Consoles, as they have been defined over the years is: purchase game, insert game, and play. Online services such as Xbox Live or PlayStation Network has changed that to a degree, but FTP games were notably absent or silent. Much to gamers’ dismay, awesome titles and MMO’s slipped past console gamers on a regular basis (although PS3 owners did get DC Universe Online). This coming holiday season will mark a real transition into the market as Sony and Microsoft are blasting out of the gates with FTP games once the next-gen consoles release. Warframe and Planetside 2 for the PlayStation 4. Killer Instinct 4 (arguably an interesting spin on FTP) for the Xbox One, are just a few of the games slated to storm the dorms and living rooms around the world. Quality games at the best price, free!
Those who have been stalwart ‘console only’ gamers are about to witness a renaissance. No longer will the game log be empty since all of the games lying around have been beaten into memorization. There will be no need to grasp for that credit card to add points and purchase the hottest titles trending on the networks. Downloading and firing up one of the newest free titles is an amazing if not overwhelming experience. Of course the allure of spending money to acquire all of the biggest and baddest weaponry is a natural progression being that FTP can be recognized as “pay to win”. However, being able to test drive and enjoy what a game is about without initially spending a dime is pretty awesome. There is literally nothing to lose for gamers in that regard.
Console gaming is very much a large market that FTP developers are undoubtedly foaming at the mouth to sink their teeth into. The Xbox 360 is just now about to release the wildly popular Word Of Tanks for the Xbox 360. Consoles had a hard time getting these titles through, but the tides are changing. Arguably the best part of this is that the wild west of FTP games will not exist on consoles as it does on PC since it is highly likely that Sony and Microsoft will have strict quality guidelines for developers to pass (Win-Win for all). Social Darwinism will be in full force here as only the most focused developers will have the chance to appeal for gamers’ attention on XBLA and PSN. The reward; money to stay in business. And that money will be put to good use as developers can sustain their FTP games. Incorporating new features to keep the player base happy while also pumping out refinements and content to attract newcomers is a good thing for all involved.
FTP games will not overtake gamers’ beloved Halo, Call of Duty, Uncharted, Grand Theft Auto or any other big time games. But in a world where games are becoming rapidly abundant everywhere, these new options for consoles are awesome. Why bother with demo’s when FTP let’s you enjoy the whole game for free? This is going to be a new and exciting frontier for gamers’ and it will be even more interesting to see how Sony and Microsoft affect the FTP space. Whether they take direct charge and control some aspects of the games or quietly support the developers in the shadows, we all win. Rejoice gamers. The Free-To-Play market is going to boom.