One of the biggest rising stars in the gaming world, Gree, has made it clear that free-to-play "is the model that the industry is moving towards."
The ever-changing landscape of the industry has many wondering just how core gamers and casual markets are going to collide and many developers have found a path in the free-to-play business model. Mobile developer and publisher Gree believes that this avenue of approach is not only working well, but will become the standard for the market in the coming years.
"It requires a very, very different mindset and business model to conventional boxed product gaming," said Gree's UK head of EMEA developer relations David McCarthy. "The decision on whether to go free-to-play, certainly on mobile, is dead.
"There's no argument - free-to-play is the model that the industry is moving towards. If you look at the [games in the] top grossing charts the vast majority of them are free-to-play, and it's very few people who can make pay-per-download work as well for them as free-to-play in the mobile space."
"I think that's going to have consequences for the boxed product business as well. Companies like Konami and Capcom are now deriving a huge amount of revenue from these kinds of games and I think that the things that they learn in this space are going to affect the way that they make conventional games in the future as well."
Games like League of Legends and World of Tanks have made sweeping successes in the F2P model while more traditional developers like Sony Online Entertainment have seen many of its games move over to F2P away from the traditional subscription model seen in MMOs. Gree advocates that developers are simply finding it more appealing to work with micro-transactions on games that keep people interested for longer amounts of time, rather than ask for a lump sum from the start.
"A lot of developers are really hamstrung by this project finance-based model where as soon as they finish one project they are scrambling around competing with a ton of other studios, mostly talking to publishers asking for money," McCarthy offered. "If someone's coming looking for money, publishers are the least likely people to give it to them.
"Social games give you a lot more control over your revenue streams. You can release a product, adapt the content, and generate new content over the lifecycle of the game in reaction to the way users are playing it."
Gree recently showed a major presence at E3, along with Wargaming.net, the developer of World of Tanks. The idea that F2P gaming is more than simply a fad is hard to argue with as many people are starting to debate just how successful this model can be in the Triple-A arena.