Happy Wars will be Xbox 360's first free-to-play game, supported by microtransactions
With Sony already on the free-to-play bandwagon with Dust 514, Microsoft is just hopping on. The platform holder revealed today that upcoming multiplayer action game Happy Wars will be the first free-to-play title on Xbox 360.
Releasing on Xbox LIVE Arcade this fall, Happy Wars will be free to download and play for Xbox LIVE Gold members. The game will use a microtransaction system where players will be able to purchase "lavishly rendered items" to customize their character's appearance.
The large-scale multiplayer action game, which allows for up to 30 players to battle online in exciting castle sieges, is being developed by Japanese studio Toylogic. Following its launch in fall, Microsoft has promised to support the game with additional items and character options. It's likely players will have to pay for these additional options.
While Happy Wars will be the first title on Xbox 360 to use the free-to-play business model, it certainly won't be the last. Signal Studios' action title Ascend: New Gods, which is coming next year, will also be free-to-play.
It's clear that free-to-play, microtransaction-based games are going to be the future moving forward — or at least have a major foothold in the game industry.
But how will the community react to it? I haven't yet played Happy Wars, but the big thing developers must avoid is campy game design that free-to-play titles tend to fall into it. Will Happy Wars set free-to-play off on the right foot?