Since the release of the first CryEngine, developer Crytek has been at the forefront of current and next generation graphics technology. In an interview with VG247, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli said he believes the future of gaming will be social and Crytek has bet on that future with its GFACE platform.
"I think one of the key words for the next generation gaming will be 'social'. My perspective of next generation gaming is that playing with friends, and playing on multiple devices and having complimentary experiences with them, will be a big part of the process," Yerli told VG247.
"I think, generally, people are playing shorter cycles in games, and session-based games are going to be key. I think, ultimately, the word 'online' will be extended to embrace 'social' as well."
Crytek began building its first free-to-play game years ago and alongside the game the developer created its GFACE platform to monetize free-to-play titles.
"We decided to develop Warface about six years ago and we created a studio to build the game. There was a steep learning curve because there is a vast difference between making a retail-based game and a free-to-play game service. Learning about that and digesting that, and thinking what Warface could be as a truly social FPS was a major challenge over the last few years. Another challenge was that there was no home for a game like Warface," said Yerli.
"So when it was in development we were thinking about where we could launch the game. Since there was no home we built one in the form of GFACE. GFACE reflects the goals of a core social game and allows players to experience a next generation social platform for core games - FPSs, RPGs, or any other genre, but with the association of the social world along with it. Warface will show how that works when it launches within GFACE."
Yerli said that Crytek is looking to further change the perception of free-to-play games, which are generally not seen as AAA experiences. Warface is the first step in that change.
"In the past, free-to-play has been perceived as cheap games with low production values. For us, it has always been about an opportunity to transform and change the industry status quo, and we want to develop the most user friendly business model and make no compromise on the quality either," he said.
"So, with Warface, we'll launch what we call a AAA for free experience, which is high quality gaming for free. And we think that the learning curve to achieve that as a games service, having something that doesn't compromise on quality but is free to play, has been quite a steep one. Also, at the same time, as I mentioned before, there's a social aspect of it - so it not only has to be quality and free-to-play, but social as well."
Finally, when it comes to the current rise in cloud gaming, Yerli believes that ubiquitous cloud gaming is still many years off.
"I think true cloud gaming with a complete streaming experience will become possible once we have tripled our available bandwidths at home. By that I mean, if you can get a solid 20-40MB connection then you're going to get a real connection of 3MB. That is not available yet in the US or the majority of Europe, so I think it's going to take another 3-4 years," he explained.
"So maybe in around 2014-2016 I believe cloud gaming can become 'true', but it will always be under pressure from local-based client games, since all the computation power on the client side also increases."
Warface is already live in Russia and Crytek has partnered with Trion Worlds to bring the game to other regions.