According to leading industry experts, ‘Freemium’ will become the dominant force throughout the games industry, and some believe it could even spill over to consoles.
Speaking with MCV, Digital specialists at EA and BBC have both indicated that people do not want to pay for games. The Freemium model has proved to be an overwhelming success with online and on mobile games.
“The future is not about one-time payments, the future is about freemium,” says EA Interactive senior VP Nick Earl.
“A decent number of people convert to paying and they may not pay a lot but most of them actually pay more than you’d think.
“I don’t know if freemium gets to console but I do know that humans like free stuff. I also know humans who will pay for something if they’ve tried it out and they like it.
“I’ve wondered if freemium expands beyond the tablet, Facebook and smartphones, and out into consoles? I don’t think it’s impossible for that to happen.”
BBC Worldwide’s EVP of digital entertainment and games, Robert Nashak explains that the beauty with the fermium model is that it really favours quality games, “because everyone gets to try before they buy.”
“I think it’s going to lead overall to better quality, because if you’re not hooking people in you can’t monetise,” add Nashak.
I think freemium changes the landscape and raises the quality bar in a good way.”
Studio boss at EA’s BioWare Mythic, Eugene Evans believes that rental firms like Blockbuster are partly responsible for the rise of free-to-play, as people could now rent and preview a game before deciding on whether they would like to purchase the title.
Evans says he is “convinced” that Blockbusters probably put some studios out of business. He continued to say there were people that complained about game rentals, but that they were “often the people whose product was just bad.”
“There was this new era where people could play before they paid. Even though I was in the business, I thought it was great; I would go and rent ten games in a night and give them all a try, to separate the junk from the good games,” he added.
“Think about what that did for the quality of the games. When you hear about – for example – how much it costs to import games in Brazil, no wonder free-to-play has become so big. It really has democratised the price of gaming. Consumers can now vote with their wallet.”
“If they like it, they can spend on it. If they don’t like it, us developers didn’t do a good enough job making the game.”