Are Free-to-Play Games the Next Step for Xbox Live?
It might seem that free-to-play games don't generate any sort of revenue, but most actually rake in a considerable amount of dough for the publishers and developers who release them. This is due to the items, weapons, expansions, and other such forms of DLC that do have a set price. It's a strategy that has launched many strong companies into the gaming market, keeping them alive and profitable.
Commonly associated with online MMOs, the free-to-play market poses an interesting business model that even big companies such as EA have explored recently. Microsoft may be experimenting with a free-to-play venture soon, as sources close to IGN have reported that sometime within the 2012 calendar year, the Xbox 360 manufacturer will be allowing publishers and developers to release free titles via Xbox Live. DLC can be expected to bring in revenue for all parties involved, especially if the majority of free-to-play games released on the console are MMOs.
It's very possible that these rumors will turn out to be true. In the past, Microsoft has attempted to explore the realm of free-to-play games. At E3 2009, Kinect Joy Ride was revealed as a potential free-to-play game that would feature additional content for a small fee.
If IGN's sources are as close and trusted as the website says they are, there's a lot of potential in Microsoft taking on the free-to-play model. Admittedly, Sony and Nintendo would do well to follow suit and get in on the success of free games that generate loads of cash through their optional yet enticing add-on content. We're sure to learn more about this story as 2012 draws near.