By: Eddie Makuch
A free-to-play version of EA’s Battlefield series is not coming to consoles anytime soon, EA Studios executive vice president Patrick Söderlund has said.
“Will console games be free-to-play going forward? There will be some games that will be free-to-play but I also think that they will be different in nature to full games,” he told MCV. “I think a lot of people prefer to pay for the full game and get access to everything. And I wouldn’t use the word free-to-play; they are not free.”
Both the Xbox One and PlayStation currently host free-to-play games, just like their predecessors did. Free-to-play games and $60 boxed products can live peacefully alongside one another on the new consoles because not every gamer wants the same thing, Söderlund said.
“I think all these business models will co-exist,” he said. “Some prefer to pay $60 and get the full experience. Sometimes when I play freemium games on mobile I feel ‘these guys just want more money.’ When I pay $60 for Battlefield, I know what I am getting. And I think there are players that prefer that. And it’s not a case of one or another, they can both exist and there may be hybrids too.”
EA released a free-to-play version of Battlefield called Battlefield Play4Free in April 2011.
Also in the interview, Söderlund addressed the proliferation of free-to-play mobile games. Just because the free-to-play business model largely replaced the paid model for mobile games, it does not necessarily mean the same transition will occur for console games, Söderlund said. This rise of one business model does not always signal the end of another, he argued.
“I still think the console market is different to the mobile market,” Söderlund said. “Mobile games are much cheaper. It’s like film. YouTube is free, but to see Gravity at the cinema, it will cost you money. One does not remove the other one.”
“Only 18 months ago, most mobile games were full game [paid] downloads. Now I’d say 90 percent are freemium,” he added. “That change happened very quickly. Whether that will happen on the consoles I don’t know.”
Christofer Sundberg, founder and creative director of Just Cause and Mad Max developer Avalanche Studios, recently said that microtransactions, subscriptions, and other business models will define the next generation of gaming.