How many fans of these games do they expect to really divert attention to Torchlight II, Borderlands 2, Path of Exile, Guild Wars 2, and Lineage Eternal this year? The first Torchlight seemed to have been made specifically to tide people over until DIII, and now Runic is in a bit of disarray because DIII is launching sooner than they expected it would.

I mean, I’m interested in these other games but only because I have no history with the Diablo franchise and want to wait until I can get a trial or something for DIII. I don’t have that loyalty to Blizzard (I haven’t played any of their games since 2000) so I’m at least willing to give the others a shot depending on timing.

The only one of these games that feels like it’s going to come out of beta during the summer drought (in North America) is Torchlight II, and finally looking at footage has actually got me genuinely interested in it. I’m surprised at how different it looks from the first game. I don’t know how I’ll stack up in multiplayer situations in this or DIII though.

Path of Exile looks like it might go into a more open beta this summer and it’s almost the only one of these games that’s free-to-play, so that one is at least easy to try out and looks interesting. The graphics are especially impressive compared to all the competitors that have gone for art over tech. I hear PoE is even still just as easy to run as Torghlight II.

The real outlier that actually seems like it has a chance is Borderlands 2. All the other ones look very similar, right down to the red and blue orbs at the bottom of the HUD. Borderlands 2 on the other hand is a loot-driven shooter that will actually launch with a console version. Whether or not I’ll play it depends on what else is coming out in September which right now is just Far Cry 3.

The other major outlier is Phantasy Star Online 2. It’s the one franchise here that commands the most personal loyalty from me, but it’s also the only one that’s not being released in English right now. I’m starting to think that Sega is focusing on Japan right now so their game won’t get squashed by all the other competition. Personally I would recommend they release a console version since that’s where PSO started, and only Borderlands is also doing a console version right now (DIII and Torchlight II probably eventually). There’s a lot less competition in that market for this kind of game. One big reason I’m especially attracted to PSO2 though is because it’s the only game here attempting a handheld version down the line.

Just beating the first Torchlight actually got me in the mood to start playing Mage Gauntlet on my iPhone again. Whenever I’m away from home and can’t play Torchlight, PSO, or Demon’s Souls, I tend to play Mage Gauntlet because that’s the closest equivalent I’ve been able to find for my phone. I hear that for hack n’ slash loot action, Dungeon Hunter 2 is basically it, and I think that’s a real problem.

The iOS version of PSO2 is going to be a kind of companion app – you’ll be able to bring your character down to a single player experience similar to the main game. It’s just something to do in the game while on-the-go, which would be awesome for Torchlight and Diablo. That’s not even mentioning the PlayStation Vita version of PSO2 that actually will have cross-play with the PC version.

The main factor influencing which of these games I decide to devote time to and when I play them however is how I view them as products in the grand scheme of things. I don’t know how many people dedicate hours at a time to Diablo but I mainly see all these games as really advanced time-wasters.

It was hard to play more than maybe 30 minutes of Torchlight at a time – it seemed more like a comfort-foot game with actual deep mechanics, and I already have plenty of those. DIII seems to me like the game you play every weekend instead of Team Fortress 2 or Modern Warfare. I don’t know if I can go back to the days of spending three hours trying to find one sword in PSO.


  • So at some point the guys who made Super Crate Box made (or are still making) some kind of hip-hop inspired first person shooter in the style of DOOM, and I’m trying to figure out how to get my hands on it. Something to do with a kickstarter that’s already funded.
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Where’s Console Gaming Going?

I don’t think I’ve actually gone on at length about what I think of “the $60 game problem” and whether or not traditional console gaming is getting usurped because of it. Recent articles from Wired among other places have caused the issue to resurface, and I think this is a clue as to what changes we’re gonna see during the next console cycle.

It seems like almost everybody’s saying that free-to-play gaming, social gaming, mobile gaming, and what have you are the future while bemoaning the $50-$60 pieces of plastic. I don’t think these people are wrong, but I’m still having trouble seeing the bridge between here and what those people are envisioning.

Personally, I agree with those saying that it’s not worth paying $60 for most games these days, and I choose not to. Just hearing the MSRPG for console games rise to $60 made me more selective about what I buy. I’ve played most of my console games this generation through GameFly, and only paid full price for my absolute favorite games. Over the last four years I’ve bought probably close to 200 PC games from various digital services – and paid $50-$60 for less than 10 of them. While I’d like to call out Angry Birds’ success by pointing out that no one else has really repeated it, I have bought a lot of $1 games for my iPhone.

I keep seeing more and more people who are hesitant to buy new releases too, exploiting some kind of scheme or sale, or waiting for price drops on games that don’t quite sell. That’s almost the common thing wherever I look now. I think that this, along with the emergence of the new markets, is a response to those expenses that also shows how rigid the conventional console market is. The head of EA has admitted to how much market share console gaming has lost. Something’s gonna have to give, but I’m not sure what yet.

Here’s the thing: conventional consoles still have a hold over living room gaming. All those other markets – Steam, F2P, social, and iOS are on computers and mobile devices, not the TV and your couch. They haven’t quite made their move into that territory yet. You have XBLA and PSN, but those are still tightly controlled by Sony and Microsoft along with the big game publishers. That’s why I don’t think any of those new markets directly threaten consoles yet. When you can easily play all those $1 and F2P games on your TV, then we can start talking.

From what I can see, there are two things that could happen to bring this about: Firstly, I personally think that at least one of the console manufacturers should adapt to the landscape that’s changed around them. I think that manufacturer is gonna be Microsoft, as the Xbox is already being turned into a general entertainment device. People are starting to desire dedicated devices less and general-purpose hardware more, but no one has made a hugely successful general-purpose set-top box yet. Microsoft has an opportunity to be the first, offering music, TV, movies, and games all together.

After that I think Microsoft (or whoever) would just have to loosen up a bit on the pricing of their digital content. Consoles are gonna have to eventually accept F2P games, and we can’t have Plants vs Zombies on PSN costing five times its iTunes price. I personally want to see variable pricing above all else.

The second thing that may happen is that someone running these new gaming markets – probably Apple, will release their own general set top box that will offer quick and affordable entertainment, including games. If we can get an Apple TV with full App Store support, it’ll definitely change things. Cheap, quickly accessible games would start being developed for the living room environment which, given Apple’s hardware advances, could one day compete with conventional console games.

Either way, quick, cheap, and accessible digital gaming is looking like a more and more likely future for the industry. I think it’s just a matter of time until it fully enters the console space. The hardware manufacturers and publishers need to figure out how they’re going to be ready. I don’t think console gaming is just gonna let it self get squeezed out of the equation.


  • Finally saw The Raid: Redemption which just started showing in general theaters across the US. Amazing action flick.
  • SpellTower – one of the most mind-crunching iOS games, is still a dollar.
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The Beginning of Free-to-Play Gaming on Consoles?

Well this could be cool: with next week’s PlayStation Network update PS3 owners will be able to download and play KillZone 3’s multiplayer for free up to a certain level, after which they’ll have to buy a $15 unlock.  I don’t know about you, but to me this sounds like a possible beginning for free-to-play gaming on consoles.

I have yet to even touch an F2P game, partly because I don’t believe in buying gameplay advantages with real money, and partly because I haven’t seen one in a genre I really care about.  I see the appeal though.  The model basically removes all barriers to entry for anyone who might be interested in a game – probably the best way to let someone “rent” or “demo” an online component.

What we’re gonna see with KillZone is the simplest method – a one-time paywall, and if it get’s successful I could see it happening in the future for Twisted Metal or something.  I think Microsoft could do some pretty cool things with this model for Halo or Gears.  It just depends on how they do it and whether they’ll ever try this with a brand new game.

I think that soon enough, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are going to have to accept some form of the F2P model on their platforms.  It’s growing too much to be ignored.  We already know there will be a Wii-U version of Ghost Recon Online.  I know F2P is a bit controversial among traditional gamers, but I think it or similar models could have some neat implications if applied correctly to consoles.

Recently GameSpot released a video revealing some details about the upcoming PSN/XBLA version of Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, stating that it will have over 10,000 pieces of cosmetic DLC.  Imagine if the base game was free (hopefully with all characters) but you could buy stages and costumes.  I could honestly see myself playing an F2P fighting game if a competent one showed up.

I already plan on checking out that mech game Hawken when it comes out.  I also understand that DOTA 2 will be F2P and a lot of my friends have been playing the beta.  If Diablo III turns out to be F2P I could see that catching my interest as well.

A big part of the resistance to F2P is probably due to the traditional feeling that a game is a product that one buys for a set price.  I’m starting to think that the people who enjoy F2P games probably don’t see them as such, but rather hosted virtual worlds that they can’t own, but they can buy content for.  Maybe that doesn’t quite work out when you consider the value proposition of that versus simply getting all that content for $60, plus having the fun of unlocking it.

Either way, I don’t think we can deny that digital distribution has changed the dynamics of gaming on PCs, and it seems like the same will soon happen on consoles.


  • Huh. The first Shin Megami Tensei game is out on iOS.  It’s still Japanese-only of course (even though they bothered to write an English description for the game, maybe they care that much about import gamers), is $14, and is based on the 2003 GBA port.
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