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Crytek considered free-to-play multiplayer for Crysis 2 and 3

Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli talks about making Crysis free-to-play, and how it will make the franchise more accessible.

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Free-to-play is the future for Crysis developer Crytek. While Crysis 3 will be a full retail release published by Electronic Arts, the developer considered implementing F2P elements into the upcoming shooter.

"We even considered a standalone free-to-play version for Crysis 2, to be honest. Launching the single-player as a packaged good and then making multiplayer free-to-play-only," Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli said. "We also considered that for Crysis 3, and it didn't happen again."

Sony has recently made standalone multiplayer versions of its online shooters, like Killzone 3 and Starhawk. However, it's likely that the lack of F2P play on consoles made it impossible for Crytek to implement F2P into their last two retail releases.

The next Crysis game promises to be radically different, but will it be F2P? Yerli isn't sure yet, telling RPS that "it's too early to say," but promised that "when I said free-to-play's gonna be our future, I meant that and I hold to it."

One of the reasons why Crytek is so adamant about moving to a microtransaction model is that it will eliminate the desire for people to pirate their games, a problem that has plagued Crytek for years. Both Crysis and Crysis 2 were pirated on a massive scale, but a switch to F2P will dissuade the need to illegally download Crytek's future games. "My desire is that everybody can just play Crysis and don't have to spend money from day one," he said. "I just want them to be able to give it a try. And then they can make their choices about spending money."

From The Chatty

  • reply
    December 11, 2012 2:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Crytek considered free-to-play multiplayer for Crysis 2 and 3.

    Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli talks about making Crysis free-to-play, and how it will make the franchise more accessible.

    • reply
      December 11, 2012 2:33 PM

      you know what's weird? hearing free-to-play immediately turns me off to games. and i know i'm being unreasonable, because things like planetside 2 are huge accomplishments. but i hate the idea of having so much of the game locked behind a pay wall. i don't mind chunks of DLC or map packs as those are delivered in single, easily-digestible pieces. but buying individual guns or outfits, i really find that tiring and tedious.

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        December 11, 2012 2:37 PM

        Me too. :( I hate the F2P model.

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        December 11, 2012 2:37 PM

        I'd like a hybrid system where you can play for free with a limited selection of the items, like a demo, but with the normal player base. Then you can just buy the whole damn game for 60 bucks or whatever and you unlock everything currently available. Then they release piece by piece DLC and you can buy any of these things one at a time and the same is true for all the stuff in the full game for people who are playing for free. Then they release a big expansion with new shit and a big patch and bundle all the new crap since release into it so you can gobble it all up at once for a substantial amount. There could be a few exceptions, special premium items only available for individual purchase. As long as everything is well balanced, who cares?

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          December 11, 2012 3:09 PM

          This. As soon as a I see f2p I'm out. At that point the developer is not delivering a full game to me and I am never sure how much money I need to throw at it before it becomes a full game and the intended experience. For all I know it will never play correctly even after purchasing every little thing. So I rather just pay the $60 and assume I am getting the full experience.

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        December 11, 2012 2:43 PM

        Yeeeeup.

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        December 11, 2012 2:54 PM

        F2P ends up costing more to get the same content than most $60 games.

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          December 11, 2012 3:00 PM

          planetside 2 easily has as much content (for free) than many $60 games

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          December 11, 2012 3:14 PM

          I have not paid a dime for League Of Legends or TF2 (I guess you can count the Orange Box purchase though). I haven't paid Turbine anything for LotRO since F2P started, but I had started preparing for the F2P conversion while I was still paying monthly, so that helped.

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        December 11, 2012 3:08 PM

        I sometimes do, but Tribes was pretty solid as is Dota 2

        but a lot of times I'd rather just have the game up front and F2P always invokes the idea of less quality to me.

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        December 11, 2012 3:11 PM

        Videogames used to be about creating a simulated world, and letting you embody a character in that world. It was pure escapism. You could sit down, boot up a game, and have every tool and feature available at your fingertips. You didn't worry about cosmetic bullshit like customizing your character's hairstyle, and you didn't have to run on a "hamster wheel of achievement" for hundreds of hours to unlock better equipment. You just logged in, and played--instantly transported to another world where you didn't have to worry about real life. Take, for example, the original CounterStrike. There's no unlocks, no persistence, no social networking integration, no micro transactions, and no character customization. Quite simply, no worries. It was beautiful. Absolutely no part of that game interfered with your ability to become immersed in the game world.

        But now take the average F2P game. It's just menu after menu of bullshit. If you only play for 20 more hours, you can carry an extra clip of ammunition! Give us $2.50 and your character can wear a distinctive hat! Contrary to Counterstrike, almost every element of the game is designed to take you out of the game world, and into the real world. Spread the word on Facebook, spend money on micro transactions, pause the game and spend time in the character customization and loadout screen.

        I want to play videogames to play a game. Sure, the F2P model gives you a game to start playing free of monetary cost. But all of the caveats along the way end up ruining the purpose of the core experience in the long run.

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          December 11, 2012 3:59 PM

          This is actually an aecellent summary of my feelings towards F2P.

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          December 11, 2012 4:03 PM

          Counter-Strike had the per-level economy and currency, but it didn't persist through level changes, and was relatively well balanced to the point where a losing team wasn't completely buried, and could fight back and win on primarily skill. Other than that, it was open and anonymous, and everyone started out on even footing.

          I agree that persistence and RPG-esque stat obsession has ruined gaming, especially that those two are now essentially mandated across all games, between standardized achievements, enforced authenticaiton (XBox Live / PSN / Steam / GFWL / Origin / UPlay), and perks and persistence. When games like Call of Duty 4 had runaway success with those elements, it was suddenly mandatory for ALL games to have those elements. But after that, the concept of the round-to-round reset was lost, aside from games whose design heavily enforced cosmetic-only addons.

          And there's almost no turning back, since there's so much greed motivating producers. There are a few titles out there that sort of "go back to the roots", but every game that comes out seems to have some sort of trinkets system, collectible system, DLC customization, horde mode, pay-to-advance, and so on.

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          December 11, 2012 4:17 PM

          I think this is what is turning me off to games with age.

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        December 11, 2012 3:12 PM

        Same, I just don't like it :(

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        December 11, 2012 3:14 PM

        You're being silly. It's just shareware online.

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          December 11, 2012 3:42 PM

          Shareware had an agreed-upon minimum of free content (which some developers skimped on even back in the day, but you got 1/3 of Doom, and 1/4 of Quake). With free-to-play, there are almost no rules; you could fence off all of the game behind a paywall or time delay drip. The only balancing factor against this is the consumer outrage against past titles that have gone so far to the "pay to win" side of the spectrum.

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            December 11, 2012 3:49 PM

            Ryan Davis put the fundamental problem into a nice concise summary: "It's a question of, 'How much artifice is there between the business model and the gameplay?' That's a problem for EVERY single format of gaming since the beginning of electronic gaming, since going from quarters, to paying 50 bucks for a cartridge game..." (Giant Bombcast 7-31-2012, 62 minutes).

            That was in the middle of discussing the news of SW:TOR going free to play (and looking back on how Bioware handled that... yeah, not so good).

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            December 11, 2012 3:51 PM

            What was the agreed upon minimum?

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              December 11, 2012 4:07 PM

              There wasn't a hard number, but it was a sort of ecosystem that balanced itself out quickly. I remember Sierra time-locking their shareware back in the late 90's (a pinball game was 5 minutes per session). I was sort of "off to the sidelines" in that era since I almost couldn't buy any games at all (since I didn't have a car, was stuck on a modem, and had parents who thought all video games were evil), but gamers found out that there was more value in the Doom shareware than Sierra's stuff.

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                December 11, 2012 6:17 PM

                But those weren't rules and you know it. They were gentleman's agreements. There was no Grand Wizard of Sharewarzia that enforced that you made X amount of the game available.

                Also, come on. Gamers liked Doom because Sierra couldn't put out a good game if you put a copy of the finished product in their hands. All this means is that to assess it, all you have to do is play the game. Since, it's, you know, free.

                People acting like all F2P are cut from the same cloth are silly and wrong. Facebook/ipad games will be spammier, while full featured PC games will be far more generous.

                There is no notable part of the Mechwarrior Online experience that you cannot enjoy without money.
                There is no notable part of the League of Legends experience that you cannot enjoy without money.
                There is no notable part of the World of Tanks experience that you cannot enjoy without money.
                There is no notable part of the Tribes: Ascend experience that you cannot enjoy without money.
                There is no notable part of the Airmech experience that you cannot enjoy without money.
                There is no notable part of the Dota 2 experience that you cannot enjoy without money.

                Now okay, Battle Nations on iOS/OS X? That's different. But it's a different experience.

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                December 11, 2012 8:29 PM

                Isn't that exactly the kind of ecosystem that is balancing itself out now with F2P?

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                  December 11, 2012 8:36 PM

                  I think that it's balancing out at a slower rate, but as geedeck points out, there's a cutthroat submarket that intentionally makes F2P games that aggressively lean on microtransactions, in a disgusting but market-accepted way.

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        December 11, 2012 3:22 PM

        They will do what the markets dictate. Take for example radio, once studies showed when a radio station kept less than 20 songs on rotation there listener base increased. It didn't matter how many people complained about hearing the same songs every hour on a radio station when the numbers show they are maximizing their audience.

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        December 11, 2012 3:24 PM

        I hope someone is working on a website that breaks down F2P economies and gives analysis on bang for the buck opportunities and what kind of initial investment to expect. I think that would help a lot toward me actually putting money down. Right now the economies are usually complex enough for it to take longer than a cursory glance to determine those kinds of things. Rather than do that I just play with the free shit until I feel like I understand the game enough to buy something (hasn't happened yet, lol) Nothing wrong with that but I do believe some analysis would be useful.

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          December 11, 2012 3:31 PM

          TL:DR - F2P analysis paralysis stops me from buying anything.

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          December 11, 2012 3:59 PM

          One of the big deals about free to play is that it makes it extremely hard for consumers to both track how much they spend and to put a value on the product.

          A traditional game is easy: $60 for the product. Simple. Is this product worth $60 and am I willing to spend $60?

          The free to play model, on the other hand, is all sorts of confusing, and intentionally so. For one, it's pretty easy for people to spend "just a few dollars here" and "just a few dollars there." Especially if you can buy at a click of a button in game. People have friends over, maybe drink a bit too much and get looser with their cash, bingo. Some people probably have no idea how much they spend in aggregate, and there is no theoretical maximum either because the developer can keep adding new items.

          But lets say you do keep track and put a cap on your spending (say $60). Well, where do you spend that $60? What is each individual item worth? It's not easy to figure out and neither is constantly watching your total spending. This all just pushes people towards the first model of willy nilly small spending.

          It's both genius and insidious.

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        December 11, 2012 3:29 PM

        F2P is just a way for developers to say the full game will cost a lot more than what the average game is sold for and a few people will drop 200+ dollars on it.

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          December 11, 2012 3:32 PM

          I think my problem is that it totally capitalizes on the fact that so many of us don't have as much time to invest in a game and in order to do well or be competitive with people who DO have more time, we have to pay more.

          It just sucks. :(

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          December 11, 2012 3:43 PM

          EA CEO John Riccitiello back in January 2011: "We have people who are giving us $5,000 in a month to play FIFA Ultimate Team. And it’s free. Dirty little secret."

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            December 11, 2012 6:30 PM

            The same thing happens with most games built around microtransactions. A small percentage of people pay for the rest who are spending very little or nothing.

            In the end I think it is a good thing since it increases the active population. The alternative is a scene that is dead because it couldn't get enough players in. LoL is gigantic, and the active players of TF2 went up 5x when it went F2P.

            More players = better, yeah?

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        December 11, 2012 3:43 PM

        Yup, same here

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        December 11, 2012 3:55 PM

        Planetside 2 is the first F2P game that I've actually played for a significant portion of time. That said, I still haven't spent a dime on it.

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        December 11, 2012 4:13 PM

        I'm wondering what (if any) free-to-play games you've been playing to make that statement. Tribes Ascend, Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, none of these have any significant content hidden behind paywalls. Most of the good F2P games let you have access to everything without ever paying a dime. The pay stuff is mostly about vanity items or taking shortcuts within the progression system.

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          December 11, 2012 4:30 PM

          Yeah, I'm having a hard time thinking of F2P games that withhold vital content behind paywalls. All the ones I have experience with are built around cosmetics, and ones where you do buy weapons or heroes (TF2, LoL) are balanced in such a way where you don't need that other stuff to win if you don't want to get it.

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            December 11, 2012 6:40 PM

            F2P SWTOR is full of paywall'ish stuff isn't it?

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              December 11, 2012 6:43 PM

              I don't know, is it? My experience with F2P is in competitive multiplayer games. Are some areas pay-to-access in SWTOR?

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                  December 11, 2012 6:53 PM

                  Oh, well that sucks. Pay-to-sprint, haha.

                  Either way, the execution seems to be the problem, not the core idea itself. Perhaps F2P only really works in competitive multiplayer games like LoL and DOTA (I honestly believe that SC2 and Street Fighter should go F2P multiplayer as well), but I also don't believe that "the best" way to handle it in an MMO has been figured out yet.

                  I mean, it is obviously bad what Bioware has done here, there is certainly a better way to do F2P in an MMO without being so obviously hostile to the customer.

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        December 11, 2012 4:14 PM

        I used to feel this way but I turned around about the time Tribes came out. Then Planetside 2, MWO... now I'm all for it.

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        December 11, 2012 4:25 PM

        I think the F2P model should be like this: Think what a game retails for, 50, 60 bucks or whatever. If you were to unlock ALL the items, that is what the total should be when it is all said and done. I think it is only fair.

        I do enjoy Planetside2 and Tribes, but you can really dump alot of cash to get EVERYTHING. Yea they give you means to get them by grinding and playing, but I think the F2P model should be a bit more simple than that.

        Games are usually worth around 50? Lets say it has 50 unlockable items? 1 dollar each. I dono.

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          December 11, 2012 5:56 PM

          Why do you need EVERYTHING? You have to figure that a lot of people would be freeloaders either because they're cheap or unlocks aren't something they find necessary. Even if they purchase some things how likely is it that they'd consume everything for a full $60 worth. The people spending more than their fair share support the rest of the player base, if they capped everything the model might not work anymore.

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        December 11, 2012 4:28 PM

        I disagree, games like LoL and DOTA 2 are showing how FTP can grow an audience much better than if it was a standard paid product. This is super important for competitive multiplayer games, the larger your audience the better.

        I wish Starcraft 2 was at least partly supported by microtransactions, at least for those who just want to skip the single player game and only want to do multiplayer.

        Street Fighter would be amazing if it was F2P. You'd have way more players online, and selling things like skins or outfits for your character could totally sustain it since your character is so large on the screen. The ones they already sell are super cool, they should just have that stuff support the game completely.

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          December 11, 2012 4:32 PM

          F2P also does an end-run around the piracy issue. People who would pirate the game don't have to pay a dime if they don't want to, and at the same time developers aren't getting screwed out of income from people who are on the fence about piracy. Best of all, restrictive policies wouldn't need to be there, making things better for legit customers.

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            December 11, 2012 5:43 PM

            I'm not sure how much money they're losing from people averse to piracy but reluctant to buy. With all the videos and live streams showing large chunks of gameplay footage, it's pretty easy to determine whether a game appeals to you.

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              December 11, 2012 6:27 PM

              Doesn't matter, in the end the idea of crippling usability of a product to stem pirates (which doesn't work for legit customers btw) goes out the window when you are doing a F2P service. Sure, I guess pirates could run games on their own servers, but that is way too much trouble to sidestep official channels that will have everybody playing on it anyways.

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                December 12, 2012 5:15 PM

                What do you mean? F2P games generally require internet connectivity, right? This is the same standard DRM that most games employ, EA activation limits (they still do this?) and draconian Ubisoft DRM notwithstanding.

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        December 11, 2012 6:48 PM

        My sentiments exactly. It ends up costing more in the long run for the full experience.

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        December 11, 2012 7:42 PM

        Between Planetside 2, Tribes Ascend, and Super Monday Night Combat, I've spent less than $25 and have had a ton of fun.

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          December 11, 2012 10:38 PM

          Tribes Ascend is my GOTY.cx this year. I love it sooo fucking much.

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        December 17, 2012 3:38 PM

        Too true.

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      December 11, 2012 3:00 PM

      Don't they already have a F2P shooter on the Crysis engine coming out?

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      December 11, 2012 4:06 PM

      Take the goddamn aliens out and look at FarCry 3 and that will make it more accessible.

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      December 11, 2012 4:22 PM

      "More accessible" is like the term of death for video games these past couple years.

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      December 11, 2012 5:02 PM

      I love Crysis.. all of it. On Delta

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      December 11, 2012 5:54 PM

      As someone who has been lambasted on the shack for years when commenting against piracy- enjoy your new business models, shackers! Haha! Almost all core games are going to shift to this!

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      December 11, 2012 6:06 PM

      If that means more players and maybe them actually giving a damn enough to actually fucking do something about the rampant cheating then I'm all for it.

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      December 11, 2012 6:38 PM

      Here's an excellent article on how games built upon microtransactions make for more fun and better supported competitive games in the long run: http://mbcarmac.com/post/24384050846/how-a-good-business-model-makes-a-good-esport-game

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        December 11, 2012 6:42 PM

        Money quote: "Not only that, but the business model (F2P/microtransaction) actually forces the publisher to keep investing into the game because there is no limit to what a single person can spend in League of Legends across time. This means that player retention (a large part of which is competitive play) is directly connected to a very tangible, direct ROI for Riot.

        Where a Christmas Game (Starcraft, Quake, Counter-Strike) publisher cannot justify to care about the player who has already bought the game, Riot cannot justify not caring about their existing player base. It’s genius."

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      December 11, 2012 9:35 PM

      They did that with one of the FEAR games. How did that turn out?

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        December 11, 2012 11:30 PM

        They did? I have never seen this. I assume FEAR 3? Because the others never went F2P.

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          December 11, 2012 11:42 PM

          The original's multiplayer mode was released as a free stand-alone, F.E.A.R. Combat or something like that

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      December 11, 2012 11:10 PM

      whenever I hear Free 2 Play, I immediatly assume it's a shitty pay per win game. therefore, i'll never play a F2P game.
      I may be unreasonable, but at this time, there are only 2 or 3 exceptions, like TF2 and DOTA2; but as I said, they're exceptions; the average F2P game is a mediocre multiplayer only FPS where you have to pay real cash to buy everything, otherwise you'll suck. These are games where the gameplay is runied to make more cash: the new cancer of video games...

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        December 11, 2012 11:54 PM

        There should be a Shack script that does this to every mention of F2P: "F2P P2W"

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          December 12, 2012 3:40 AM

          there's a lot of synonyms to cover, you'd need things like paytowinium for freemium.

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      December 12, 2012 2:21 AM

      if only they do that for Crysis 1, it was absolutely the best among them all