Publisher changes its tune on new business model

Namco Bandai expands free-to-play effort

The upcoming Ace Combat Infinity is to be the latest of Namco Bandai’s franchises to adopt the free-to-play business model.

Last year Namco Bandai Europe’s SVP Olivier Comte said free-to-play games can’t be high quality, but a fresh statement accompanying the new announcement marked a dramatic change of tune.

“The Ace Combat franchise has evolved dramatically over the years, but never before have we been able to offer its amazing graphics and tactical action for free," said Comte.

The Ace Combat series has been around since 1992, but this is the first installment of the franchise to go free-to-play.

The PlayStation 3 title isn’t the only franchise in Namco Bandai’s catalogue to adopt the model though: Tekken Revolution launched as a PS3 free-to-play title, Ridge Race Driftopia will come to PC and PS3 later in the year, and Pac-Man has arrived on mobile devices.

While much of the company’s free-to-play strategy seems to focus on the PS3, Tank! Tank! Tank! launched on the Wii U earlier in the year.

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