The idea of free-to-play has been a business model that has worked for some developers while for others it has been the last dying breath of a title. Hoping to fall into the former category, Microsoft is rumored to be looking into a free-to-play model for some of their upcoming downloadable releases in 2012.
Like games that currently utilize the free-to-play model, these Xbox Live F2P titles will offer in-game transactions that allow the player to instill as little or as much customization as they see fit.
After having really taken the idea of downloadable titles to a whole new level, it isn’t surprising to hear that Microsoft is considering once again trying to push the envelope. While we don’t expect larger downloadable titles (of the same ilk as Limbo or Beyond Good and Evil HD) to utilize this free-to-play model, there are plenty of venues in which it can work.
One area that would be the perfect way for Microsoft to test the waters is with their most recent release, Full House Poker. If that title, or one just like it, could find a way to offer in-game transactions — purchasing new card games or new sets of trivia questions — it might be the perfect thing to kick this idea off.
Coming from a trusted source for IGN, it’s hard to dispute this rumor, but it’s also hard to believe that Microsoft, or any publisher that offers some very high-priced DLC, would offer free-to-play content. Gamers might see some form of this model at work next year, but it most likely won’t be until it’s proven to be financially viable that it will be implemented in higher profile releases.
Still, we look forward to Microsoft continuing to evolve their downloadable titles, and the concepts associated with them. As long as Microsoft keeps putting out titles like Torchlight and Super Meat Boy, gamers will be willing to at least entertain the notion of anything.
Would you be willing to purchase more in-game content if you got your XBLA titles for free? Do you think that downloadable titles and the free-to-play model are a good fit?
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