Free To Play Skyrim Equivalent Will Be Released In Two Years (Part 1)

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Ngmoco predicts that a Skyrim free-to-play game will be available in less than two years. F2P budgets are about to hit a billion, market cap of $100 billion will be reached.

Clamouring for the Elder Scroll series to offer multiplayer? Well, you’ve got your wish. Sort of

Free to play markets have been booming in the past few years, with more developers – both in-browser and on mobile devices, such as the iPhone – offering games for free with microtransactions to bring in revenue. Temple Run for iOS is a game with this financial model. Predictions are now coming suggesting the market will launch its own equivalent of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

The prediction of a free-to-play Skyrim comes from Ngmoco – the developer of Rolando – and its executive, Ben Cousins.

Speaking at the Free-2-Play summit in London, Cousins put the F2P market in three categories: 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0

‘Version history’

He describes 1.0 as the 90s, in Korea, with “games like Kart Rider, where in-game transactions were limited to cosmetic and customisation items.” At this stage, the average value of a user was $5. The past.

The present is 2.0. Cousin said companies deliberately add bad game mechanics, usually content restrictions, to force players into spending money to improve the experience (speeding up the construction of a building in CityVille, for example). At this stage, the average value of a user is $20.

The future – 3.0 – is described by Cousin as the “monetisation-super-highway.” This basically means that players can spend whatever they want, catering to all players.

3.0 will feature in-game purchases that “include gameplay features and functions” targeting “positive player responses like excitement, delight and risk-taking.” Buying in-game in the future equates, Cousin says, to “buying insurance” and wil change in the next few years.

Cousin says that free-to-play developers will work on single player experiences that are seen on consoles, which will have monetisation. He also believes F2P developers will move through all genres, which sounds pretty scary.

His bombshell came when he said that “I am totally 100 per cent confident … that we will have … a free-to-play equivalent of Skyrim.” How monetisation would factor into a game that large is down to developers, but it creating bad game experiences on purpose would quickly drive consumers away.

Published: Thursday, March 29th, 2012 Last Modified: March 29, 2012

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