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Bizarrely enough, this year we've seen several popular AAA shooters being transformed into free-to-play options.
Titanfall is the next on the list (via VG247) with EA having partnered with Nexon to create a special free-to-play version of the shooter to appeal to the Asian market. If you think that sounds a little bizarre, it totally is. But with the lucrative free-to-play market growing in every direction, as far as mobile gaming is concerned, it makes sense to see these titles being adapted.
There aren't any specific details fluttering around just yet, but Nexon president and CEO Owen Mahoney is "looking forward" to working with Respawn and EA and "leveraging Nexon's free-to-play expertise to deliver a new and engaging online game based on Titanfall to the Asian market," when speaking to IGN.
Earlier this year Microsoft partnered with Saber Interactive and Innova Systems to create a free-to-play edition of another fan favorite: Halo. Halo Online was created only for Russian players, opening up as a closed beta for those in the region back in March of this year. The game itself was built specifically to play on the PC, and there were no plans to bring it to the Xbox One.
Halo Online featured no campaign mode and ran on a modified version of the Halo 3 engine so even folks with lower-end PCs could get in on the fun. It did, however, introduce new lore to the series, taking place on UNSC space installation Anvil. Spartan-IV soldiers trained there together to sharpen their skills.
It looks like this could become something of a trend going forward, and in the next few years it may not even be out of the realm of possibility to see familiar franchises downsizing to mobile as the attention spans of the general public shrink to nothingness and developers continue to find ways to monetize. Personally, I think it'd be a fantastic idea to offer free-to-play versions of franchises that fans are already buying into, such as Call of Duty or Battlefield, alongside the real games as well.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to this shift, however, would be the fans himself, who could sincerely believe that offering alternatives to the classic gaming model would be taking way from the originals. Free-to-play gaming, however, has changed so much since its inception that it could support a model that's viable for everyone. It'll be interested to see how this landscape changes in the years to come, and Titanfall could be an important turning point.