Free-to-play has been suggested for Microsoft previously, and now it looks like they’re moving even closer towards that step. Hi-Rez Studios co-founder and chief operating officer Todd Harris thinks that micro-transaction based games are coming sooner or latter for Xbox 360.
“It’s really just the degree to which the free-to-play model and, even more specifically, constant updates are at – kind of what level of support there is for Xbox, or even PlayStation at this point,” Harris explained. “So the ability to patch frequently, the ability to have it be free-to-play so users can get a taste without any fee. At least from our conversations, both Sony and Microsoft are moving there strategically but there are still some things to be worked out on both the business side and the technical side and the certification side regarding frequency of patches. And those issues just need further advancement before we would be comfortable putting a release timeframe on a console version. It’s not the case of ‘never’, but we know all those things we can handle on the PC, so that’s why PC is first.”
“They’re [Microsoft] seeing where the industry is going,” Harris continued. “It’s inevitable that Microsoft will move towards that because the industry is moving towards that, and once that groundwork has been laid we would be in a better position to consider Tribes: Ascend for Xbox.”
While Nintendo might give a hell no response to such a suggestion, Xbox senior product manager David Dennis says that Microsoft is, at least, considering such a move.
“We’re always looking at different models and different ways we can work with partners to bring content out,” said Dennis. “If you look, for example, at the stuff Kudo [Tsunoda, Kinect creative director] showed onstage at E3 Kinect Fun Labs that’s an ad-supported model. Those titles are sponsored. There are different ways you can deploy or distribute games using different types of business models and we’re always open to talking to partners.
“The strength we have in the business right now and the momentum we have allows us to experiment and try different things like that and see what consumers like and what they don’t like,” Dennis continued. “If there are experiences that they like and want to download because it’s ad-supported versus what are they willing to pay for it you’ll see us continue in the future to look for a lot of different models for distribution like that.”