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Crytek: Premium pricing and DLC is "milking customers to death"

Cevat Yerli explains the company's ongoing transition into an entirely free-to-play studio

Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli is steering the company towards the development of free-to-play online games over concerns that the industry's current retail model is "milking" consumers.

Speaking to Videogamer at E3, Yerli explained that Crytek will be an exclusively free-to-play studio as soon as it has honoured its existing contracts.

"If you look at what kind of games are done in the packaged goods market, with DLCs and premium services and whatnot, it's literally milking the customers to death," he said.

"As we were developing console games we knew, very clearly, that the future is online and free-to-play. Right now we are in the transitional phase of our company, transitioning from packaged goods games into an entirely free-to-play experience."

In future, all of Crytek's games, projects and technologies will be built around free-to-play and supported by its social platform GFACE. However, Yerli stressed that the new business model would not alter Crytek's games in any way.

"As is evident in Warface, our approach is to ensure the best quality, console game quality. That implies budgets of between $10m to $30m - so no compromise there - but at the price-point of $0 entry. I think this is a new breed of games that has to happen to change the landscape, and be the most user-friendly business model."

Crytek's first free-to-play game, Warface, is in development at its Kiev studio. It will be released in Western markets some time this year.

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Latest comments (16)

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game4 years ago
So no Timesplitters 4 then:(
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It would be interesting to see how a F2P crisis type game Model could work. I imagine one day when everything is online and connected only, there are some alternative fail safes should a power grid get disrupted eg. CME
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters4 years ago
Why not both? Play it free and pay by microtransactions if you want, or give the player the option right at the start to hand over the money they normally would have for a console game and unlock everything and have all mention of money, buying, in game stores vanish and never seen by that player?
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Show all comments (16)
James Prendergast Research Chemist 4 years ago
@Dave. I think that's my preferred solution - giving the customer the choice.

However, implementing a fixed price or an effective purchase structure within a game's balance and model are two very difficult things to reconcile and that's probably why it's not really done. Especially when microtransaction purchases, if used indefinitely, will cost more than the base game anyway.
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Anthony Gowland Consulting F2P Game Designer, Ant Workshop4 years ago
Timesplitters could be an amazing f2p game. The wide range of outlandish characters, weapons, modifiers etc. seems brilliantly suited to cosmetic monetisation.

Single player levels that are more standalone (as TS1 & 2) than an arcing storyline (TS:FP) would work nicely as well.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game4 years ago
"Single player levels that are more standalone (as TS1 & 2) than an arcing storyline (TS:FP) would work nicely as well."

But if you are charging, that is episodic rather than F2P
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Anthony Gowland Consulting F2P Game Designer, Ant Workshop4 years ago
Semantics, really. The majority of the game would be f2p multiplayer (always TS' strongest aspect) and the optional single player missions would be there as a bonus if players wanted to buy in to them.
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I think the monetization for a Free to Prey vs traditional one hefty entry fee model determines how your gameplay/unlocking of in game assets differ
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Ethan Abramson Lead 3D Artist, Powerhead Games4 years ago
"it's literally milking the customers to death"

Really, literally? That's a disturbing thought.
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Kevin Patterson musician 4 years ago
I wouldnt say every game is milking us, but shooters with map packs most certainly are. I don't feel Bethesda is milking DLC, as they offer new experiences in their DLC. Games like COD where someone has to pay $15 for a map pack just to stay current with everyone else is milking.

I think free to play is a great option but I don't think going there completely is a wise idea.
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Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd4 years ago
Don't be fooled into believing buying habits will continue. The current behavioural response to f2p and dlc tends to result in more money being spent than gamers would have been willing to spend at full price. This we already know from general consumer buying habits. But I believe a reaction to this trend is inevitable, people will begin to monitor their spending habits more closely and adjust their behaviour according to what they consider the overall value of their experience is worth.

According to the Hype Cycle, we should soon be peaking the period of Inflated Expectations, which is followed by a nose dive of activity to a stage of disillusionment and then a much more natural rise according to the actual value.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 8th June 2012 7:00pm

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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises4 years ago
Not only is DLC and premium pricing milking me to death, but my nipples are REALLY sore!!
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Patrick Heyer Story Contributor 4 years ago
Cute.. Just cute ;)
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 4 years ago
@ Craig Page:

Don't worry, I hear that they have a great recipe for a gamer tears cocktail in the works!
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 4 years ago
I just know if Timesplitters is free to play, I wont play it. Im not into free to play, simply because I dont like my progress in a game or features available to depend on my credit card and also having the money available every single time a new feature is available. Just give me a full game dammit! Dont mind paying for it as long as its good.
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Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd4 years ago
I wonder what would happen if f2p had a cap? so that once you've paid 34.99 you don't have to pay any more for access.
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