World of Tanks is a big catch for Microsoft, even if that may not have seemed to be the case at E3. But 60 million users is nothing to sneer at, and with free to play becoming more ubiquitous, there's a market here with huge potential.
Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi is under no illusions, though, of the task ahead. Consoles have been slow to embrace flexible monetisation models, and Microsoft are hardly known for their flexibility and open nature, particularly when it comes to anything outside of traditional publishing model.
"With Microsoft, unfortunately it's not 100 per cent free-to-play because it requires the Gold subscription to Xbox Live membership," Kislyi explained to Games Industry. "But that's a Microsoft requirement which is valid for us and for Activision and for EA and all other partners. They cannot drop it for us because they would have to drop it for everyone and it would be a total mess for them.
"This we have to tolerate, which I am not happy about. I would rather add another 30-40 million non-golden members and they will monetise occasionally."
It's clear that there's work to be done, but rather than Microsoft leading Wargaming through the world of console gaming, Kislyi is determined for his company to forge a new path forward, smashing through a few boundaries, and pulling Microsoft along with them.
"Microsoft announced for Xbox One - thank God - they are moving to real currency," he continued. "We will teach - excuse me - we will advise them on how to embrace, sometime in the future, different payment methods like SMS. Right now, it's only credit cards used to buy Microsoft Points which we know is suicide in free-to-play."
It's a two-way process, though, and Kislyi is certainly not whining about the negatives to dealing with lumbering companies such as Microsoft. Instead, the way forward is best tackled by working together, though that doesn't preclude a few rules being broken.
"Everybody knows Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are traditional console companies which are huge in their own merit. They have lots of divisions, lots of departments, lots of regulations. We respect that, and whining and complaining about that structure does not help," said Kislyi. "We're now working hard with Microsoft's people as a team to build this and to break a couple of rules inside Microsoft.
"We as a company are definitely insisting on breaking all the rules. That's the definition of free-to-play. Free-to-play has to be transparent, right? And Microsoft traditionally, as a retail boxed business model, has a lot of restrictions - technological, legal, and whatnot. For them and for us this is a big move forward and it's quite risky."
As for Microsoft's infamously draconian policies regarding certification and patching -- a costly, laborious process on Xbox 360 -- Kislyi is diplomatic but hard: "If console companies don't adapt to the new realities of the entertainment industry they will have hard times."
"With free-to-play on PC you release updates instantly if you need to for bug fixes and if the community demands something," he added. "With console and the certification process it takes time. But just relying on that retail $60 box - it's obvious that's not going to work. You see other publishers having huge trouble trying to keep with the boxed business or trying to do subscription MMOs. Many of them are not able to do it very well."