While knee-jerk analysts (the same ones who incorrectly declared Facebook gaming was a gold rush for all and sundry) at micro-conferences attended only by a minute echo chamber fragment of the games industry ritually declare that free to play is the only possible future of videogames, any number of other business models arrive, persist and grow. Free to play will expand, of that I have no doubt, but that’s not going to prevent a plurality of ways to acquire games. Bundles and crowdsourcing are the two most notable of the last year, while Sony’s shock purchase of Gaikai for $380m today suggests we’re about to see a whole lot more cloud-streamed (i.e. rented) gaming doing the mainstream rounds. Another latter-day content-flogging technique is subscriptions for multiplayer games – not MMOs, but the ‘games as service’ mentality that sees new content regularly generated for popular titles.
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