Love it or hate it, free-to-play games are growing in number and they have amassed quite a few high profile MMORPGs such as EverQuest II, City of Heroes, Star Trek Online and quite a few others. But Namco Bandai Senior VP for Europe Olivier Comte doesnt believe that high quality can come with the free price tag.
Speaking at Cloud Gaming in Europe, Comte offered his thoughts on free-to-play gaming and the potential consequences that it could have for the industry if left to continue its expansion.
"Free-to-play games can't be high quality," said Comte rather sternly. The business model for smaller, easier titles, is making an expectation to consumers that is whittling away at triple-A development, argues the Namco Bandai executive.
True free-to-play titles if released as such at launch can cut publishers out of a tasty box sale that can help recover a hefty chunk of a games development costs. But there have been plenty of success stories of games that have done quite well without one. World of Tanks and Allods Online are just a couple of names on that list. Of course, there have been a number of less than stellar success stories as well such as Faxion Online and Mythos Europe. Nothing is without risk, as they say.
Comte does bring up one good point Would a publisher ever be willing to risk developing a game on the scale and at the cost of something like Star Wars: The Old Republic to launch as a free-to-play title? It would be a significant investment with no immediate box return at launch. So while we may continue to see Triple-A titles that have already launched and gotten a fair return on box sales convert to freemium, well have to see what the future holds for big budget free-to-play launches. But as far as "free-to-play can't be high quality" goes, there are quite a few games already on the market and available that would beg to differ.
Source: Industry Gamers