The upcoming robot mech game Hawken has been talked about rather frequently in the gaming sphere. It's being hailed as Call of Duty meets MechWarrior. Well, the Unreal Engine powered mech-shooter was on the generous receiving end of a $10 million dollar investment from the same people who put their dollar bills behind Riot Games' League of Legends.
According to Venture Beat, investment firms Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital have decided to fund Adhesive Games' upcoming shooter because they see the same potential in the game as League of Legends. Mitch Lasky, a partner at Benchmark, mentioned that...
“We were tremendously thankful to be associated with Riot, but we viewed the market as much bigger than a single title,” ... “We think that $8 billion to $10 billion will migrate away from packaged goods games and free-to-play will be a lightning rod for those dollars.”
I don't know if $10 billion will migrate away from the retail market the way he suggests, given that many market analysts continue to peg both digital and retail video games to continue to grow over the next couple of years. Although, from the perspective of FirstMark Capital and Benchmark Capital, I'd imagine that they would probably want to be at the forefront of the digital upswing as the free-to-play market continues to expand beyond Korean, China and Japan.
Hawken isn't the only AAA title launching this year, though. Red 5 Studios will also be dropping FireFall for PC, which could further help curb in some massive bucks from the core audience as a free-to-play title. Speaking of free-to-play, the investors believe that keeping the game "free" will inherently propel its success given that gamers will be able to "try before they buy", so to speak.
Rick Heitzmann, founder and managing director of FirstMark Capital further explained that...
“We are seeing the rise of the direct-to-consumer model, where all is downloadable and free-to-play,”... “You can disrupt the business with a free-to-play title. Gamers are willing to pay via virtual goods to do that. League of Legends is a fantastic title, but it is just one game and one genre that has blown up. We think it’s possible to produce very high quality games that have huge audiences that are willing to pay.”
For the most part, there are a lot of unique free-to-play titles out there right now in a variety of genres. The only scary thing about big investors getting involved with the free-to-play market is that we could eventually see all those small, unique and original games become copy-cat clones, which has been plaguing the retail games market due it being "financially safe".
We'll be able to tell just how well Adhesive Games' Hawken will do once it launches later this year under the Meteor Entertainment publishing division. You can read the entire interview by heading on over to Venture Beat or signing up for the upcoming closed beta for the game by visiting the Official Website.