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Söderlund questions free-to-play console future

Christopher Dring
Söderlund questions free-to-play console future

The launch of Xbox One and PS4 is awash with free games. Or rather, freemium games. Glorified demos that if players want full access to, they’ll have to pay.

Free-to-play has become the dominant force in mobile, almost entirely replacing the premium model. But EA Studios boss Patrick Söderlund is not convinced freemium will become so prevalent on next-gen.

“Only 18 months ago, most mobile games were full game downloads. Now I’d say 90 per cent are freemium,” he told MCV. “That change happened very quickly. Whether that will happen on the consoles I don’t know.

"I still think the console market is different to the mobile market. Mobile games are much cheaper. It’s like film. YouTube is free, but to see Gravity at the cinema, it will cost you money. One does not remove the other one.

“Will console games be free-to-play going forward? There will be some games that will be free-to-play but I also think that they will be different in nature to full games. I think a lot of people prefer to pay for the full game and get access to everything. And I wouldn’t use the word free-to-play - they are not free.

“I think all these business models will co-exist. Some prefer to pay $60 and get the full experience. Sometimes when I play freemium games on mobile I feel ‘these guys just want more money.’ When I pay $60 for Battlefield, I know what I am getting. And I think there are players that prefer that. And it’s not a case of one or another, they can both exist and there may be hybrids too.”

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Tags: f2p , free-to-play , ea , consoles , soderlund , viability

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