Free-to-play "apocalypse" on the horizon, says Mythic co-founder

Daniel Starkey

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Free-to-play becomes a more ubiquitous business model by the day on PC. It's gained enough popularity over the past few years that everyone from Valve , Sony , and EA have skin in the game. But have big publishers and smaller indies overreacted to the success of free games like League of Legends? As a market, could F2P be a balloon on the verge of deflating?

Former CEO and president of Mythic Entertainment Mark Jacobs wondered much of the same in an interview with VG247 . Jacobs, who served as a general manager and VP at EA from 2006 to 2009, warns: "Let's just see what happens in three to five years—and I'm betting closer to three—where free-to-play will become just another model. Right now you've got everybody chasing it, going 'Isn't this great? Free to play, we're going to make so much money.'"

"You know, free-to-play is just another model, and just like every other model in the industry, it will hold its special little place for a while but then there will be consequences,” says Jacobs. “Those consequences in a few years will be a bit of an apocalypse. You're going to see a lot of developers shutting down... if you go free-to-play, you really have to compete with every other free-to-play game out there."

It's not uncommon for relatively new studios like Red 5 and Hi-Rez go all-in on free to play. But how many games are drawing enough of an audience in the space to be profitable? A quick look at SteamGraph reminds us that Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2 dwarf their F2P competitors on Steam.

steam free to play april 2013

Thanks, VG247 .

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