The concept of in-game monetization remains a controversial and widely debated topic throughout the gaming industry, though its use and practicality are featured most on the PC through free-to-play social games. The F2P model continues to generate significant revenue and relevance for a number of smaller developers. Zynga and its array of social networking games, for example, have garnered over 240 million monthly active users on Facebook alone. Ubisoft, a company primarily dedicated to console gaming, hints that it may be turning to a similar formula.
The company recently released its earnings report. In it, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot implied the possibilities of seeking an in-game monetization method on consoles. According to Guillemot, the developer will see tremendous growth due to “the forthcoming arrival of the next generation of consoles which will be increasingly connected and will strongly boost the market thanks to a new qualitative leap and the integration of social games benefits and the item based model.”
It’s safe to assume that the “item based model” Guillemot speaks of will follow a similar pattern in which free-to-play games currently follow. That is, distributing the base game for free, and using a process of selling microtansactions and in-game items to generate a profit. If Ubisoft wants to trial a system in which they release F2P games via Xbox Live or PSN and then attempt to generate revenue through the use of in-game transactions, then by all means, they should. However, the process sees such success on PCs because the games are in fact free-to-play when they’re first released. After all, this is a gaming behemoth we’re talking about, not an independent developer looking to supplement their rent money. If Ubisoft were to charge for full-priced, $60 games at launch, and then encourage the widespread sale of in-game items, they’d probably find that getting sued for copyright claim would prove to be the least of their worries.
Source: Ubisoft via Joystiq