Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley believes that Zynga has done the free-to-play model a “terrible disservice”, saying that most of their F2P releases are “not games”, rather “monetizing products.”
“In Asia free-to-play has been prevalent for years, but now you’re starting to see these games get popular all over the globe,” Smedley told PC Gamer. “League of Legends, for example, is the biggest game in the world right now. Period. And it’s got 70 million registered users, 3 million people watching their championships, so free-to-play has actually been really good for 4-5 years now.
“But the reputation that it got from early in its life, especially in terms of social games. I think Zynga has done free-to-play a terrible disservice because many of their releases are monetisation products – not games. The truth is that now there are loads of really great free-to-play games, including ours, and I think Planetside is now a part of the hardcore community’s free-to-play library.”
However, Smedley acknowledges that F2P cannot work everywhere. “I think there are a lot of avenues where free-to-play doesn’t work,” he said.
“One of those is anything that requires a huge download. If you look at some of the awesome Blu-ray games on PS3, like Uncharted – that game fills an entire Blu-ray. Realistically, that’s not something you can make free-to-play because it takes so long and costs so much to download. So I think that barrier will be there for the foreseeable future, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. We have loads of great free-to-play games out there at the moment, they’re getting very high in quality with titles like League of Legends, Planetside 2 and DOTA 2.”
Well, their newly released MMO FPS, PlanetSide 2, seems to be a pretty good example of excellent F2P games.