Free-to-play as a business model has intriguing possibilities on both mobile, PC and consoles in the future. Ubisoft’s chief financial officer Alain Martinez said during a recent conference call that the company believes free-to-play will affect the future of all games.
“Free-to-play is a very flexible business model,” said Stephanie Perotti, Ubisoft’s worldwide director of online. “The player has the capability to spend more than in a traditional model.”
“Ubisoft says there’s a wider audience available for free-to-play. The company notes that The Settlers 7 launched at retail in five different languages and 28 countries, while The Settlers Online is accessible anywhere in the world, and the development team localized it for nine languages with more to come.
“The Settlers Online is set to make more money in four years than the Settlers brand did on PC over nine years,” Perotti said.
Free-to-play requires a new set of skills, including marketing and micro-monetization that’s very different when compared to traditional retail releases.”We can control everything from the pricing to marketing as if we were an online store,” Perotti said.
On the issue of free-to-play for consoles Martinez seemed more focused on DLC, saying, “There will be free-to-play on consoles. But in the future, with games like Sleeping Dogs, we could see more opportunity for $60 games to learn from the free-to-play model.Â The next generation will offer more and more item-based content. This will benefit our games’ profitability.”
Free-to-play generated 20 million Euros last year, and is expected to more than double to 50 ““ 60 million Euros this fiscal year.