Wargaming: "We will push free-to-play hard"

CEO Victor Kislyi says Microsoft needed convincing about free-to-play viability on consoles, says the company will understand "when they see the first check..."

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Microsoft needed convincing about the viability of free-to-play games on consoles, according to Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi, whose company is bringing World of Tanks to Xbox 360 this summer.

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"It did take a lot of our efforts to convince Microsoft that free-to-play was something worth doing on Xbox," Kislyi told Eurogamer. "But it will be a historical moment when the first huge free-to-play game arrives on consoles."

The first free-to-play game on Xbox 360 was last October's Happy Wars, which has attracted more than 2 million players to date. Kislyi believes free-to-play's arrival on consoles is the start of something big.

"It's the beginning of a new era," he said. "And Microsoft will understand that when they see the first check…"

Kislyi also addressed consumer reaction to free-to-play games, saying that the perception of such titles is changing and Wargaming isn't backing away from the model anytime soon.

"When we and Riot games started evangelising free-to-play in the West we were met with a huge amount of resistance from both the media and consumers," Kislyi said. "But that is changing. We will push free-to-play hard. No choice."

World of Tanks for Xbox 360 is not exactly free-to-play, as players must have an Xbox Live Gold subscription ($5/month) to play the game. Kisyli is unhappy about this requirement. The game is expected to launch in full this summer.

Also in the interview, Kisyli revealed player statistics for the PC version of World of Tanks. He said the average player spends 3 hours in the game per day, while the global average monthly spending per user is $7. Japanese gamers spend the most, Kisyli said, followed by players in the United States and China.

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