Hi-Rez has listed lower marketing costs and ongoing developmental possibilities as motivators for taking Tribes: Ascend down the free-to-play path.
“Convincing people to pay $50, $30, or even $20 for a title requires a very large marketing budget and even then there is no guarantee that people will buy,” a Hi-Rez representative said in a post on the Global Agenda forums.
” … We’d honestly rather put more of our resources on game development and ongoing updates versus a huge marketing campaign.
By releasing a triple-A game for free, Hi-Rez hopes to gain maximum exposure, after which “the game can succeed or fail on its own merits.”
Hi-Rez warns that Tribes: Ascend won’t remain static post-launch.
“As a studio we experiment and innovate and we think the best games are the results of constant iteration and update. In fact, for us launching the game is more like the beginning than the end,” it said.
“But constant updates require a development team well past launch. And maintaining that development team means continued revenue from the game to pay their salaries.”
Hi-Rez also took the opportunity to comment on keeping the game balanced to avoid “pay to win” situations.
Tribes: Ascend is the latest entry in a franchise that arguably launched multiplayer shooters. It’s due on PC this year.