World of Tanks dev buys Day 1 Studios for console development

World of Tanks developer and publisher Wargaming has acquired Day 1 Studios as part of a move to enter console development. It paid $20 milllion for the maker of MechAssault and F.E.A.R. 3, and plans to put the studio, now named Wargaming West, to work on an unannounced console game. Wargaming's speciality is free-to-play MMOs, with World of Warships and World of Warplanes on the way too, so something F2P for consoles looks likely.

"The move into console game development is a huge step for Wargaming, as we begin to expand our presence into new platforms," Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi said in today's announcement. "We are looking forward to sharing the fruits of our labor soon."

Day 1 was working on a free-to-play stompy mech game for PC, Reign of Thunder. A notice on the official site says Reign of Thunder is "powering down for now" but teases "even bigger battles to come" as part of Wargaming. Whether that's a rebirth or simply a new big war game is a mystery for now.

"Wargaming is a clear leader in the free-to-play space and helps set the standard on which all other games in the genre strive for," new studio head Denny Thorley said. "Our team is extremely excited to start the first console project for Wargaming."

While the free-to-play model on PC has enabled huge high-budget games including World of Tanks, League of Legends, MechWarrior Online, PlanetSide 2 and Dota 2, on consoles the F2P market has looked more like the mobile scene of small games. That is starting to change, though, with games like Dust 514 on the horizon. F2P will undoubtedly become more important in the years to come, and on the next generation of consoles, so Wargaming is wise to get in now.