Zynga Has Done Free-to-Play Games a Terrible Disservice

Sony Online Entertainment believes in free-to-play experiences

Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley has talked about free-to-play games and emphasized that companies behind social games, like Zynga, have done the free-to-play genre a great disservice because they were too eager to make players pay money for certain things.

Free-to-play games are becoming extremely popular nowadays, as they can offer all sorts of interesting online experiences in different genres, from role-playing games to first-person shooters or strategy ones.

Sony Online Entertainment has banked big on this new area of online gaming and turned one of its biggest MMOs, DC Universe Online, into a free-to-play experience last year.

According to the company's CEO, John Smedley, free-to-play has been a great thing for quite some time.

"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. 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," he told PC Gamer.

Smedley notes, however, that social games from companies like Zynga, which rely too much on forcing the player to consume money, have given free-to-play games a bad reputation.

"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 monetization products - not games. The truth is that now there are loads of really great free-to-play games, including ours, and I think Planetside 2 is now a part of the hardcore community's free-to-play library."

SOE is also bringing its free-to-play products onto the PlayStation 3, as both DC Universe Online and Free Realms can be experienced for free by PS3 users.

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