Mobile gaming and free-to-play are inextricably linked at this point, and it’s often used as a big talking point for console and PC gamers who complain about mobile gaming. But the reality is that free-to-play makes a lot of sense for a lot of companies. And Epic Games is the next company making a big transition to free-to-play with their new games, particularly Fortnite, Unreal Tournament, and the upcoming MOBA Paragon. Polygon’s feature is quite interesting on it, particularly as it talks about how massive game budgets can crush a studio like theirs. Yes, even with Unreal Engine being such a huge part of the gaming industry. And it starts to make more sense to make games that can evolve and grow as live titles, that also bring in consistent revenue over time.
The thing is that you’re going to see a lot more of this happening. There are obvious benefits to games-as-a-service versus hoping a studio gets it right with a fire-and-forget title. Valve obviously has had success with free-to-play with Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2. League of Legends is a massive free-to-play success, as is the cross-platform Hearthstone (Free). Much like how mobile presaged the rise of indies, free-to-play success stories turned out to be more universal than many in the console and PC world would think. And we’re seeing more and more big names start to realize that hey, free-to-play can be really lucrative. Those who don’t are bound to be left behind. It’s still a huge risk – Days of Discord (Free) managed to launch the exact same day as Clash Royale and is shutting down already – but if gamers are showing with their actions that they want free-to-play games, developers are going to give it to them.