While Blizzard is slapping customers with a $60 price tag and DRM that requires an internet connection to play a single-player campaign, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli plans to take his studio into full free-to-play mode with future titles, starting with Warface. They'll require an Internet connection, but at least customers won't be required to shell out money upfront.
"As we were developing console games we knew, very clearly, that the future is online and free-to-play," Yerli said. "Right now we are in the transitional phase of our company, going from packaged goods games into an entirely free-to-play experience."
"What this entails is that our future, all the new games that we're working on, as well new projects, new platforms and technologies, are designed around free-to-play and online, with the highest quality development," he added.
The upcoming multiplayer military shooter Warface will be the company's first step into the realm of free-to-play. It will be set in the near future and exclusive to the PC, powered by CryEngine 3. It's slated to arrive in the second half of 2012 in the Western markets.
"As is evident in Warface, our approach is to ensure the best quality, console game quality," he said. "That implies budgets of between $10m to $30m - so no compromise there - but at the price-point of $0 entry. 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 also talked a little about the next-generation CryEngine. He said there are actually two teams working in parallel: one that's refreshing the current engine and one that's building the next major version.
"We've been touting CryEngine as a next-gen technology for about two years now," he said. "Since 2010 CryEngine has been next-gen ready. You look at today's next-gen offerings with supposedly next-gen graphics... That's exactly what we were talking about two years ago."
Now two years later, the industry has caught up, but Crytek is already ahead of the game, continuously pushing boundaries.
"A lot of these features will be visible in the next iteration for the engine," he said. "We were one of the first studios in the world to get access to all of the next-generation consoles. Obviously we can't talk about what they are but we know what next-gen entails. I think people... I'm not going to judge it because it'll get me in trouble, but next-gen is actually not a clear picture right now."
Oh snap, that doesn't sound good. Good thing PC gaming will never be a dead platform.