Will free-to-play console games lead the next generation?

We’re days away from learning more about how the next generation of consoles will take shape – and developers predict free-to-play games will be at the heart of it.

The games industry has embraced the business model in the past few years, with publishing giants like EA and Ubisoft investing heavily in F2P titles.

And David Reid, monetisation manager at EVE Online and Dust 514 studio CCP, predicts that free-to-play games will be the dominant force by the end of the next console cycle.

It’s hard to imagine the free-to-play transition slowing down any time soon – the model works so well for gamers,” Reid told MCV.

As we steer towards the next generation of consoles, I’d expect to see a much larger array of triple-A titles available in the free-to-play model.

What is common now on the PC, tablet and smartphone is likely to become the primary way of monetising console games by the end of this next generation.”

Dust 514 is a free-to-play shooter that interacts with popular MMO Eve Online.

Crysis developer Crytek is also shifting its focus towards F2P FPS games such as Warface. While the studio agrees that free-to-play will remain popular among publishers, it believes that the next Xbox and PlayStation will explore multiple business models, in addition to standard retail game sales.

The more methods offered by a platform, the more attractive the platform will be,” said Crytek monetisation manager Phillipe Stegmann. Because of this, I predict that all current monetisation options will be supported by all platforms.”

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