Editor's Note: I don't think I'm comfortable with where this is headed.
Two key figures at Ubisoft announced during a recent investor conference call that they think the free-to-play model should expand on consoles by favoring fully priced games instead of the current focus on free or cheap downloadable games.
Ubisoft's CFO Alain Martinez said the company is planning to start releasing more of their Triple A fully priced games into the free-to-play model on consoles while also hinting the model can easily become the new dominate model for the console market in the near future.
The idea is instead of having the free-to-play model favoring actual free games or cheap downloadable games which then add in micro-transactions, the model should start off with a larger fully priced game and then add in more item-based transactions. Companies can then earn more revenues this way than with the current model or even then what the current DLC can provide.
Worldwide director of online Stéphanie Perotti praised the flexibilty of the free-to-play system and said that the company has learned a great deal about how to properly maintain the business model after the great success of The Settlers Online, which will bring in more money in four years than the rest of the series has in nine.
“The player has the capability to spend more than in a traditional model. We can control everything from the pricing to marketing as if we were an online store.”
Martinez said he believes we will see this kind of business model appear on all of the major consoles as well.
“There will be free-to-play on consoles. But in the future, with games like Watch Dogs, we could see more opportunity for $60 games to learn from the free-to-play model. The next generation will offer more and more item-based content,” Martinez. “This will benefit our games’ profitability.”
Of course the biggest benefactors would be larger gaming companies who can afford to produce and support more fully priced games than smaller companies.