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John Romero says "PC is decimating console" through free-to-play

Ghost Recon Commander: a free-to-play game by Romero-run Loot Drop.

The PC is making the consoles its bitch. Or so onetime Doom designer John Romero would have us believe.

“With PC you have free-to-play and Steam games for five bucks,” said Romero. “The PC is decimating console, just through price. Free-to-play has killed a hundred AAA studios.”

Romero’s last PC game was the free-to-play Ghost Recon Commander. Eventually, he reckons, the model’s going to lose its stigma.

“People will settle into [the mindset] that there is a really fair way of doing it, and the other way is the dirty way,” he told GamesIndustry. “Hopefully that other way is easily noticeable by people and the quality design of freemium rises and becomes a standard. 

“That’s what everybody is working hard on. People are spending a lot of time trying to design this the right way. They want people to want to give them money, not have to. If you have to give money, you're doing it wrong.”

Free and cheap games are a modern advantage the PC has over the consoles. But some of the reasons Romero prefers the PC are old favourites.

“The problem with console is that it takes a long time for a full cycle,” he said. “With PCs, it’s a continually evolving platform, and one that supports backward compatibility, and you can use a controller if you want; if I want to play a game that’s [made] in DOS from the ‘80s I can, it’s not a problem. 

“You can't do that on a console. Consoles aren’t good at playing everything. With PCs if you want a faster system you can just plug in some new video cards, put faster memory in it, and you’ll always have the best machine that blows away PS4 or Xbox One."

Do you see yourself coming around to free-to-play anytime soon? Last year, BioWare reported that Star Wars: The Old Republic’s free to play option was bringing in thousands of new players every day.

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Shriven's picture
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Romero, the Keith Moon of PC.

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Dog Pants's picture
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I'm already round to free-to-play. Dota 2 and Planetside 2 are two of the best games I've played in years, both are free to play, neither are compromised by their business model. It's taken a while for companies to start to find the right balance, and so a lot of people are still quite rightly cynical, but now that we can see it being done properly we can blame the company when it's done badly, not the model.

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avatar
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I just hate the word free-to-play. It's like curse word to me. The companies have really dragged the word through the dirt and beyond. It used to mean something much nicer than today. When I see it, I just wonder what imaginative ways they can gouge money from people.

Just because something is free does not mean it's good. Talking about games and f2p it's usually quite the opposite!

Personally I don't like mobas like lol and dota2, the community is so toxic. It has nothing to do with them being f2p tho, but it sure attracts all kinds of scum. As for planetside 2, I don't like it at all, I prefer the original one. It was just more fun and had a much better battle rank system. Obviously the same system wouldn't have worked in a f2p so they had to... "change" it to make some money. You can't run a game for FREE because then you don't make any money!

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Empyre's picture
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I certainly again with you about certain free to play pricing models. Two games that come to mind are Warthunder and World of Tanks, where they have people paying a monthly fee and then adding "Premium" extras while asking for more cash on top of your subcription.

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