Crytek Wants to Transition to be Completely F2P

In recent years, videogame publishers have been experimenting with financial models outside of the traditional retail model in hopes of finding a sustainable model to meet the skyrocketing costs of AAA development. MMOs, for instance, have abandoned monthly subscriptions in favor of the free-to-play model, to varying success. Kickstarter and the crowdfunding model's success in 2012 offers yet another viable alternative to funding for independent developers hoping to push titles that would never be green lighted by publishers.

Crytek, best known for developing the technically impressive Crysis series, is embracing change in the coming years, according to CEO Cevat Yerli. In an interview with Venturebeat, Yerli explained that the developer would probably going completely free-to-play within two to five years. “We decided five or six years ago that we want to marry the quality of triple-A games with the business model of free-to-play,” Yerli said. “And out of that position, Gface and Warface were born. And at that time, we decided some other games, in some of our other studios, would head in this direction. But we kept pushing the quality bar higher on our console business, which is the main dominating business for the Western world, but we are observing, plainly — and we see this already with Warface — that the free-to-play market  is on the rise. I think over the next two to three years, free-to-play is going to rival retail with quality games like Warface.”

Crytek's vision is ambitious. Though the developer's main focus has been in the PC market—it wasn't so long ago Crysis was being used as a benchmark for gaming PCs—Yerli hopes to expand its efforts to consoles: "We're looking at free-to-play as a force that drives our growth and world-domination plans," said Yerli. "So we have quite a few console titles in our pipeline that are [traditional retail games] while we investigate free-to-play on consoles. But our primary goal is to make triple-A free-to-play games for the world market and transition entirely to that."

Gface, which Warface will be launching on, is Crytek's social platform for games and the crux of its F2P transition. Perhaps one of the most impressive things about Gface is that it will be a cloud-based service, offering experiences ranging from simple 2D affairs to AAA games via browser. One of Crytek's goals is to become a service company, something of a similar vein to Valve with Steam, and allow developers to launch their F2P products on Gface. “As a company, [we will] transition from a developer to a service company, and we’re going to offer a platform, with G-Face, to any other [developer that needs it],” Yerli stated. “If we could launch our games on a platform that already exists today, and we could get the same results, then we wouldn’t build our own platform,” said Yerli. “But we’re convinced that our platform does some particularly new things that makes our games behave better. That’s why we plan to offer this service to third parties.” Essentially, Crytek's stake in Gface is to make it the Steam for F2P play.

Yerli reassures gamers that Crytek's transition into a service company doesn't mean it's moving away from game development. "This doesn’t mean our main business will be driven by our platform business,” said Yerli. “We are just going to open it up and see how it works. We are always going to be a games-first company. We will always have our own development because we are all about making games. We provide technology, but technology is not our main driver. We make technology to make great games." Indeed, if Crytek wants to make Gface succeed, it must attract developers through user base, and users through solid titles, much like Valve did with Steam. Now, here's to hoping that Crytek's development cycles won't be impacted too heavily by its new role, lest its titles become the butt of a joke similar to those about Half-Life 3.

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  • volkov956
    Then u wont have any of my money or time is all i can say
  • axelb
    I kinda like it, as long as we don't need to spend more money than on a retail game to be geared up enough to compete with everyone, it seems fine! What people tend to forget when they play a Free2Play game is the money developers need, that's why a pay-to-win isn't that bad.
  • kcorp2003
    volkov956Then u wont have any of my money or time is all i can say
    the entire industry is moving towards this system in 10 years time. what will you do then?
  • Estix
    Here's the thing - "Free To Play" always implies "No Single Player"

    Crytek's games have, in my opinion, had great single-player and mediocre multiplayer.

    Transitioning to F2P means they won't be investing resources into single-player, and the quality of the games will suffer, I believe.
  • s3anister
    F2P... Now there's something I'm not looking forward to at all.

    I'd much rather buy my game complete than have to constantly shell out $5-10 for features and add-ons that should have been there in the first place. I literally can not think of anything more annoying than to have to stop pre- or mid-game and use real money to buy weapons or maps to use.
  • s3anister
    alvasummers20pcwhat Deborah responded I'm taken by surprise that a mom able to profit $6656 in one month on the computer. have you seen this page
    Yeah your mom made a profit of $6656 but believe me it wasn't from that kind of website ;)
  • deftonian
    That will actually hurt my wallet more. Thing to remember is that PC games usually go on dirt cheap sales after about a year of release. I usually only pay $5 or more and RARELY buy a game on release. With F2P model, it doesn't matter how old the game is, they will definitely get more than $5 from you by the time you buy certain items within the game just to play on level with everyone else. They win in the long run. It sucks but I'll just have to take it because I wont stop playing video games.

    On the other hand, it will be nice to have a F2P model for those games I just want to try out. This gives me an opportunity to play so many more games and if I dont like it, dont buy any of the items. We win on that front.

    It's a give / take model.
  • fkr
    free to play is a good model implemented poorly.

    f2p will stop piracy, this has to be good and if everybody is right it should drive down the price of games.

    and as for implementing f2p they need to set up tiered based servers so the big spenders can play against each other and not have an advantage against others.

    I also like the idea of games where i can pay 3 bucks a month to play, maybe more for the first month or 2 to get some things more quickly but after that a maintenance fee of 3 bucks is fair.

  • The-Darkening
    s3anisterYeah your mom made a profit of $6656 but believe me it wasn't from that kind of website
    Don't quote that shit, please.
  • Adam7283
    This has been around for a while. Called demos.