Over the years, the free-to-play Battle Royale genre has seen a significant increase in attention from game developers and players alike. With games like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone constantly topping the charts when it comes to monthly active players, it comes as no surprise that other companies would want a piece of all the action. In a recent interview conducted by GamesRadar+, Phil Spencer, the Head of Xbox, expressed his thoughts on this growing trend of free-to-play Battle Royale games and mentions how developers should focus on creating good gaming experiences for players instead of jumping on the bandwagon of the newest trends.
Phil Spencer wants the gaming industry to embrace diversity and all genres to be able to succeed. “I think the diversity of business models in the game industry is a strength – and a creative strength, not just a business strength. If you have a great game, whether it’s a single-player game with a beginning, middle and end; a game that has downloadable content to extend the chapters; a free-to-play game, an ad-driven game, I want all of those to be able to succeed,” he said when asked whether Xbox tends to switch towards a predominately free-to-play model, as popularised by the Battle Royale genre, or not.
Phil Spencer emphasised that just because something is trending in the gaming community doesn’t mean that everything has to be exactly that. He said, “As an industry, we have to embrace that diversity. We have to ensure we don’t fall into thinking, okay, everything’s got to be a battle royale free-to-play game now.” He also stated that game developers should focus on providing the right gaming experiences to the audience instead of what’s in the market. “A creator should use the business model that allows them to deliver the right experience for them,” he said.
Lastly, he also iterated that players need to understand the fact that companies have to consider the financial outcome of what they create and what’s at stake for them. As such, players have to be fair towards their creative decisions. “And as players, we have to be open to the fact that creative teams need to see the financial benefit of what they create, and that there isn’t one business model to rule them all,” he said.
From what it seems, Phil Spencer is correct. The free-to-play experience and Battle Royale genre has become more of a cash cow for the gaming industry. Over time, gaming has lost its essence with repetitive genres and unique gaming experiences have become a rare sight to come by. However, we hope to see this change in the future as game developers move towards creating good gaming experiences, not following trends.
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