Free-to-play games are going to increase in number and in quality in the next few years, according to Ngmoco Sweden boss Ben Cousins, who believes that a completely free equivalent of the recent The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim could appear in just two years.
Skyrim has impressed millions of gamers from all over the world with its complex RPG mechanics, its intense story, and the huge variety of things you could do inside the game, thereby capturing tens if not hundreds of hours.
According to Ben Cousins, the head of Ngmoco’s Swedish branch, a free-to-play game similar to Skyrim can appear in the near future and challenge the dominance of conventional single-player experiences.
"I believe that single player will be the next to be cracked in terms of freemium monetisation," Cousins said during the Free-2-Play Summit in London, via GI.biz
. "And I'm talking about traditional, story-based, scripted, linear and non-linear single player that we see on consoles.”
According to him, Skyrim could have easily been a free-to-play experience in which players were offered special benefits or items in exchange for real-life money, thereby saving time.
"I am totally 100 per cent confident - I will bet large amounts of money - that we will have, in the next few years, a free-to-play equivalent of Skyrim. A game like Skyrim, where you accrue skills and equipment over time, that you can play for hundreds of hours, is actually one of the easiest games to develop for a free-to-play model. That would be a big hit."
As more and more companies experiment with free-to-play strategies, Cousins is adamant that this will become the future of the gaming industry.
"In the future," he added, "I believe free-to-play will be the way that nearly everyone plays games, it will be nearly every genre, and it will be nearly every platform."
What do you think? Would you have liked a free-to-play Skyrim in which you could pay money to unlock Dragon Shouts or expensive suits of armor?