Crytek's CEO Cevat Yerli spoke very openly to CVG about the future of digital gaming and in his mind retail gaming should even exist. If it were up to him all games would be free-to-play and cannibalizing the retail market like no tomorrow.
CVG's segment of Yerli's soliloquy about the retail versus free-to-play market can either be seen as a revolutionist embracing idealism or as a corporatist trying to embrace the idealism of greed-culture. If you don't quite understand the second part, I'll explain it a little further on, but for now here's what Yerli had to say about the future of free-to-play...
We see the future of consoles as free-to-play - ideally focussed on free-to-play. That's what I want to see in the future. But unfortunately not everybody shares this vision due to many other reasons.
I'm not really sure why they need to go digital. Yerli never says and judging by all the caps most internet service providers here Stateside have on cable consumers, an all digital gaming future would be composed of one huge cable bill that doesn't really benefit consumers. Having to download every game instead of playing it from disc would get extremely expensive, extremely fast, unless of course games were sold in tiny segments for microtransactions.
Yerli goes on to say...
It's an industry problem that needs to be overcome and somebody just has to say, 'I'm going to cannibalise it, I don't care, there's a risk of burning some relationships, but we're changing the world for good.'
In a perfect world, an all digital future (transfer cap rates aside) we could look to free-to-play titles as being high-quality games with optional, episodic content and non-essential accessories available in the cash shops to generate revenue. That's in a perfect world.
The problem is that free-to-play titles like FireFall, Tribes: Ascend and Vindictus are the rare quality games out there. But for every FireFall and Vindictus there is a Need for Speed World and Battlefield Play4Free, games that adopt the free-to-play model but are actually nickel and dime schemes where nearly every single aspect of the game requires a premium charge and the brunt of the game falls to pay-to-win schemes (i.e,. buying booster packs, high level weapons, vehicles or armor, etc,. etc.,)
I don't know if Crytek's Warface will be like Tribes: Ascend or Battlefield Play4Free. It's hard to tell right now if Crytek will adopt the pay-to-win factor or not, because that will ultimately determine which monetary direction Crytek will take with future free-to-play titles.
But Mr. Yerli wasn't done just yet. He had this to say to close out his comments...
I believe firmly that the next-generation of tablets are going to be close to current-generation consoles. So if the next-generation consoles don't ship very soon, the tablets are just going to run over them. That's very clear.
It's hard to take those above statements serious when the general industry market consensus is that while the mobile market is growing, it will not kill the console market anytime soon.
As for more free-to-play titles on consoles...Sony has embraced free-to-play games more than Microsoft and Nintendo, but they've been scrupulous about adding these games to their line-up, and rightfully so. Nintendo plans to embrace more microtransactions and free-to-play titles using the NFC feature for the Wii U, but let's hope they don't allow a lot of shovelware free-to-play titles to overrun the system's catalog.
Free-to-play games can definitely be a good thing, and we promote them quite a bit here at Gaming Blend, but we're dealing with enough nickel and diming right now with retail games to even think about making a full transition over to the free-to-play model. I think I speak for a lot of gamers when I say we'll take our free-to-play consumption in moderation.
You can read the entire interview over at CVG.com