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Crytek CEO sees the future of consoles as Free-to-Play

by William Schwartz

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As the future of console gaming remains as enigmatic and debatable as ever, one executive representing one of the industry’s most popular and graphically capable developers spoke out to state his belief that consoles will eventually see the widespread use of the free-to-play model.

“Why are free-to-play online games not widespread on consoles? You should ask Microsoft and Sony this question,” Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli said, speaking to CVG. “We see the future of consoles as free-to-play–ideally focussed on free-to-play. That’s what I want to see in the future. But unfortunately not everybody shares this vision due to many other reasons.”

Crytek’s first free-to-play FPS endeavor, Warface, is set to be released later this year and will run on the developer’s prominent CryEngine 3. Though Crytek is promoting Warface as a F2P FPS far-removed from the traditional quality that most free games display, Yerli stated that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo simply didn’t bite when the developer attempted to negotiate for publishing contracts. Yerli believes that these companies have developed too much of a reliance on the retail industry, and are therefore hesitant to take on any projects that won’t allow them to gain revenue from store shelves.

“Hardware manufacturers are reliant on distribution and retail businesses, and those companies who are not reliant on third-party retail business such as Apple can go 100 percent digital,” he said. “They don’t have the problem of retailers saying, ‘I will not sell your hardware if you do not give me boxed games too’. That is the culprit of the problem.”

Yerli believes that the industry’s “number one issue that needs to be resolved” is how such companies can begin to break away from retail and focus more on methods of digital distribution. The Crytek CEO recently stated that the future of his own team will depend on the increasingly popular free-to-play business model, saying, “If you look at what types of games are done in the packaged goods market, with DLCs and premium services and whatnot, it’s literally milking the customers to death.”

While most developers and publishers are gearing up for the next-generation of console capabilities and graphical capacity, Yerli is of the opinion that tablet devices will soon have the technical competency to compete with consoles.

“I believe firmly that the next-generation of tablets are going to be close to current-generation consoles. So if the next-generation consoles don’t ship very soon, the tablets are just going to run over them,” he said. “That’s very clear. I’ve believed for about a year now that as soon as tablets can stream on to TVs, then there’s no reason why you should buy a console anymore. We’re still pushing the tablet game market ourselves, and you’ll see both casual and hardcore titles from us.”

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