Why Console Developers Need To Be More Like Indiana Jones

Personally I think everyone should be more like Indiana Jones, but Daniel Kim, CEO of Nexon Online, creator of multiple Free-to-play online games, thinks that console developers in particular should be more like Indiana Jones. Man, I love Indiana Jones.

But first context -- Daniel Kim was talking specifically about the success and growth of the Free-to-play industry, and the struggles of making that model work in a console environment.

"Console developers are starting to realise that as well, that unless they make accommodations or think about changing their own business model they're going to quickly go the way of the dinosaurs," said Kim, talking to Games Industry International.

"It's really hard to beat free-to-play as an offering."

Kim said that, while it's difficult to sacrifice the rewards of a successful AAA release, console developers need to seriously think about embracing the Free-to-play model. And it's an all or nothing leap.

"The console guys are starting to realise that, but they also have a challenge in that they have a vested interest in an existing business model of packages," he explained. "I know it's tough for them to just cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to say 'OK, we're going to go free-to-play and make our bed here' because that's going to piss off a lot of people who they already have an existing business relationship with."

"I understand the challenge but unless they're being aggressively proactive about making that leap - it's kind of like the Indiana Jones, taking that leap of faith - unless you do it there's no other way to continue to grow."

Could Free-to-play work on consoles? I'd argue it's next to impossible on this generation of consoles, with all the red tape of Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network. These services simply aren't agile enough to manage it.

Next generation, however? I'd be very surprised if those consoles didn't apply Free-to-play models on a number of titles, and make the whole thing far more accessible and easy.

Watch this space.

Nexon warns consoles could "go the way of the dinosaurs" [Games Industry International]


    There's also articles out there that hint that the F2P model isn't a viable industry it just seems everyone is conjecturing I don't know what to believe.

    No, just no. It's bad enough with DLC on console games now. Free-to-play mobile games constantly nag you into trying to give them money. It would be truly horrifying playing, say Dead Space 2 (as I was last night) and constantly being told that you need to pay to get more ammo, etc. It would just ruin the last remaining unique experience that big budget games can offer.

    Not saying it wouldn't work with some games, but they can't do it as an all or nothing thing.

    Or maybe (OK, definitely) I'm just a grumpy old man who doesn't understand these things.

      This. Constant nagging for revenue and treating players as units of monetisation would be awful.

        I agree that building in constant nagging for money or monetising something like ammo in a shooter really disturbs me, but totally disagree about DLC, good DLC is fantastic, and I have zero problem with having it available on 'day one'.

    Plus there was the article the other day about the homeless developers who have had their F2P title downloaded 200K (or 2M?) times with only a 0.67% rate of conversation to paying customers. Sounds to me like that if the publishers put themselves in that position it would be an ever riskier situation than they are in now with their multi-million dollar dev cycles with millions of copies sold up-front.

      The author did a subsequent article where he mentions that there was a menu design flaw so that almost none of the customers knew there even was any more content to buy. Then the payment system didn't work. Its not a good example to base figures on - even the devs admitted they stuffed up.

        Fair enough, I did read that. But I still have to wonder, with the games release schedule as cluttered as it is, whether the publishers would find that many more people willing to try out a multi-gigabyte game then pay a small amount of money vs. the number who are currently willing to pay a large amount up-front.

        In some ways I'll agree that the current cash up-front approach is worse for consumers. There are numerous games on my shelf that I haven't played and would have been better off without having paid for them.

        I think the answer has to lie with movies somehow. They cost hundreds of millions of dollars but go on to recoup that in enough cases to keep the system viable. I think there needs to be an option for a smaller, but still up-front payment. Maybe let people pay 25% of the full cost for each play through, or pay the full amount to purchase outright?

          The key is to make game experiences that are as appealing to as many people as movies are, then you're sorted - but games need to grow up a bit before that can happen. (It'll get there!)

    While I must admit I have spent a lot of time playing F2P games over the years, the idea of buying a game and owning it completely still keeps me coming back for more.
    Console dev's just need to start being a little more creative about the games they produce.
    Its the limited variety or quality titles across ALL genres that lures me away from current gen console games.

    I don't understand his "All or nothing" approach.
    While Tribes Ascend is free-to-play, it has an existing fanbase and has done a lot of work to keep them happy.
    For the most part, free-to-play without becoming pay-to-win is a difficult thing to balance and while some MMOs have acheived it, most started out as pay and others have only become so after charging monthy fees for years.

    I think F2P has some valid points, and it works well in some cases, but the important think to remember is that F2P only works when it's implemented well.
    A good F2P model is awesome, a bad F2P model is absolutely disastrous. If you don't get it right you risk bankrupting your development. If you do it right it can be very successful. I think the overall risk for developers and publishers is bigger.
    Even a crappy game can break even with some marketing and good publicity.

    My 4mth old daughter is named Indiana...yes we had the jokes at hospital from the theme song being sung.

    Other than that free to play is fine but what about a premium console service with your own leased dedicated server in your region? That or provide your own quality Internet connection and server for certification.

    I'd happily allocate one of my servers or a console for a dedicated Melbourne server for xbox live or Halo for example.

    Sure Free to play or free consoles are fine but I'm happy to pay for the ultimate in performance, also happy to share it and I've a few mates that would do the same...maybe a new kickstarter project in the making?

    I actually managed to miss the Indy explanation hidden away in there, had to go back an search a couple of times.

    Totally not what I was thinking though. I was more going with "it belongs in a museum!"

    I don't really like the games and the underlying ideas of F2P games :(

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