F2P Made More Money Than Alice: Madness Returns
American McGee, the ex-id Software Staffer behind Alice and its sequel, reckons that home consoles were doomed from the very beginning - and Free To Play is already more profitable than consoles ever were.
“Earning out on a console title is like digging out from under an avalanche,” he told Game Informer. “If you don’t get out from under the advances within a very short period of time it’s all over. F2P offers an opportunity to release something into the wild and improve it continually until it returns a profit. Making good on the opportunity is in no way guaranteed, but the option is there. This all being the case, we’ve already seen our online F2P games generate more profit and a better ROI than [Alice: Madness Returns] ever did, or likely will.”
Having moved from AA development to the mobile and social space, McGee believes that the home console is simply doomed to extinction and was never going to be a sustainable business model in perpetuity. "Though the console market extracted two decades of profit and mindshare from Western developers and consumers, it was unsustainable from inception,” he continued. “Looked at from the perspective of external markets where consoles aren’t the foundation of the gaming ecosystem, the idea of physical media (discs) and fixed location gaming (consoles) now seems anachronistic."
It's not all doom and gloom. According to McGee, the transition from consoles to more open mobile platforms will benefit both consumers and developers.
"It’s worth examining where the money flowed in a market where consoles dominated and how they helped consolidate power among a handful of publishers. The transition we’re now seeing is a revolution of the model that will lead to greater freedom for future publishers, developers and consumers.”
McGee joins a growing number of developers, publishers and pundits who believe that the next generation of consoles will likely be the last, replaced by free-to-play games streaming from Tablets and mobile devices over the next decade.