Last week I wrote an article on ngmoco's general manager believing the free-to-play business model was becoming increasingly prevalent in today's market. Partly in response, Avalanche founder Christofer Sundberg discussed the topic today, and added his own worries to the equation. The only consensus? Things have to change.
"What companies such as Ngmoco have been talking about very actively in the press is partly true. Traditional business models are dead and if you want to survive as an independent studio you have to think outside the box.
While I'm skeptical of the ease with which Chrisofer claims the traditional business model is dead, who am I to disagree with the founder of such a large modern developer? Is Avalanche suffering despite Just Cause 2's success? What's the next step?
"Since the recession of 2008/09 everybody has been looking for that silver-bullet to save the games industry and jumps on every opportunity there is - developing a quirky PSN/XBLA game or building your own F2P game. That is suicide."
Yikes. Someone probably should have told Harmonix about that.
"I don't believe in the F2P model either and consoles are far from dead. How we combine the traditional consoles with new business models will be absolute key to success - not one way or the other."
Exactly what Christofer is alluding to is beyond me, but I have a sneaking suspicion it might have to do with the rumors surrounding the next generation of consoles. Many are quick to blame Microsoft and Sony for potentially considering hard-wiring DRM into their systems, but it's more than likely at the behest of developers and publishers. Developers want more option, more potential business models, and that frankly isn't possible with this generation of systems.
Hopefully Christofer remains cautious however, for while he's quick to decry free-to-play and arcade releases as "suicide", the rumors around the next generation of consoles could be just as bad -- if not worse. What's the best solution for everyone?