Crytek wants to "transition entirely" to free-to-play

Free-to-play may be Crytek's only business model in two to five years

Crytek chief executive officer Cevat Yerli has told VentureBeat that he expects his company to "transition entirely" to the free-to-play business model in two to five years. Warface is the company's first free-to-play shooter and Crytek expects to launch the game by the end of the year.

"We decided five or six years ago that we want to marry the quality of triple-A games with the business model of free-to-play," Yerli told GamesBeat. "And at that time, we decided some other games, in some of our other studios, would head in this direction. But we kept pushing the quality bar higher on our console business, which is the main dominating business for the Western world, but we are observing, plainly - and we see this already with Warface - that the free-to-play market is on the rise. I think over the next two to three years, free-to-play is going to rival retail with quality games like Warface."

Crytek's current efforts are in the PC market, but Yerli said that the company is looking to bring the same ethic to consoles.

"We're looking at free-to-play as a force that drives our growth and world-domination plans," said Yerli. "So we have quite a few console titles in our pipeline that are [traditional retail games] while we investigate free-to-play on consoles. But our primary goal is to make triple-A free-to-play games for the world market and transition entirely to that."

GFace, Crytek's gaming platform that's coming alongside Warface, is the developer's master key into the world of free-to-play.

"As a company, [we will] transition from a developer to a service company, and we're going to offer a platform, with G-Face, to any other [developer that needs it]," he said. "If we could launch our games on a platform that already exists today, and we could get the same results, then we wouldn't build our own platform. But we're convinced that our platform does some particularly new things that makes our games behave better. That's why we plan to offer this service to third parties."

"This doesn't mean our main business will be driven by our platform business. We are just going to open it up and see how it works. We are always going to be a games-first company. We will always have our own development because we are all about making games. We provide technology, but technology is not our main driver. We make technology to make great games," added Yerli.

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Latest comments (16)

Paul Jace Merchandiser 7 years ago
So all future Crysis games will be free to play? On consoles? I just don't see that happening.
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Dirk van Wijk Student - Computer Science (Master) 7 years ago
So will this GFace be something similar to Steam and Origin, but more open to other devs?
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee7 years ago
I can see it happening.

As with anything, this depends on the market conditions being right and a lot can change in 5 years. Some people are spelling the death of consoles altogether, personally I'm expecting some changes in format which could include their distribution/sales models and general openness.

Either way, Crytek aren't going to do this if the opportunity isn't there or if there's a clear sign it won't work at the time.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 10th February 2013 4:18pm

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Show all comments (16)
Pier Castonguay Programmer 7 years ago
Crytek invested millions to develop CryEngine and only released a single boxed shooter title to go with it. Of course the return of investment is not that high. They had a few studios buying license and create games on this engine, but probably much less than they were planning for. It make sense that the CEO read about free-to-play magical revenues articles and want his piece of the cake, but if I were at their place I would just create tons of smaller retail IPs with the technology at their disposition instead of putting everything in a f2p game that most players, like me, will try it out but could never think of paying to buy custom clothes.
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Stephen Richards Game Deisgner 7 years ago
Financial incentives aside, I hope this doesn't catch on. Especially with AAA games I like knowing I have the whole game, am not at a disadvantage to those who've paid more and can forget about money once I've started playing.
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Steven Wemyss Senior QA Engineer, Avalanche Studios7 years ago
@Pier - Crytek have a massive contract with the US DoD for CryEngine which has pretty much bankrolled them for a long time, it's more a case of the opposite. They now have the finances to be able to have the freedom to experiment more and free themselves from the often restrictive grasps of the Publishers.

As for the growth of F2P I'm what can be quite rightly considered a hardcore gamer yet much of the latest games I've been playing on my PC of late have been F2P, Dev's are simply getting better and smarter about how to implement this stuff without alienating the player base. Of course this can only really be applied to Multiplayer style games, F2P is less of a fit for Single Player.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 7 years ago
Cevat Yerli speaks great sense. Established publishers who don't take notice will find themselves in big trouble.

World of Tanks has 45 million registered players. Runescape over 200 million. Jagex is by far the most successful British based game publisher ever. is making embarrassing amounts of money.

Gaming is becoming a service. The industry must provide compelling experiences. Then players will want to pay to enhance those experiences.
Paying up front as a business model cannot compete with FTP. Because with FTP the player is engaged before they pay.
Also, obviously, FTP games have to be better than paid for games. So some people in the industry are going to have to learn how to use their metrics properly!
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters7 years ago
Well, Crytek, I've enjoyed playing your games but I won't be playing any more of them if you go Free To Play.
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up7 years ago
I think a much better monetisation model is, you offer free to play at the start of the game (whilst informing them that buying things individually will cost more overall), but also give the option to buy the game outright at that point. It's about giving people choice. If you know you are going to like it, the chances are you'll buy it outright. If not you go with the free to play for a while, and everyone's a winner.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D7 years ago
Sandy, how does that differ from a demo? Not being difficult, it's a genuine question:)
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Rob Jessop R&D Programmer, Crytek7 years ago
Bruce, what took you so long? I expected you to get the first comment in :)
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John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam7 years ago
Fran - demos are often specially created or modified sections of a game, taken out of context, and often limit your access to certain gameplay modes, so they don't always give an accurate representation of what the whole game looks and feels like.

The one hour free trials you get on PlayStation Plus are much better in this regard - you download the full game, play it any way you want to, free for up to an hour, then if you like it you can pay to unlock it and carry on from where you left off, with all your save data, trophies and so on intact, without any further download required. I've bought a couple of games that way now, and have a couple more that I would have bought if the unlock price had been more reasonable. It's also saved me buying a couple of games that looked good on paper but I didn't enjoy once I actually got to spend an hour uninterrupted with them.
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up7 years ago
@Fran yeah, a demo is just buy this now that you've played this snippet (which is usually the best looking hand picked bit).

What I'm trying to describe is.......The free to play model with a long trail of micro transactions (which is fine) vs what we could consider a discounted purchase for the full game or a set amount of levels of the game for example, offered at the same point of purchase. Letting consumers make the choice that's right for them basically..

I cant see anyone being unhappy about that. A few people seem to be on this thread (probably fearing the games wont be as good). I don't think that has to be the case and I don't think there needs to be such a hard line on it really. You can keep everyone happy by offering choice, and building the monetisation paths into your game design.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Sandy Lobban on 11th February 2013 3:23pm

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James Prendergast Process Specialist 7 years ago
I'd be up for a "pay this price and never pay another penny" or "micro transactions" sort of system.

However, we all know that nickle and diming people to death is the way this will all work out since that may result in greater rewards...
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Benjamin Kratsch Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Games Network7 years ago
Oh my Goodness. Crytek is on his way to become the best fps developer in the world. Crysis 3 is absolutely amazing with stunning graphics. If you compare that to the pretty standard Warface, you don`t want those talented developers do f2p stuff.

Well, I guess if Crysis 3 is selling like hell, Cevat will hopefully think about the future of his great company again. And honestly, do you guys really see 60 -100 mio dollar games (which we will mainly have with PS4 and the next xbox) going free to play? I highly doubt that. And I don`t think it`s so easy to become the next Wargame.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 7 years ago
It seems for multiplayer experiences, the f2p train has left the station and is indeed on its way to reach full speed.

I just wonder what will happen to the single player or co-op experiences. I rather pay money in front and have a good flow experience. Otherwise I could end up constantly second guessing, if the game was too hard/slow because I was supposed to pay, or because I was missing something.
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