It's a hot trend in the gaming industry today, but one executive doesn't think too highly of the model.
Speaking during the Credit Suisse Annual Technology Conference (as cited by GameSpot ), Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick addressed the free-to-play craze. Needless to say, he isn't all that impressed.
One of the biggest problems is the lack of revenue. It works in some instances but for Take-Two, they prefer the fact that 100 percent of those who play Take-Two games pay the company something for their services. As opposed to:
"The problem with the free-to-play model is 95-97 percent of people who engage with your content don't pay for it. 3-5 percent do; on a good day, 10 percent. One of the reasons that free-to-play companies like Zynga did so well for a period of time is they had zero acquisition costs because they could use Facebook as a free acquisition platform. Then Facebook changed that, and Zynga changed."
On top of which, Zelnick says that F2P games simply aren't that good. This is oftentimes the elephant in the room that some industry peeps don't like to address. However, as all core gamers know, it's the absolute truth:
"The other thing that's problematic with free-to-play games is in many instances, although not all, they're vastly less engaging. And if you look at the history of the entertainment business across all media, the only entertainment companies that really succeed over a long period of time are those that surprise and delight consumers with incredibly high quality content.
Most free-to-play games aren't really high quality content at the end of the day. Certain competitors in that space have stated strategies of not making high quality content. And I've never seen an entertainment company–ever, ever, ever–succeed that didn't have a stated strategy of making high quality content. Not everyone can actually achieve it, but you need to at least try."
Do you agree with Zelnick's analysis and comments?