The video game industry is ever changing in a variety of ways, whether it’s through the technology that powers the games, how gamers play them, and how they’re offered to us. Over the last two years we’ve seen the free-to-play business model pick up more steam, even so much now that PS3 and Xbox 360 games have gone the F2P route. We haven’t seen the F2P model exactly become the norm across a wide array of publishers and developers, but Crytek is embracing the model with open arms based on recent comments made by CEO Cevat Yerli.
Crytek may be busy making games such as Crysis 3 right now, but the company has been dabbling in the F2P space with the PC based project Warface. It may seem a bit uninspired as its modern warfare shooter #2608, but Warface is a big deal for Crytek as a company moving forward. Speaking to Eurogamer, Yerli reiterated that once Crytek wraps up its existing projects (Crysis 3, Homefront 2, and the oft delayed Ryse); the company will go all in with the F2P model for all its projects.
It may be way too early to make assumptions as to what this will mean for the future of Crytek, but it seems as if “traditional” single-player experiences such as those found in Crysis may be a thing of the past. On the topic of what gamers and the industry may expect from Crytek in the future Yerli said, “We will do a single-player esque experience. But it will be for you and your friends together. Single player with two players! Story-rich experiences for at least two people. The premise I can say clearly is that free-to-play is going to be part of any business model we have going forward."
I don’t know if it’s too early for us to jump the gun, but based on Yerli’s comments I think it’s safe to say that Crysis 4 may be a bit unfamiliar whenever it eventually comes out. With a game such as Crysis it may be easy to do a F2P spin-off, but if Yerli is adamant about altering the core single-player experience into something more than one player can enjoy, then who knows what the final result could be.
We’ve already seen some of the big publishing companies try F2P projects such as EA and Activision, but seeing as how Crytek is a major developer it’ll be interesting to see what, if any, impact this has on the next-generation consoles. Sony has welcomed the F2P model with open arms already on the PS3, but Microsoft has remained more apprehensive about such a thing given the extremely closed model of Xbox Live. Perhaps the floodgates will open once the next-gen kicks around since publishers, developers, and console manufacturers may be eager to merely make a profit and not see continued financial declines.
I applaud Crytek for doing something different, but I just hope this doesn’t come back to bite them in the ass. Producing F2P games powered by CryEngine 3 is more impressive than seeing a simple flash F2P game, but I think the company needs to tread carefully – not only to keep their fanbase happy but not go into things with the wrong mindset of making everything multiplayer centric while having countless micro-transaction opportunities. However, if such a model pans out for Crytek and allows the company’s UK firm to finally make Timesplitters 4 then I’ll be there day 1.