The Future Of PC Gaming, According To Crysis Creator

For PC Gaming Week, Kotaku has invited top creators to predict the future of computer gaming. Today, Cevat Yerli, CEO of Crytek, makers of legendary PC-only first-person shooter Crysis and 2011's PC and console Crysis 2.

PC Gaming in the Future

When I started developing games for the PC nearly 20 years ago, both the Commodore 64 and the Schneider CPC 6128 were incredibly popular. Since then, the PC platform and its market have totally changed and I saw several trends coming and going.

Within the next five years, the PC market is in my opinion growing and declining at the same time. While the market for Online PC Games (I mean Free 2 Play Games, Social Games and Casual Games) is continuously growing, the Retail PC Games market is declining. Over the past two years it became apparent that more and more people play all kinds of online games and lots of the former Retail PC Gamers switched to console games. By changing their consumption attitudes, the consumers "force" developers to rethink their strategies, thus, to some degree.

What does that mean?

For me, the business model of the future is "free 2 play" since consumers in the future won't be willing any longer to spend $US50 or more for a AAA PC Game. So developers will start offering more and more free to play online PC Games that at the same time allow for premium content.

All leading PC game developers will serve the free to play market and turn their backs on the retail market.

The current online games are characterised by low development costs (only about one tenth of the costs for a AAA title) and comparatively low quality. But, at the same time, they have fun gameplay. In contrast to the traditional Retail PC Games, the pressure for initial quality is much lower with an online PC game. This means, that developers release an online game with a certain quality and then improve it over the time, bit by bit, together with the community. This is incredibly customer-friendly and so it is what the whole market become.

The user is king. Over the next years a significant number of online PC Games will enter the market and due to that big amount of games, the quality pressure is going to rise in these markets, as it is now in the PC Retail Market. The current price competition between retail and F2P Market will evolve into a content/ quality competition within the F2P Market only – similar to today's retail market. Consequently both, the costs and the quality will reach a AAA level. Since gamers thus basically get AAA games for free, the complete traditional Retail PC Game market breaks down. After a while gamers will then see a major progress in gaming quality overall again in the PC Gaming Market.

But how do developers then earn money?

The community is key to the success, specifically the amount of free-to-play users that a developer is able to transform into buyers. An average 5-10% of all online PC game users buy premium content in the form of special items, boosters, etc. via micro transactions. "Non-monetised" consumers, on the other hand, will be turned into revenue contributors through community-driven advertisement that is experienced through social media networks supporting these games.

To sum it all up: I am convinced that in the medium term, all leading PC game developers will serve the free to play market and turn their backs on the retail market.

Cevat Yerli is president and CEO of Germany-based game development studio Crytek. His first games and development experiences go back to the 1980s with the Commodore 64 and the Schneider CPC 6128, where he worked on simulation games. His passion has always been creating and playing games. While studying economics, he began working towards his dream of founding a game development company. The dream became reality in 1999 when he founded Crytek with his two brothers. Cevat gives creative direction for all Crytek products.


    I hope this doesn't happen or I will end up a 100% console gamer.

    why is it that devs always say retail is declining which it is but digital distribution is up massively

    It's true. There's more of a market for console, hence our games grow consolised (dumbed down everyone likes to say)...

    But there's definite truth in what he says. Take LOTRO for example - they've made more money since they've gone F2P with microtransactions than they did with subscription based play.
    I guess the same could be said for non-MMO games.

    I agree with him to an extent because i do see the F2P model gaining a lot of ground on the PC market. But at the same time - there is always going to be a place for the standard retail games but as foxbane said, we are going to see a great shift from the "traditional" brick and mortar stores to digital distribution, which has already started. All you need to do is go to your local EB and look at the PC section. 3 years ago it took up quite a bit of space. Now it is relegated to the back corner on the same shelf as the PS2 games.

    Steam is going to be the major winners in this as they are already the most established DD service, and the new games for windows, direct 2 drive, impluse are all also going to thrive in the years to come.

    This guy's kidding himself if he thinks developers can earn they money back via micro-transactions and online advertising.

    It might work for Farmville and other browser-based games, but any game that requires significant development time (many modern games cost in the millions to produce) or has high server/maintenance costs, is going to outstrip the $ from micro-transactions.

    Online advertising is doomed. We all know from our experience online, how transient and inconsequential a 'hit' is. It's for this very reason, newspapers are drying up. Their traditional printed classifieds have been gutted by Craigslist etc, and their supposedly viable 'online adverts' cannot possibly match traditional paid adverts.

    This guy's impossibly optimistic.

    I hated Crytek since they made Crysus 2 multi-platform. But I see his point. However, I dont think all developers will turn their backs on retail PC titles. For starters, most of the people I know who dont play games play old-school PC titles. Very rarely do u see people actually pay for online PC titles (i.e. they usually stick with the free account option). PC gaming isn't declining like what this douche said. Developers just need to take into account security measures to prevent piracy while creating a game which gamers will actually enjoy instead of console-ports with horrible gameplay/graphics. Starcraft 2 is a great example. Great security measures and excellent gameplay guaranteed its success with minimal piracy.

    Cevat is obviously a console-fanboy so dont listen to the guy (esp since he begins the article with a console-is-king assertion : "...Commodore 64 and the Schneider CPC 6128 were incredibly popular")

    This guy forgot mention the success of PC games via internet download. Steam and D2D purchases outsell all retail copies.

    Cevat, u should srsly do some research before presenting ur opinion. Its like u just thought of this article out of thin air and rambled on about jack-nuts.

    More evidence pllzzzzzz

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now