“The PC is decimating console, just through price. Free-to-play has killed a hundred AAA studios,” according to director, developer in the video game industry and co-founder of id Software, John Romero.
Although Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 have sold more than 80 million units each, Romero believes that PC market is still ahead of consoles.
“With PC you have free-to-play and Steam games for five bucks, he adds. “It’s a different form of monetization than Doom or Wolfenstein or Quake where that’s free-to-play [as shareware].
Our entire first episode was free – give us no money, play the whole thing. If you like it and want to play more, then you finally pay us. To me that felt like the ultimate fair [model].
I’m not nickel-and-diming you. I didn’t cripple the game in any design way. That was a really fair way to market a game. When we put these games out on shareware, that changed the whole industry.
Before shareware there were no CD-ROMs, there were no demos at all. If you wanted to buy Ultima, Secret of Monkey Island, any of those games, you had to look really hard at that box and decide to spend 50 bucks to get it,” John Romero told Games Industry.
He believes that the popularity of free-to-play games that have done it right (like World of Tanks) will ultimately raise the bar.
“Everybody is getting better at free-to-play design, the freemium design, and it’s going to lose its stigma at some point. People will settle into [the mindset] that there is a really fair way of doing it, and the other way is the dirty way.
Hopefully that other way is easily noticeable by people and the quality design of freemium rises and becomes a standard. That’s what everybody is working hard on.
People are spending a lot of time trying to design this the right way. They want people to want to give them money, not have to. If you have to give money, you’re doing it wrong… For game designers, that’s the holy grail,” Romero said.
Romero further explains why the games platform landscape is being dominated by PC and mobile. “The problem with console is that it takes a long time for a full cycle.
With PCs, it’s a continually evolving platform, and one that supports backward compatibility, and you can use a controller if you want; if I want to play a game that’s [made] in DOS from the ’80s I can, it’s not a problem.
You can’t do that on a console. Consoles aren’t good at playing everything. With PCs if you want a faster system you can just plug in some new video cards, put faster memory in it, and you’ll always have the best machine that blows away PS4 or Xbox One.”
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