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The five biggest problems with free-to-play gaming

Sort out these issues and the model would be far more popular among the core

Earlier this week Cevat Yerli, CEO of Crytek, said he thinks triple-A experiences on par with the studio's Crysis games can accommodate the free-to-play business model - even on consoles.

Although Yerli points out that the tug-of-war battle between digital and traditional boxed retail needs to be settled first, he indicated he's still confident F2P will thrive on next-generation gaming platforms, be they traditional consoles or new tablet devices.

Tencent, a Hong Kong based mobile and social games giant, also acquired a 'minority stake' in Epic Games. Although the Gears of War studio has said it will continue to operate independently, the implications of one of the industry's strongest triple A game developers laying deeper foundations in the social gaming and free-to-play space shouldn't be dismissed.

Comments made by Epic's Tim Sweeney agreed that free-to-play "is going to be the way that almost all games will be distributed worldwide".

"All these western developers spending 30 million to develop these games for dedicated consoles - all of these companies are going to be invading the Asian markets within the next five years or so and they'll be free to play, worldwide, global products. ... The only way to survive is to go global," he said.

Decision makers are no doubt taking note of the whirlwind successes of games such as Team Fortress 2, which was adapted to accommodate the F2P model and has developed a thriving community of players that regularly exchange real money for virtual items.

Then there's the tremendous success of MOBA title League of Legends, which recently took over World of Warcraft in monthly active players and headlines high-stakes competitive gaming tournaments alongside StarCraft 2.

The free-to-play revolution is inevitable and the impending changing of the tide is as much exciting as it is unnerving. There are pervading concerns with free-to-play gaming that it would be remiss to ignore. In order to make free-to-play appealing to the core games audience (which, by the way, has an ARPU that the likes of Zynga could only dream about), then CVG believes the model must overcome these hurdles..

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