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Report: MSFT Working on Free-to-Play for Xbox

By - Source: Develop | B 27 comments

Word on the street is that free-to-play games are coming to the Xbox 360.

Microsoft is reportedly working on a microtransactions service that would allow users to play games for free while charging for additional features. According to Develop, Redmond is calling on developers to discuss possible free-to-play game deals. Under the free-to-play price structure, players can play the game for free and Microsoft will make its money from in game purchases of different objects or upgrades.

The news follows Valve’s decision to make Team Fortress 2 free-to-play, with any profit coming from in-game transactions. Generally viewed as a better option than in-game advertising, there is still the argument that a free-to-play model affords wealthier players an unfair advantage.

Microsoft has not yet commented on the reports of a free-to-play price model.

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  • 7 Hide
    the_krasno , June 25, 2011 9:54 AM
    But in tf2 you can get all weapons as a ftp player. You get caps on backpack size and cosmetic changes only, the gameplay will still be balanced.
  • 3 Hide
    elcentral , June 25, 2011 10:22 AM
    why not make xbox free online like all athers
  • 2 Hide
    knowom , June 25, 2011 10:39 AM
    "Generally viewed as a better option than in-game advertising, there is still the argument that a free-to-play model affords wealthier players an unfair advantage." Riot did a great job of proving the free-to-play model can work without giving a unfair advantage with League of Legends in terms of game play you can earn anything other than cosmetic changes for free in league of legends.

    The only unfair advantage to the wealthy is they can get said access to everything more quickly and conveniently with less hassle, but that's true in pretty much all aspects of life regarding the wealthy and in any game that's not merely skill based and is item based the wealthy can always find a means to get a advantage regardless of breaking the EULA or not.
  • 1 Hide
    Graham_71 , June 25, 2011 11:24 AM
    IMO in-game advertising would be the better option, but not in-your-face adverts like on here, im thinking much less intrusive like streaming regular TV ads to in-game monitor screens with a convincing audible range as well, hot air balloons or biplanes in the sky displaying ads, or even in-game items like drinking Pepsi to regenerate health lol
  • -8 Hide
    reggieray , June 25, 2011 1:25 PM
    FU MS and shove your crapbox service up in a stinky dark place where you pulled it out from.
  • -5 Hide
    dread_cthulhu , June 25, 2011 3:45 PM
    articleGenerally viewed as a better option than in-game advertising, there is still the argument that a free-to-play model affords wealthier players an unfair advantage.


    Capitalism at its finest...
  • -2 Hide
    rohitbaran , June 25, 2011 4:16 PM
    So, Valve has inspired M$.
  • 0 Hide
    skaz , June 25, 2011 4:31 PM

    The next Starburst commercial is going to be about "free to play games".
  • 0 Hide
    drwho1 , June 25, 2011 4:58 PM
    Xbox Live should be FREE just like PlayStation Network.
    At least to play games online, download/upload game related stuff etc... then charge for downloading games, new game-levels, DLC and things like that. I don't have or care about M$ console, I prefer my PS3 for multiple reasons, but at the same time I don't think is fear for 360 users that they have to pay to play games that they have already paid for.
  • -3 Hide
    drwho1 , June 25, 2011 5:00 PM
    Sorry: I meant fair NOT "fear".... oooops
  • 1 Hide
    alextheblue , June 25, 2011 6:32 PM
    dread_cthulhuCapitalism at its finest...
    Yes, I want my zero dollars back! Seriously? If a game is F2P, that means that people that couldn't afford to play it AT ALL get to play it. People who would be able to buy it can still play it, and they can buy some fancy downloadables to help the developer keep their staff employed. You know, employed? Get paid? Feed their children?
    rohitbaranSo, Valve has inspired M$.
    Valve didn't invent F2P. Far from it, it's been around for a long time. But F2P has gotten big enough now that even some major titles are F2P (or hybrid like some MMOs). So now more and more of the big boys are getting involved.
    drwho1Xbox Live should be FREE just like PlayStation Network.
    Should they employ the same non-encrypted-passwords and unpatched-with-known-vulnerabilities security? Should they fail to sanitize input? You get what you pay for.

    Same with F2P games, regardless of PC or console. If you pay nothing, why should you expect to get everything paying players do? Normally games cost money up front - with F2P you have a choice. Also, not all F2P games seriously handicap free players. A lot of them just make it faster to get things if you buy them, and a lot of the pay items are just bonus stuff or cosmetic and don't really matter.

    How well it plays out depends on the developer of the individual game. Some F2P games are pretty darn fair, and some are poor. If it is a really bad setup, the game will probably not do that well.
  • 0 Hide
    knownballer , June 26, 2011 2:09 PM
    alextheblueYes, I want my zero dollars back! Seriously? If a game is F2P, that means that people that couldn't afford to play it AT ALL get to play it. People who would be able to buy it can still play it, and they can buy some fancy downloadables to help the developer keep their staff employed. You know, employed? Get paid? Feed their children?Valve didn't invent F2P. Far from it, it's been around for a long time. But F2P has gotten big enough now that even some major titles are F2P (or hybrid like some MMOs). So now more and more of the big boys are getting involved.Should they employ the same non-encrypted-passwords and unpatched-with-known-vulnerabilities security? Should they fail to sanitize input? You get what you pay for.Same with F2P games, regardless of PC or console. If you pay nothing, why should you expect to get everything paying players do? Normally games cost money up front - with F2P you have a choice. Also, not all F2P games seriously handicap free players. A lot of them just make it faster to get things if you buy them, and a lot of the pay items are just bonus stuff or cosmetic and don't really matter.How well it plays out depends on the developer of the individual game. Some F2P games are pretty darn fair, and some are poor. If it is a really bad setup, the game will probably not do that well.



    I kind of understand his point on xbox live. After I got my pc I had a hard time justifying renewing my xbox live account. I imagine you can justify the cost to a degree, especially after the playstation network fiasco, but at very least it shouldn't have gone up in price.

    Now I'm in favor of the FTP model, or even a progressive model like steam employed, where you change the way you make money off a game through it's lifespan. I think this could definitely help those smaller market games like flight sims. Whatever helps keep the cost reasonable on games.
  • -1 Hide
    aaron88_7 , June 26, 2011 3:42 PM
    It should be more expensive so only adults can afford it. The last think I want to hear over my 5.1 surround sound is some annoying kid in the game. Xbox Live was so much better when it was still in beta and most people were 30-40. It didn't even matter if the best game was a retarded toy racing game lol

    It's only $50 a year you cheapos. Easily affordable for anyone that has a job. I don't get what the big deal is.
  • -4 Hide
    captaincharisma , June 26, 2011 5:16 PM
    alextheblueYes, I want my zero dollars back! Seriously? If a game is F2P, that means that people that couldn't afford to play it AT ALL get to play it. People who would be able to buy it can still play it, and they can buy some fancy downloadables to help the developer keep their staff employed. You know, employed? Get paid? Feed their children?Valve didn't invent F2P. Far from it, it's been around for a long time. But F2P has gotten big enough now that even some major titles are F2P (or hybrid like some MMOs). So now more and more of the big boys are getting involved.Should they employ the same non-encrypted-passwords and unpatched-with-known-vulnerabilities security? Should they fail to sanitize input? You get what you pay for.Same with F2P games, regardless of PC or console. If you pay nothing, why should you expect to get everything paying players do? Normally games cost money up front - with F2P you have a choice. Also, not all F2P games seriously handicap free players. A lot of them just make it faster to get things if you buy them, and a lot of the pay items are just bonus stuff or cosmetic and don't really matter.How well it plays out depends on the developer of the individual game. Some F2P games are pretty darn fair, and some are poor. If it is a really bad setup, the game will probably not do that well.


    my god you're pathetic taking shots at sony becuse of somthing that happened 3 months ago. what next you are going to take a shot at somthing thT HAPPENED 5 YEARS AGO VERY CLEVER LMAO

    anyone who thinks online gaming is crap on PSN are the ones who have a crappy Internet connection or are just playing over wifi.

    end of rant now you sheep can get back to humping your RROD 360's while playing trying to play halo. see i am just as clever and sharp witted as you LOL
  • 1 Hide
    cookoy , June 26, 2011 5:56 PM
    i like F2P try-outs. then if i find the game really enjoyable, i'd seriously think about spending some bucks to upgrade. less risk of buying over-hyped lemons.
  • 0 Hide
    demonhorde665 , June 26, 2011 9:37 PM
    Ipersonaly think this is lame , after MS , insisted that valve's dlc's (that are free on pc versions of their games) carrya price tag on xbox live , now they want to start makign free to play games.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , June 26, 2011 10:42 PM
    "free-to-play price model"
    wtf did i just read at the end? isnt it FREE to play?
    drwho1Xbox Live should be FREE just like PlayStation Network.At least to play games online, download/upload game related stuff etc... then charge for downloading games, new game-levels, DLC and things like that. I don't have or care about M$ console, I prefer my PS3 for multiple reasons, but at the same time I don't think is fear for 360 users that they have to pay to play games that they have already paid for.


    i will never pay to play anything besides an mmo, due to server costs. any fps worth playing lets you run your own private server and if i want to play the game, i will use private servers if they are available. you are not charging me 50-60$ a year on top of 15$ a month for the server.

    but i believe 8 million people pay for live... i gave up this fight a long time ago... still will NEVER pay for it.
    alextheblueYes, I want my zero dollars back! Seriously? If a game is F2P, that means that people that couldn't afford to play it AT ALL get to play it. People who would be able to buy it can still play it, and they can buy some fancy downloadables to help the developer keep their staff employed. You know, employed? Get paid? Feed their children?Valve didn't invent F2P. Far from it, it's been around for a long time. But F2P has gotten big enough now that even some major titles are F2P (or hybrid like some MMOs). So now more and more of the big boys are getting involved.Should they employ the same non-encrypted-passwords and unpatched-with-known-vulnerabilities security? Should they fail to sanitize input? You get what you pay for.Same with F2P games, regardless of PC or console. If you pay nothing, why should you expect to get everything paying players do? Normally games cost money up front - with F2P you have a choice. Also, not all F2P games seriously handicap free players. A lot of them just make it faster to get things if you buy them, and a lot of the pay items are just bonus stuff or cosmetic and don't really matter.How well it plays out depends on the developer of the individual game. Some F2P games are pretty darn fair, and some are poor. If it is a really bad setup, the game will probably not do that well.


    get what you pay for... i like the concept. i dont pay to play battlefield 2 bad company online, and i get a damn good game. i want to play on live... i would have to pay 50$ on top of another miminum 40$ to play it there, and the game is worse on consoles. so beause i got it for 10$ on the pc, i should have a worse experiance than 90$ on the console... right?

    the world doesn't work that way.
    sony f'ed up with not encrypting, and lax security (remember multi national conglomerate here, even free, security should have been FAR better)
    but as for value, xbox live... crap, everyone with a mic speaks no matter what, and that means that even kids get to yell their obscenities. on ps3, you have to buy a mic seperatly, many think thats cheap on sony part, but its an over all good thing because the people who have something to say get a mic, no one is going to pay (at the time of launch) 80$ just to call someone a n@#%$& or scream f!@#
    knownballerI kind of understand his point on xbox live. After I got my pc I had a hard time justifying renewing my xbox live account. I imagine you can justify the cost to a degree, especially after the playstation network fiasco, but at very least it shouldn't have gone up in price. Now I'm in favor of the FTP model, or even a progressive model like steam employed, where you change the way you make money off a game through it's lifespan. I think this could definitely help those smaller market games like flight sims. Whatever helps keep the cost reasonable on games.


    it went up in price because they are bloating their service with crap like espn and others such things.
    aaron88_7It should be more expensive so only adults can afford it. The last think I want to hear over my 5.1 surround sound is some annoying kid in the game. Xbox Live was so much better when it was still in beta and most people were 30-40. It didn't even matter if the best game was a retarded toy racing game lolIt's only $50 a year you cheapos. Easily affordable for anyone that has a job. I don't get what the big deal is.


    lets see here, renting a decent appartment - 500$ a month.
    food - 200+ a month
    internet - 30+ a month for not even high speed speeds
    various other utilities - 300$ a month minimum, electricity alone could add another 200$ to that bill

    so 1130-1330 minimum a month.

    friend has a 10$ an hour full time (40 hours +) job. it pays him on average 280$ a week (no over time).
    that comes out to 1120 a month.

    yea, go on, tell me that "if you have a job its cheap" line of bulls@%#

    even if you come out ahead, you still have to put money away for various expenses, and unknown expenses. a the end of the day if you have even 100$ a month to spend freely you are f@#%ing lucky.

  • 2 Hide
    someguynamedmatt , June 26, 2011 11:14 PM
    On a more random note, thank you Jane for providing a beacon of hope amidst the catastrophic grammar wreck that is becoming Tom's. Good to see that we still have one competent writer here.

    On a less random note, here's a statement to those of you who are whining because XBox Live isn't free. You get what you pay for in life. That's all there is to it. Please, take note of the reliability difference between XBL and PSN. Huh. And you can afford a $300 console but not $20 every three months to be able to play online? You know, you can always actually get up and talk with your friends for once instead of whining when you can't takl to them from your house since your membership ran out. And servers cost money to run and maintain. There's no way around that. Oh, but I thought PSN was free, you say? Well, let me go back a week ago to when you were making fun of Sony for losing so much money to the PS3. Yeah. I thought so.
  • -2 Hide
    alidan , June 27, 2011 3:24 AM
    someguynamedmattOn a more random note, thank you Jane for providing a beacon of hope amidst the catastrophic grammar wreck that is becoming Tom's. Good to see that we still have one competent writer here.On a less random note, here's a statement to those of you who are whining because XBox Live isn't free. You get what you pay for in life. That's all there is to it. Please, take note of the reliability difference between XBL and PSN. Huh. And you can afford a $300 console but not $20 every three months to be able to play online? You know, you can always actually get up and talk with your friends for once instead of whining when you can't takl to them from your house since your membership ran out. And servers cost money to run and maintain. There's no way around that. Oh, but I thought PSN was free, you say? Well, let me go back a week ago to when you were making fun of Sony for losing so much money to the PS3. Yeah. I thought so.

    300$ down payment that i have the console to play a game, now add another 500$ for the consoles life expectancy (microsoft) for live.

    servers cost money... what a novel concept... you know what we do on the pc? we rent our own servers for a game we like, and people who make the game run servers too, what does microsoft do... let me think here... p2p multiplayer for MOST games, and some that have dedicated servers, even if player owned, you have to pay microsoft to play on them, NOW for added features like xbox live, well... you got me beat there, steam sure as hell doesnt do most of the social crap for free, gmail wont let me send a voice message and attachement up to 20mb, and for god sake, help me if i have to run team speak for in game voice chat.

    wait... did everything i just mention equal if not surpass everything live does... FOR FREE.

    o, and for a console equivalent, you have ps3.

    and i sincerely hope live gets hacked and compromised worse than the ps3, just because i want people who say 60$ a year is cheap and you are cheap for not paying it. @#@(ing kids who dont remember how games use to be before xbox s@#( up online play.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 27, 2011 5:35 AM
    Free-to-play is a great idea, however, a lot of companies confuse it with whats really a Pay-to-win model.

    For example, there is a Free-to-play game called Mabinogi where you can "rebirth" your character. People willing to pay for a "rebirth", can "rebirth" once every week. Free-to-play players may "rebirth" once every 3 weeks.

    So whats the issue?

    People generally rebirth so that they can get more AP (Skill points) easily. Getting from Lvl 1 to Lvl 60 takes far less time and effort than getting from Lvl 61 to Lvl 100. In effect, a person who pays for a "rebirth" once a week while getting to Lvl 60 in between "rebirths" Will have far more AP than a free-to-play player in the same amount of time.
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