It is not news that the business model of a video game is linked to the design of the title. In the heyday of the arcade, the mechanics of almost all the games were designed to maximize revenue per user. The fighting genre owes part of its success and its naturalness to the competitive ability of being able to challenge the person who was playing with only one credit. Times were different and the mentality with which the games were developed: the mechanisms were built in such a way as to favor the most skilled players, while the novices had to make up for their shortcomings with credits. Theoretically, this way of making money was not the most effective, but, no doubt, allowed to reach a higher level (and the way to get it was to have a minimum credit).
A few years later came the first console that began to change everything. Why leave home to “rent” a title to play a few minutes, if you have a version (though usually less complete) in the comfort of your home? The new system has allowed us to engage new consumers to a particular platform, the initial cost of a console would suggest that a user would purchase a minimum of at least 2 titles to justify the expense. However, it should not be seen as an investment because it is known to all by now that technological devices depreciate rapidly, but there are many buyers who perceive the phenomenon in this way and remain linked, with a good deal of loyalty to the brand.
Today, the arcades are no longer a niche business culture that is a real possibility. But consoles are not exempt from suffering a similar crisis, and even some people think that soon will disappear. The current business model that presents AAA class games for 50 euro with a turnover of tens of millions of euro console and the average cost of 150 euro is not sustainable. The competition is brutal: Companies that can not adapt to market changes, they disappear. After all, our economic system tends inevitably to the crisis. The strength of capitalism is that it always changes and the cycle is present in all sectors of industry and the technological undergoes changes even more dramatic.
What are the prospects? Every game developer responds to this question in its own way but the result of all the answers seem to converge on the same alleged remedy: return to free-to-play. The idea is simple: instead of restricting access to your game with a barrier against payment, try to rack up as many users as possible and then monetize the huge database of players you have met. We are convinced that the console will not disappear soon, but I imagine a future in which many expenses will follow the initial purchase. Today, companies invest a lot of money in looking for alternative ways to make an income that allows them to subsidize the cost millionaires needed to develop a game. In the past, the creation of a title required a team of 20 people, but currently, this number amounts to hundreds. So on one hand, the costs go up, and secondly, users are not able to afford extra expenses.
Companies like Blizzard, Valve or Crytek begin to experience the business model of F2P and this means that it has great potential. Although we can not say that the current model will be replaced quickly, we can not think of a hybrid scenario, where developers and console manufacturers will be engaged to diversify their mechanisms to make money. Make some free products in itself is not a negative choice: companies need to simply acquire a different mindset to begin to experiment with it.