Crytek plans to go exclusively free-to-play

Crysis developer Crytek is looking to break away from the boxed model of video games and forge a free-to-play future for itself. Speaking at E3, CEO Cevat Yerli explained that once Crytek's completed its contracted boxed games, it'll only make free-to-play games.

"As we were developing console games we knew, very clearly, that the future is online and free-to-play," Yerli told VideoGamer. "Right now we are in the transitional phase of our company, transitioning from packaged goods games into an entirely free-to-play experience."

On top of finishing up Crysis 3, Crytek is working on Ryse for Kinect. Its first free-to-play game is PC FPS Warface, though it's dabbled in mobile too so that's another possible avenue.

Yerli explained that Crytek plans to make its free-to-play titles of "console game quality" so they stand out from the herd, which means hefty budgets of $10-30 million.

"I think this is a new breed of games that has to happen to change the landscape, and be the most user-friendly business model," he said, criticising the path traditional publisher have taken to monetise the online world. "If you look at what kind of games are done in the packaged goods market, with DLCs and premium services and whatnot, it's literally milking the customers to death."

Free-to-play is certainly still a tricky model, though. If players aren't invested enough in the game they won't buy microtransaction items, and if paid items are too powerful then you run the risk of alienating players. It can certainly be done; F2P games including Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, League of Legends and Tribes: Ascend seem to have struck a popular balance.

So how's Warface looking, anyway? Here's a little peek at some gameplay from E3:

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