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back to article Crytek says future is free-to-play

Crytek has revealed plans to leave traditional retail behind, with the developer set to go all out free-to-play for future games releases. “We are in the transitional phase of our company... from packaged goods games into an entirely free-to-play experience," said Crytek boss Cevat Yerli in an interview with Videogamer. "All …

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SWOTR...

Bioware also needs to address the fact that everyone wants to play on the Empire side (I saw something somewhere that suggested something like a 4-or-5 to 1 imbalance)...

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jai
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Re: SWOTR...

if they'd just bring it out for OS X then they'd get at least one more subscription right here

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Re: SWOTR...

I got dragged into it and made a Republic and Empire character, I was on a "Heavy" population server and I was on of 3 Republic characters with over 200 Empire on at the same time. Needless to say I never subbed and I got the game for free, game lasted about 30 minutes.

Crap as well. Not an MMO person.

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Re: SWOTR...

> if they'd just bring it out for OS X then they'd get at least one more subscription right here

Yeah that's what I thought until I played it.

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Re: SWOTR...

"if they'd just bring it out for OS X then they'd get at least one more subscription right here"

Two words " Boot Camp"..... Isn't that what Mac users usually say.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: SWOTR...

And I'm not putting anyone down, but Mac/iOS users tend to buy things and be legal especially on iOS.

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Boffin

Re: SWOTR...

Boot Camp? What ever happened to Crossovers and other Wine distillations?

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Anonymous Coward

Explanation needed?

So instead of a business model in which most users pay for the game but some unlawfully play it for free, they are to pursue a business model where most users play the game for free, but some pay money for some extra items?

...OK...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Explanation needed?

You'd be suprised to find out how many people will either a: live with ads to play a game for free, or b: pay far more than the box price of a game to get nice extras for their characters.

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Re: Explanation needed?

Having played some of the quite astonishing rip-offs to be found in the free-to-play market, which are technically free to play - unless you want to actually have a competitive chance, or more than 10% of the game content - that system can frankly sod off. To pay for all the actual content in a FTP game generally costs more than a retail game would, or you can spend an amount of time equal to several lifetimes trying to unlock it all for free.

Was barely interested in Crytek's stuff before, less after they called people buying 2nd hand games thieves, and now not at all. Good job, guys.

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Unhappy

Re: Explanation needed?

agreed.

One thing that pisses me off though is when you get something that is supposedly free to play and then get 10 minutes in and find you need to pay to continue.

Either be a> Free to play and make money off vanity items or b> just charge a reasonable price for the game.

Any company that releases a game, charges for it and then charges for major components in game gets that company banned for life.

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Re: Explanation needed?

Sad but true. I actually quit playing an online game after I checked my paypal account. I'd been buying small bonus packs, only something like £3 each so I didn't really think anything of it. I'd wound up spending over £100 on the game without even realising it. That's where these games catch you out.

There are those who get addicted and spend all their money without realising it,

There are those who get addicted and just have more money than sense

and then there are those who will play for free with some kind of advert support.

On the game I played, there was one person who, so far as we worked out based on how many events he was in that cost to enter, must have spent in excess of £5000 on the game, and he wasn't the only one. That was teh point I quit, the only way I could keep up with people like that was to pump in more money, and I wasn't willing to do that after I realised how much I'd sunk in already.

I just hope they're careful with child locks on the game, because I can see plenty of kids 'borrowing' their parents credit card and not thinking about how much they'd been wasting.

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@Greg

"Was barely interested in Crytek's stuff before"

So from their point of view you weren't a likely source of income anyway . . .

I've got no idea if they are right about this being the model to go for but one can't imagine it would be a decision taken lightly.

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Re: Explanation needed?

When did they call such people "thieves", exactly?

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Re: Explanation needed?

There is no free to play - someone pays or they go bust.

I read the 80:20 rule typically applies with 80% of the paying done by 20% of the players.

I sometimes wonder if the model is based on exploiting personality weaknesses needing the 80% of non-paying plebs so the payers have someone to show off and feel superior to.

Subscription only works for the biggest and best. You only need one 'all you can eat' deal so the one with the best food will dominate the market.

Having to pay something up front is a huge barrier to entry.

So free to start and no subscription is the way to go, but, all the (non) free to play games end up sucking, with measures to make the game a pain in the arse without paying or providing pay-to-win features.

What I can't understand is why pay-as-you-go (with free 'minutes' so it is free to start) isn't much tried or why it wouldn't work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Explanation needed?

tbh I'm something of a sucker for this, a game I play a lot in spurts (Rusty Hearts) I have spent far more then I spend on most games (Normally about £15 if we average out budget/premium and deals, ergo I'll buy a total war or a new Paradox title in the Hearts of Iron or Europa Univesalis range at premium, but far cry 2 at £5 deal day), I've probably spent about £40 on Rusty Hearts, and for nothing more than wanting to buy pretty clothes for my characters, or the occasional experience buff when I have a weekend free where I am doing absolutely nothing, and I'm like "I'm going to play rusty hearts till I go to work on Monday."

Though in Rusty Hearts you don't need to pay for anything at all as it's just bonus character models (same moves as the standard models) clothes and a few items that make life easier.

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Anonymous Coward

AAAggghhhh!

Freemium gaming!

that is all!

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Re: AAAggghhhh!

I don't really have a problem with it - if I like the game enough I don't mind buying in, if it doesn't grab me then on to the next one instead of feeling obliged to stick with something I've paid for but am not really enjoying.

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Coat

Merchandising!

Where the real money from the movie is made!

Spaceballs the T-shirt!

Spaceballs the Colouring Book!

Spaceballs the Lunchbox!

Spaceballs the Breakfast Cereal!

Spaceballs the Flame Thrower!

(The kids love that one.)

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Go

Re: Merchandising!

You forgot the cuddly toy!

*pulls string* "May da schwartz be with you"

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Re: Merchandising!

Dammit! Given a list of n items. People will only remember n-1. Which is why I always put an elephant at the end of my shopping list.

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Re: Merchandising!

Which is fine until the person running said errand for you comes back with an elephant but no bog roll.

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Trollface

If it's not worth anything

Then I can't be bothered to download it...

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g e
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Holmes

Secondhand market - boohoo

It's legal. Tough.

As oft-mentioned, you don't see BMW sobbing like a girl because of Autotrader.co.uk

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Happy

Re: Secondhand market - boohoo

If they're so uptight about the 2nd hand market, they could have bought GAME ..

Personally, the games I buy are a couple of years old and consequently dirt cheap to buy new. Not so much having a cunning plan as having really ancient hardware.

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JDX
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Re: Secondhand market - boohoo

What an asinine comparison. And I support 2nd hand games.

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I thought they'd already scuppered the second-hand market with the likes of Steam, etc, whereby once you've registered the license key, that's it locked to you...

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Steam could be a subversive set of shits and allow retailers to build code deactivation into their EPOS units. Scan the barcode of the game the spotty oik is selling you, and it automatically removes it from his Steam account! Owned.

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Headmaster

barcodes don't have that much detail. its a country code, manufacturer code and product code. they could do it but that would deactivate every single copy (they'd still probably consider it!)

if publishers are getting so pissy about second hand game sales etc they really need to grow up. i bought loads of second hand books when i was a starving student with zero of that money going to authors or publishers (but most to oxfam's amazon account). now i am in full time work i buy my favorite authors books the second they come out (often in expensive hard backs).

same goes for games. people don't buy games second hand to get one over on the publishers/creators. they buy them because they are broke. same example i used to buy newish titles when they drop down to £20 and under. now i buy on release day (admittly i'm not a crytek customer) and if you have a super special edition of your game series that i like (i.e forza, deus ex etc) i will buy that handing your company even more cash. i also buy titles i've been on the fence about when they are on steam sale.

treat us with respect and we will treat you the same publishers.

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Stop

Second hand steam

Wow, what nonsense. There are at least two ways steam accounts are traded:

There is a healthy market in steam accounts - where you trade an identity. Some people even put each game purchase on a different steam account/email address in order to simplify this.

Secondly, Steam have added an entire gifting system. You can trade games or items from within games with anyone with a steam account. It could not be easier to trade games on Steam.

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I think the success of the F2P model really shows how little we all understand about our buying habits and the way we value what we buy. Our intellectual notion of "value for money" is royally broken.

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success of the F2P

Depends how you define success.

A game full of churning players pissed off by the game because the didn't pay enough or pissed off because they paid too much might provide sufficient funding for the developers, but, I wouldn't call it a success.

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For example

Battlefield free-2-play is a good example of this. The core game is excellent and a great co-op experience. Yes you can buy addons and whatnot if you like but if you don't you can still have as much fun as the people that do. OK so you have to wait longer to own the serious guns but you can get them by levelling up.

*note: that I have twice purchased items as I am impatient

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Meh

Not Good, well maybe...?

I don't dislike free to play in principle, sometimes it works. I can see 3 basic models and like each one to a different level

i) 'Shareware' - Download game, get maybe a couple of levels, if you like it you buy the game. I'm fine with this, as long as I trust the account provider to stay in business (Apple, Steam etc.) then this is just like retail with try before you buy

ii) Game expansions - Some items are hard or impossible to get (extra maps, better weapons, character costumes...). If you buy them they stay in the game for ever (again if your account manager stays in business). This sort of 'DLC' is fine with me, I can choose to earn or buy and as I put a value on my time I'll often buy if it makes the game better.

iii) Spend real currency in the game - This is the bad one for me. There is no replay value, and it is a bottomless pit. If I buy that shiney virtual currency, then spend it I can't replay the game and the developer is incented to spend time on making the game as dull and boring as possible to force you to buy currency. This is a bad model for games, and these are the in game purchase I just never make.

I'll go for (i) or (ii), they seem like reasonable business models to me. (iii) just isn't for me, I'll go back to spending money in the pub as I never get that back either but gaming is supposedly my cheap night in.

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Re: Not Good, well maybe...?

Yup, sums it up pretty well for me too.

The worst example of (iii) I've come across is Treasures of Montezumela Blitz on the Vita (Bejewelled Blitz-alilke) - 5 minutes of gameplay, then pay 79p for another 5 minutes or wait for 15. Needless to say that got deleted straight away...

I still don't see what the problem is with the old fashioned system of "Make Good Game->Sell Game->Profit!!"

Oh yeah, the publishers can rip us off in many more creative ways if they can hide the costs and they can kill the second hand market at the same time. Treat your customer like the enemy, that'll work...

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Re: Not Good, well maybe...?

"I still don't see what the problem is with the old fashioned system of "Make Good Game->Sell Game->Profit!!""

I think they struggle with the first part, so are trying to find a way how to skip it and go straight to steps 2 and 3.

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Re: Not Good, well maybe...?

TOM Blitz isn't that bad once you figure out that you can just forward your system clock to get free lives.

The recent bugs in the 1.50 update that gave out hundreds of lives and tens of thousands of crystals for free because it thought you'd been away for months (even though you only played the day before) helped a lot too.

I'm almost level 80, I've been at position 5 on the global leaderboard and I haven't spent a penny on the game.

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Devil

Sick of online console games anyway.

Sick of how they've moved from balancing players to give you a good all-round game at your level to ensuring a spread range of experiences in each match so beginners get massacred and 'hazed' by the show-off bullies. Then you either have to (a) slog through it all until you reach that level of arseholism, (b) buy your way up the ladder with cash-for-unlocks or (c) give up in disgust and go and play something else. At least if it's free up front option (c) won't feel so bad in future.

At least the designers of some PC subscription-based games seem to actually spend some time thinking about delivering a worthwhile player experience.

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Late isn't it.

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2012/06/08/e3-all-future-crytek-games-to-be-free-to-pl/1

Over a week late Register, it's getting worse and worse, Bit-Tech aren't even ahead of the curve on gaming news either, very poor journalism.

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If this means they stop loading down games with DRM I'm all for it, in theory at least. I realize the free-to-play model is subject to abuses, but it can be done right too. For instance, I've been playing a quirky online RPG called Kingdom of Loathing, where you can "donate" $10 to get some kind of cool item, a different one each month. But the game is perfectly enjoyable without such items, and if you want one that bad, it's also possible to buy one off another player who donated with virtual money earned in the game. That game does have the advantage that is isn't directly competitive though, it would no doubt be harder to keep things fair in competitive game that used similar system.

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"If this means they stop loading down games with DRM..."

Sadly it likely means more DRM, not less.

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Re: "If this means they stop loading down games with DRM..."

Worse still when they no longer make money from it they will close it down which may mean you lose the game all together (Some retail MMO's have gone and I now have useless discs that I can't use as the backend servers weren't public for people to run their own)

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Hopefully not a subscription or buy add ons weapons etc

If they start a subscription or in game buying like buy your weapon and stuff I'm done playing video games if it takes that turn! I don't mind buying a new $40-$50 game, but I won't be in EverQuest mode, sorry!

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Stu
Facepalm

Another trick...

...to earn cash is to have places in games that are formidably difficult to pass without shelling out real money, not so you can afford the gear needed to defeat the 'stage', but just so it becomes doable at all!

Don't do that Crytek, it makes me want to Cry-tek. (bad'm tsh).

.

There is a game (Amongst thousands of others) on the iPad that I'm pretty sure does this very thing right at the last level of the game, called Hunters 2.

You can bash away at the 'end of game baddie' with a variety of weapons till he gets down to a point, then every hit you make only causes a miniscule amount of damage no matter what you use. I would bet a weeks wages you have to purchase some credits, then he becomes beatable.

So whilst all this pay-per-play stuff on the surface all seems a great idea, most of the ideas companies have come up with to rake in cash actually sucks donkey balls.

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FAIL

Nothing is free. ***NOTHING***

I HATE when stupid marketing / PR are bending words to the extent of making them totally irrelevant and false.

Free product means 100% of the product is 100% free or it's not free. If ANY conditions is required in order access what ever is supposed to be free, or only part on the product is available, then it's not actually free. Any kind of constrain is a form direct or indirect payment. "Buy 3 hot-dog and get 1 free" is a false statement because there's a condition to get the 4th hot-dog, therefor it's no longer free. A fair statement would be "buy 4 hot-dog and get a 25% rebate on your invoice. Another acceptable form would be "Get 4 hot-dog for the price of 3". An actual free hot-dog is: I show up, pickup a hot-dog, eat it and no questions ask. That's free. And even then, I could argue that it took me some gas in the car to get to the restaurant offering the free hot-dog, and that could be enough to conclude that in the end, the hot-dog did cost me something.

Now, consider this statement by Crytek:

"Migration from packaged goods games into an entirely free-to-play experience,"

The word "entirely" in that context is supposed to mean "100% of the game". That's not true. Some part of the game (level, characters, accessories, special powers etc...) must be paid for.

The use of the word ''free'' here is an abomination. First I need an Internet connection, which I must pay in order to access the game. I didn't have this expense condition to meet with "packaged goods games". Since the game is heavily restricted, what I have access too is not the actual game but a castrated version of it.

The "pay as you upgrade" model is also much more expensive and insidious for the player compared to the old "packaged goods games". instead of a 40-50 or 60$ fix price, you end up spending 2-3 time that amount to unlock everything without never really realizing it.

What's free is the limited teaser sample that make you hit a wall after 10 minutes of the so called 'free-to play experience" when you must purchase something in other to progresses in the game. The same pattern is used by pusher that want you hook on some cheap drugs. I'll give you this sample for free, then I have you to pay me for life. That model in the computer game market will never work.

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Re: Nothing is free. ***NOTHING***

"That model in the computer game market will never work."

"MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUM, can I have 50p?"

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No thanks

Free 2 Play games generally feel cheap or tacky. Even TF2 is ruined by the whole hat thing. Yes you don't need to buy the stuff which is fine but so many people are obsessed with it that you now get harassed by people wanting to trade crap and someone pays far too much for their stupid hats so of course they'll wear them and the whole atmosphere of the game is a bit tainted now.

I can assure them I won't have anything to do with the f2p games. I'm sure that means nothing to them but I think it's a bad move.

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Re: No thanks

Personally, I felt TF2 was ruined when they started adding 'optional' guns if you did X, Y, Z. It meant that people who spent their lives playing the game had an advantage other than skill/practice over people who only play it infrequently.

That and they totally fucked up by making the 'weaker' original classes like pyro much too powerful to appeal to noobs, and massively reduced the efficiency of the soldier class.

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