Namco Bandai: Free-to-play 'can't be high quality'

Social and mobile have devalued games in the eyes of the consumer, and free-to-play titles are limited by nature, says Namco Bandai Europe VP.

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Speaking at Cloud Gaming Europe, Namco Bandai's senior vice president for Europe Olivier Comte, lambasted the free-to-play sector, and he suggested that recent changes to the gaming market were potentially very damaging to the industry in the long run.

"Free-to-play games can't be high quality," Comte said when discussing different ways of charging for games. While he said he was willing to consider all funding models for Namco's games, the free-to-play route did not lend itself to high-quality game development.

"We need to put certain value on certain work," says Comte.

He also said that very low price iPhone games and free social games had changed consumer expectations significantly. Getting hold of games for such a low price, he said, meant that the perceived value of all games was currently much lower than it had been in the past. Publishers need to address this over the next few years to avoid their revenue collapsing.

"We have 2,000 or 3,000 developers," Comte said. And according to Comte, it's just not possible to switch to a business model that relies on giving their work away for nothing. "We need to put certain value on certain work," he said. "When you're a big company… you can't take risks too quickly, you can't make a change just because there's a fashion for a couple of years; you want to be there in 20 or 30 years."

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