On last week's mailbox we retreaded old ground with an e-mail about the Mass Effect 3 ending and BioWare's efforts to clear up confusion with the Extended Cut DLC.
This week we've got Stuart Shelley, who's worried about the free-to-play future.
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I've been seeing more and more comments from developers and publishers recently saying that in the future all games will follow the free-to-play (FTP) model. This concerns me greatly.
Whilst I get the reasons why FTP appeals to them (getting the product into more gamers' hands and milking money out of them with micro transactions), it holds no appeal to me as a long-time gamer. I can just about stomach the amount I have to pay out for DLC for my favourite games but the idea that someone can gain a massive advantage over me just by paying more really doesn't sit well with me.
And where do the micro transactions end? They seem to be focused on milking as much money as possible over making quality games.
Nintendo had that attitude with the Wii and although the money flowed at first, it soon slowed right down and now they're having to play catch up with the gamers they let down. I'm not saying that FTP isn't viable, but the notion that every game will be FTP is a very depressing one.
XBW: Stuart, we don't think games will all be free-to-play in the future. Some will be, like Crytek's next project, but others will be traditional games as we now know them. Others will be services, others XBLA style indie games, and some will be home made. The free to play model isn't all about gouging players − look at Team Fortress2. It's a great game regardless of whether you pay or not, but because it's got such a huge user base, Valve need relatively few micro-transactions to recover their development costs. That's the beauty of FTP.
CVG says: Long-time gamers are, expectedly, quite concerned about the forecasted free-to-play revolution, in particular the idea of microtransactions, pay-to-win schemes and ownership issues proving to be the most contentious. We discussed these issues extensively with Eugene Evans, general manger of BioWare Mythic, which is working on a free-to-play reboot of Ultima. Read our BioWare Mythic versus CVG on free-to-play feature to see what he had to say.