The freemium model has taken off in the massively multiplayer online and social spaces, but it has yet to reshape the current king of core games, first-person shooters. A new startup from Activision veterans is looking to change that by bringing social and freemium models to the hardcore space.
U4iA Games, a new studio cofounded by Activision veterans Dusty Welch and Chris Archer, announced that its first game will be an "online-only, hardcore freemium, first-person social" title. In the announcement, CEO Welch said, "Many studios are making casual games for a core audience. We're making core games for a social audience."
Welch and Archer have a combined 34 years in the gaming industry. Before founding U4iA, Welch served as a senior vice president at Activision, helping launch Call of Duty, and acted as general manager of the Guitar Hero brand from 2006 to 2009. Archer is a fellow Activision alum with experience at Treyarch--but no direct connection to Call of Duty--and spent a year as studio head at Sony Online Entertainment, working on the canceled spy MMO The Agency.
Few details regarding U4iA's first title were given, but the announcement does specify that targeted platforms include social networks and mobile devices. A beta of U4iA's first title is set to launch in 2012.