With the success of the free to play business model on PC, it’s not so surprising to see console developers looking at it with great interest, and the first examples are already out in the wild. The latest example is Killer Instinct, that is about to launch (and actually already launched in Europe) together with the Xbox One.
Speaking with the Italian website Multiplayer.it Head of Microsoft Game Studios Phil Spencer explained the philosophy behind the choice of the business model and it’s possible applications.
I think that it’s an experiment, and by observing it we’ll be able to gauge it. As a first party, we like to try new things. After all, giving a character for free letting the player choose what he wants to buy is a very interesting strategy and we’re curious to see how it’ll develop.
I have to say that it seems a particularly suitable solutions for fighting games, in which players normally use only two or three fighters and neglect all the others. Project Spark has a similar model. At first we distribute the framework, then we sell the packages with additional materials.
These business models offer advantages even on the development point of view. Game developers don’t need to place it in rigid market segments, but they can be creative and try to involve the players in different ways.
We’ll have to see if the free to play model will become a staple of the next generation of consoles. Personally, I’m not so sure I like the idea, but I’m positive many will disagree with me. At the very least Phil Spencer does.