'The shift to free-to-play is real and happening'

Schappert: Free-to-play the future of the game industry

The future of the industry lies in free-to-play, says former EA COO and Shiver founder John Schappert.

Speaking to Developin a newly published interview, Schappert said while there had been lots of negative news in generate around the traditional console game industry, the F2P sector was thriving for all kinds of developers.

He said small teams of developers had as much chance of being a success in the mobile free-to-play space as the publishing giants, who he felt so far had only dipped their toes into the sector.

Shappert was keen to point out it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the console industry, a sector he was still fond it, but said it could be a few years before free-to-play takes fully reaches consoles, as so far only a few test cases had been released on the Wii U, PS3 and Xbox 360.

"I think the shift to free-to-play is real and happening," he said.

"I’m a big supporter of the industry and I’ve been in it for a long time, and it’s difficult when you watch month after month of negative reports, sales going down, retail shrinking. Yes, there’s a little bit of pickup here and there with some digital goods but by and large the last couple of years have not been that positive for the traditional console gaming industry.

"Meanwhile what you see happening is called the free-to-play industry where you’ve got new games that have cropped out that are full y digitally distributed not by any of the big players. You’ve got the mobile titles, smartphone and tablet titles popping up. Again, for the most part, not by the big players, and they’re doing incredibly well.”

He adds: “I do think it’s not hard to predict where the future of the industry is and I think that’s absolutely the future of the industry.”

Despite his history at publishing giants EA and Zynga, Schappert said he now believes it can be an advantage to have a small team in the current industry landscape.

He said unlike in the past when developers and publishers needed teams of hundreds to work on a console game, teams of ten to 20 developers could now create a successful title on more accessible platforms.

“I think it is, absolutely it is. The smaller the team the easier it is to manage,” he said.

“At some point you need to have enough scale so you can create the wider experience and the highest quality experience. But you know, you can do that with teams in the tens of people rather than the hundreds of people these days. In fact you can do it with a sub-ten team."

For more on Schappert’s new studio Shiver Entertainment and what the future holds for the game industry, you can read our full interview here.

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