Skyrim suited for free-to-play, says ex-Battlefield dev

Former Battlefield Heroes manager says Bethesda RPG's systems translate well to microtransaction business model, is "100 percent confident" such a game will launch in coming years.

A free-to-play equivalent of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will ship in the next few years, former Battlefield Heroes and Battlefield Play4Free manager Ben Cousins said this week. Speaking at the Free-2-Play Summit in London (via Gamesindustry.biz), Cousins said the game systems of Skyrim would translate well to a free-to-play offering.

Cousins thinks gamers would enjoy a free-to-play Skyrim.

"I am totally 100 percent confident--I will bet large amounts of money--that we will have, in the next few years, a free-to-play equivalent of Skyrim," Cousins said. "A game like Skyrim, where you accrue skills and equipment over time, that you can play for hundreds of hours, is actually one of the easiest games to develop for a free-to-play model. That would be a big hit."

Cousins--who now heads up mobile game shop Ngmoco in Sweden--elaborated further, saying that almost all new games will sport free-to-play business models in the time ahead.

"In the future I believe free-to-play will be the way that nearly everyone plays games," he said. "It will be nearly every genre, and it will be nearly every platform."

The free-to-play market has proven attractive for a number of studios. Earlier this week, Syndicate developer Starbreeze revealed a new free-to-play project. Additionally, Guerrilla Games made the multiplayer component of Killzone 3 free, and the new Microsoft Flight is also available without an up-front purchase.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

194 comments
Vambran
Vambran

Free to play is a lie. It's just a glorified Demo. In most FTP games you are forced to spend money to interact in any meaningful way with the game world. At best FTP works like episode content. But i hope those with a fury ( Half-Life 2 episode never )

Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

There are already tons of games out there like that, Skyrim's main selling point is being offline. F2P MMO's are too much grind with little NPC interaction and boring combat that's designed with latency considerations.

vadagar1
vadagar1

like BF3??!!! well that could be fun, as long as we don't need to pay EVERY month (like some lame MMOs) but I'm not sure what he means here exactly.... is he saying skyrim could be a nice online co-op game like thingy or what??!!!!

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

If structured right, free to play can be great. There is absolutely nothing pay to win about League of Legends for example. Zero. They could screw it up perfectly by selling a higher tier of runes for cash, but they don't.

cheetahspirit
cheetahspirit

I'm seeing a lot of "no's" here. I hope Bethesda takes notice of this response.

maximo
maximo

I will pay to play skyrim, whether its a monthly subscription or it involves micro transactions. Im so excited right now

vannacut
vannacut

he s influenced by the free to play mobile games, where you have to pay hundreds of dollars for a new weapon. real dollars... real story, dear hunter, for iphone....

ThaLunatik
ThaLunatik

I much prefer a fixed cost for my single-player game experiences. DLCs of course add to the overall cost, but when I've played a game enough to know I like it then I can decide if some new content is worth a few dollars to me. In those cases I'm adding to the enjoyment I'm getting from a game I already enjoy though. Microtransaction-based play usually implies you need to pay to get ahead. I don't play microtransaction-based MMOs for the same reason. I really only have time enough to play one MMO interspersed with playing single-player console games, so while on the one hand it may seem logical to play a "free to play" MMO, in reality I'd rather drop the $16/mo and jump in to play whenever I want without feeling like I might have to spend some money to get somewhere significant.

CyberLips
CyberLips

BEN COUSINS , Y U NO STOP TAKING DRUGS?

CyberLips
CyberLips

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

0-NGN-0
0-NGN-0

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

punkpunker
punkpunker

lol those user-created content what keeps skyrim afloat and well worth more then mircotransactions content release all together.

DevilD2005
DevilD2005

by the way, skyrim was worth the price of admission, and to cheapen its image so people could bs microtrans is bad for the industry.

DevilD2005
DevilD2005

yeah but microtrans games always feel whored out to people willing to pay.

megakick
megakick

Oblivion had DLC and that stupid Armor horse. Only difference F2P would be you didn't have to put down $59.99 to buy the game? Not all F2P games are World of Warcraft clones.

Hurvl
Hurvl

F2P? Not interested.

oskuuu
oskuuu

u can't call a game free to play when u need to pay microtransactions to make progress :evil:

DenverNick
DenverNick

@BlackMinistrel That is a fair assessment. I believe it could be a very good thing as it would hold developers to a higher standard to provide quality content, because if they don't, then guess what, nobody is going to play and it will be a failure. We will control the fate of each and every game and not be forced to spend $60 on a game to make that opinion. A good example would be the early Skyrim issues, they would have been under a lot of pressure to get the issues fixed right away, or lose customers and money in the process. Instead, the people complaining had already paid their $60 so the only thing they potentially lost there were customers who had not bought the game. Balancing issues, or pay2win, is obviously an issue, but I am sure that is something that would be worked out of the system as it progresses. If a certain game does not, guess what, it was free and we don't have to play it. We control the destiny.

Rocker6
Rocker6

@djpetitte Well,thank you for expressing concern about me,but I like my basement,and no way Im leaving it. Who needs life and job anyway...

BigFeef
BigFeef

Thankfully Bethesda aren't a bunch of nickle-and-dimers. They produce quality games, they get huge sales, they make lots of money. They don't make excuses for when their games don't do well. Now if only the rest of the gaming industry would follow suit with a similar 'model', things would be looking up for gaming on a whole. But no... let's try to squeeze as much as we can from people with DLCs, 'free to play', etc for sub-par games because making quality games obviously isn't making us enough money... sickening what the industry I used to work for 10 years ago has come to now.

BlackMinistrel
BlackMinistrel

Free to play isn't an inherently evil model as many people think. They're indeed much harder to do right however, as it's very easy for devs to make the mistake of turning them into "Pay 2 Wins". I, for one, wouldn't want Bethesda to risk ruining this wonderful series, but I would definitely try a similar product with a F2P model from different developers.

DenverNick
DenverNick

@Armyboy5 No, you are not the only one who would be happy to see a switch to this model. It seems that most are just too ignorant to see the benefits this type of model would present to gamers as a whole. Not all of these games would be good, but half the games that come out today aren't anyway.

NicoC90
NicoC90

You get what you pay for. There are limits to every free service out there. Hulu and pandora follow the f2p model and it works up to a certain point. Yeah, you can listen to some music you'll probably like and you can watch a couple episodes of one of the shows you like, but can you spend all day watching every episode in a season or playing the newly released song on repeat? Nah. Same thing applies to f2p games except, at least for me, I'm not going to spend my time playing a mediocre version of what I actually WANT to be playing. Its kinda like playing demos all day.... It gets old fast.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

Bethesda already understands that this model would kill their franchises. Thankfully there really isn't that much different between Arena and Skyrim, or everything between -- it's simply a model that WORKS. "Ain't broke..." Ben Cousins is clearly a fool who can't see past his current dreck. "Number of registered players" does NOT equal "number of people who actually played for more than 2-5 hours." I mean, have you actually PLAYED either of those games? They're garbage...

djpetitte
djpetitte

@Rocker6 do you have a life? why are you posting the first comment on nearly every thread on this site. get a life and a job.

darkvaper
darkvaper

Just include a Co-play mod and we are all set to go ...

Yulaw2000
Yulaw2000

I like to own all the game so pay to win isn't the way for TES to go and I think Bethesda know that thankfully.

deadpeasant
deadpeasant

Every F2p MMO RPG i have played has had sub par gameplay to a standard game. It seems to me that they concentrate more on content for these games (so they can charge for it) than how much fun the game is to play.

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

@Prometheus you are kinda right expect for not all f2p game is p2w but yeah allot of them are dust 514 is going to be a f2p and only stuff that you pay for is to side upgrade like a wearing heavy armor with a sniper rifle or using heavy weapons in light armor but you can still go those with out spending dime because other players can sell it to you and other games it is mostly cosmetic changes like outfits that doesn't give you any bonuses and others games that you pay to unlock addition slots classes and races and some other stuff has well but yeah most f2p games are p2w but not all of them

DawnBlue
DawnBlue

@Scorchstar Hmm, is this related to the article somehow?

Prometheus
Prometheus

Players will eventually realize that "free to play" is "pay to win" and get sick of that business model. I know I have.

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

@aepervius anther words it would take forever to do anything in the game unless you pay for it and I have played games like that I don't any more because it just takes way to long to get anything done unless you pay for it and that method will turns me away from the game

xavvor1
xavvor1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

aepervius
aepervius

@stakeX007 "@Rocker6 - Your statement is based on the (almost certainly false) assumption that a F2P game/market can't be built with the quality of a AAA title... which is laughable if the entire industry heads in that direction" It isn't about the art direction, it is about the business model. A F2P model *need* to earn money thru the play otherwise it is givign a game for free. So what does it do ? It does the following : * it adds grindy activities, but allow you , for a price, to reduce the grind to a bearable level * it adds delays between activities , for example you may not rise a level more than once per X hours, or rise a skill points once per X hours, or do various activity only X time between rest, and allows you , for money, to increase the X or remove the limit * it makes task difficult artificially to do by introducing a mechanic , for example limited heals, limited resource, but allows you for money to buy resource. Resource can be as simple as a key to open a chest, bandage to heal or anything. * Area are cordoned off unless you pay money for the area. In a F2P MMO it might be good, but in a single player game this is DOWNRIGHT horrible. I , and as most people I know, do play single player game, because we can do it at our own pace, at our own difficulty setting, and heck, even spoil it with cheat if we want to , or experiment around. This is exactly the things which would be removed for a F2P single player model. PS: why GS refuse BR tags?

stormlord87
stormlord87

@Blitz8529 In complete agreement with you. EA buys, chews up and spits out studios without remorse. The best games in the future will be made by studios that remain stubbornly independent of major publishers' total fixation with mass-marketing and the bottom line

aepervius
aepervius

Single player F2P ? With in shop store ? Why not drown kitten while you are at it ? Without me thanks.

Scorchstar
Scorchstar

Idiot. I would pay 500 dollars for a Elder Scrolls MMO.

fightingfish18
fightingfish18

This guy's a moron. If anything, I'd call kickstarter the "future of games" At least for PC, Android, iOS etc.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

@Purpledust ha, it's funny cause it's actually free and you don't have to pay for it

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

the guy is saying a game such as Skyrim could be free-to-play, not Skyrim itself nor anything related to the Elder Scrolls realm. read the whole damn article before commenting.

Mega_Skrull
Mega_Skrull

Kill this guy now! Keep Skyrim and it's brothers away from microtransactions and all milking ****

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

@stan_boyd you are kinda right it is a good idea when most of the game is free and the content that isn't free isn't game breaking or give people who bought it a huge advantage if it does that then it is a pay to win game

Blitz8529
Blitz8529

Greed is going to kill gaming. Look how many developers EA has killed off. I stopped buying Total War games after Napoleon Total War because of Creative Assemblys greed and I have over 2000 hour spent playing their games.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

meh I don't mind F2P I play lord of the rings online and dungeons and dragons online which are both free to play and I get to choose how much I spend on them. Its not a bad system for MMO's I would rather that than a monthly subscription. But for single player games I think I will pass.

toddx77
toddx77

Its bad enough now almost every game has gotten content taken out for DLC, it can only get worse from F2P.

Nzilla
Nzilla

Words cannot describe how much i hate F2P. I will not buy them, i will not play them.

MatrixKing
MatrixKing

Wow, I am impressed on how many other gamers share the same view I have for F2P games. A beloved sci-fi franchise that just came back is currently F2P.. *points finger to Hi-Rez. So long Tribes.