Microsoft working on four free-to-play games

Microsoft's Lift London studio working on four F2P games for connected devices, with studio boss adding that the industry needs to rethink what 'AAA' stands for.

by

Microsoft's Lift London studio is working on four projects, it has announced, all of which are free-to-play titles for tablet, mobile, and other connected platforms.

Speaking today at the Develop games conference in Brighton, Lift London boss and ex-Rare developer Lee Schuneman said the games are "powered by the cloud" and "working across all Microsoft platforms."

Lift London, which employs over 40 people, was unveiled by Microsoft executive Phil Harrison in January 2013, and the studio's focus is squarely on creating new IP for connected devices. Schuneman says that a 21st century audience needs to rethink what the oft-used gaming term 'AAA' actually stands for.

While the term AAA is normally associated with big-budget commercial games designed for core audiences, Schuneman says "AAA is not about team size, or budget, or what device it's on," but is instead "about quality and audience scale."

"Clash of Clans is AAA. Halo is AAA," adds Schuneman, saying that modern game development is "about how you represent your audience and generate content that's culturally relevant."

Discussion

161 comments
blackace
blackace

I've played a lot of free to play games and still playing them and haven't paid a dime. Even the ones I've purchased for $2-$10 have been worth way, way more then what I actually paided for it. if you weed out the crap games, there are plenty of gems that are free or dirt cheap. "Cut The Rope, Dungeon Hunter, Where's My Water, Candy Crush, Real Racing 3, SW: Angry Birds are just a small sample.

orbit991
orbit991

Microsoft's idea of free to play will be to give you 10% of the game to play for free and sell you the rest in tiny pieces at ridiculous prices.

Colekern
Colekern

Free to play can be good, if done right. Knowing Microsoft, that probably won't be the case.

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

Seriously guys. It's time for Candy Crush Saga to be considered an AAA title.

kyle756
kyle756

I wish free to play would die, they are all fundamentally scams, you end up paying more

DukeMagnum
DukeMagnum

hahaha i guess we can scratch another 4 off that list of 15 exclusives this year.

Stasiss13
Stasiss13

I just wish Free-to-Play didn't mean Pay-to-Win-or-don't-Bother.

cirugo
cirugo

more bullshit "cloud" PR jargon

SpookyHoobster
SpookyHoobster

"AAA is not about team size, or budget, or what device it's on," but is instead "about quality and audience scale." 

No it IS about team size and budget INCLUDING quality and audience scale. That's what separates the indie market from the rest of the gaming industry, most games have a certain standard of quality that they need to meet because of their budget while indie games are allowed a small slip because its usually just a small project some guys put together.

Not every game should strive to have a AAA stamp on it but they should strive for quality and some audience scale.

jimbo102671
jimbo102671

In my opinion, "Free-to-Play" is nothing short of a scam, requiring you to pay real money for in-game items if you want to make any real progress in that game. The real sad thing about this is that gamers are falling for it hook, line, and sinker. We need to stand up against this practice by not getting involved with so-called "Free-to-Play" games in the first place.

Lost_Omega
Lost_Omega

So wait.  Halo ISN'T a big budget commercial game?  This guy doesn't know what he's talking about.  Halo is a AAA game as well as Heavy Rain, The Last Of Us, Gears of War, etc.  A crappy little money-sucking app on my phone is not AAA and shame on this guy for trying to sell it as such.  Microsoft needs to get their heads out of their asses.

Sun-Tzu-GE
Sun-Tzu-GE

I thought they are working on f2p games for the xbone but it seems they are not...Who the hell cares about mobile ? 

Butt_Chunx
Butt_Chunx

Yea right, this is Micro$haft we are talking about. Remember when Halo 3: ODST was supposed to be a $30 expansion and although it is not as big as a full sized game they decided to charge a full sized price or what about when Micro$haft announced Kinect Joy Ride as a free to play game but then charged for it. Micro$haft has been abusing DLC and Avatar Items to rape consumers wallets since almost as long as Xbox Live has been around and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

aovannor
aovannor

4 free to play games means 4 less normal games. Not good news.

wowgrandpa
wowgrandpa

and this guy is trying to redefine the word AAA. its already been redefined! 

you would think AAA would be in regards to quality, but that's just nonsense. if that were the case there are hundreds of indie titles that should be called AAA. and plenty of shitty $60 games that sold tons of pre-orders before the reviews could warn people that it was garbage and immediate gets a price cut within 2 weeks.

in the video game industry, AAA is based on a big marketing budget. period. 

hype train = AAA.

lbryson8
lbryson8

I can't wait to pay to win!!!

deadpeasant
deadpeasant

Free to play has to be the biggest misnomer in all of gaming's history.

CaveManCobb
CaveManCobb

I think I'm done with this website for a while. Every time I see any bit of news come out people hate for the sake of hate. I'm getting tired of it. There isn't a single rational person to have a conversation with on this site.

greenpolyp
greenpolyp

Microsofts needs to stop pretending that they are all about listening to the consumer.

baxwam
baxwam

Free to play is not free to play, when you require people to pay gold Microsoft.  In terms of Xbone 

jameson425
jameson425

In other words a game where I have to pay a monthly fee or buy into a Micro transaction type scheme? I'm all for F2P but that's when they are free...

RicanV
RicanV moderator

It's almost as if Microsoft cut and obliterated their entire gaming division.

tomservo51
tomservo51

I can't wait to play farmtown on xbone!

RIPWiiUlol
RIPWiiUlol

Everything Microsoft does is a fucking scam.

e5115271
e5115271

@Stasiss13 It doesn't. It means free-to-play for most of the game, and if you're at a point when you feel like you need to 'pay-to-win', then frankly you should pay something as you've probably been playing for quite some time, and got a lot of enjoyment from it.

e5115271
e5115271

@jimbo102671 Why is that a bad thing? If I've been playing a game for a few days/weeks or even months, I feel like I should support the devs with a microtransaction or two.

Art3Zero
Art3Zero

@jimbo102671 Games that do not require payment for progression: Dota 2, Guild Wars 2, League of Legends, etc.


We don't need to stand up. You need to sit down.

jimbo102671
jimbo102671

Sorry. That should've been "some gamers", not "gamers" as a whole as I'm clearly not the only one with this sentiment.

IJONOI
IJONOI

@aovannor Yea man agreed. I'm really not on this whole F2P, tablet, phone half-assed cheapo games. 

Some indy games are very cool like, but I wanna see more QUALITY big budgets instead. 

Lost_Omega
Lost_Omega

@wowgrandpa Who's to say an indie game can't be AAA.  I think Bastion and Limbo are two good examples of AAA indie games.

rann89
rann89

@CaveManCobb It's the internet. Idiots can vent as stupidly as they want to because it's anonymous. All the decent people just don't post; they're reading the article and moving on.

rem234
rem234

@CaveManCobb I am completely with you. Ive seen so much hate. And i mean you can find justifications for some of it. But so often its just hating for the sake of hating. And that just wears on you.

 Id rather enjoy the cool games both systems are coming out with, and be happy that the changes are better for the fans than find new ways to complain about it all.

rem234
rem234

@baxwam How is that a point when these are listed as non xbox devices. They are clearly talking about tablets and mobile games and you are just looking for another reason to bring in arguments.

pspearman
pspearman

@jameson425 And Microsofts connected devices (Windows 8 tablets and smartphones) do not require gold.

grove12345
grove12345

@RIPWiiUlol Better than reading another article how Nintendo WiiU is failing only to hear Nintendo brag about it and pretend its a good thing.

ReginaldSpanke
ReginaldSpanke

@Art3Zero @jimbo102671 LoL does, in order to unlock a different hero you MUST PAY.

wowgrandpa
wowgrandpa

@Lost_Omega@wowgrandpa to publishers and their shareholders, AAA is code for big profit. profit has nothing to do with quality.

an indie game doesn't reach a large enough audience or have enough profit per sale to be considered AAA to them and their shareholders. plain and simple.

see, AAA has become just another term in the industry that doesn't sit well with the gamers, it is associated with other terms like day 1 dlc, pre-order exclusives, premium member, etc. 

so these big wigs want to try to get out there and try to brainwash us into thinking they care about us, that when they refer to AAA they don't mean what we think...

its like mitt romney gets caught talking behind closed doors about the 47%, and then tries to come out in damage control mode to try to redefine what he meant when he said it.

IJONOI
IJONOI

@rem234 @baxwam Not sure if he's talking about buying in game gold/currencies like you do in most F2Ps or Xbox Live Gold... 

Art3Zero
Art3Zero

@ReginaldSpanke Influence points are acquired through matches for FREE. Stop commenting before you make a bigger fool of yourself.

Landsharkk
Landsharkk

@ReginaldSpanke No you don't.  You can buy all the heroes using rewards you get from playing the game. No real money required.