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Crysis, Dust 514 devs think free-to-play games 'could make PlayStation No.1 again'

"Aggressive" Sony "should be applauded" for embracing different business models

Sony's investment in free-to-play console games could be key to the PlayStation maker becoming the dominant player in the home console market once again.

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That's according to Cevat Yerli, the boss of Crysis studio Crytek, and David Reid, marketing boss at Dust 514 studio CCP.

Sony recently launched a free version of SingStar for PS3, with users required to pay for individual tracks, while PS3 exclusive Dust 514 will also be free-to-play with a microtransactions model.

Yerli told MCV: "Sony making that game is a great step forward, and they should be applauded. If Sony embraces free-to-play as a major way for PlayStation, that could be the key console."

Reid also said: "It's natural that the console challenger is going to be more ambitious and take more risks than the leader. Last generation I was at Xbox and we were having our arses handed to us. And Xbox was the one that was trying to do crazy things with Xbox Live and so on.

"Five years later, things have changed and now Sony is being more aggressive. It is a cyclical business and it feels like we're coming around to another big turn again."

It's certainly true that Sony was quicker than Microsoft to embrace the free-to-play model on consoles, having released the likes of Free Realms and DC Universe Online on PS3 last year.

John Smedley, CEO of Sony Online Entertainment, which developed both titles, said in July: "Free-to-play on PS3 is huge. In fact, right now, it's us with DCUO and Free Realms and our friends at CCP with Dust 514 that are going to prove that this market really works."

In August Microsoft detailed its plans for free-to-play games on Xbox 360, beginning with October's release of Happy Wars.

Last month Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez said full price retail titles can learn from free-to-play models, and that he expects the next generation of consoles to "offer more and more item-based content".

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