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SOE President: Game for Free in the Next Generation

If the industry follows SOE's lead in the next generation, gamers can expect to have access to even more free-to-play games.

Geoff Keighley, of GameTrailers TV, interviewed Sony Online Entertainment’s President John Medley yesterday, the first day of GamesBeat 2013--and let fans know they can expect to spend less money on games in the future.

In a panel titled The Democratization of Gaming: The Evolution of the Online Game, Medley said that the focus of SOE is set squarely on the free-to-play model, as well as opening up the creation of the games to the players themselves.

Get Involved

“We’re going to see this big movement and we are already seeing it, where gamers are going to be participating in the process... They’re not just going to be participating by playing the game, they’re going to be participating in the ecosystem around the game. And they’re going to help drive the game.”

Medley said that not only is SOE and its slew of games (Planetside, EverQuest, and other titles still in development) focused on the free-to-play idea, but the PlayStation 4 is as well.

“Sony gets it, free-to-play games are going to be a big part of what the PlayStation 4 is... PCs and consoles are getting closer.”

He ended the interview saying that one of the exciting parts of the next generation of consoles and PCs is the possibility of content being able to be shared between all these consoles in the future. He also said that SOE’s goal is to be as “invisible as possible”, meaning they don’t want to separate gamers by selling content or levels - which is, of course, good news for gamers.

If You Build It...

Medley spent a large portion of the interview talking about player-created content and how it will be a big part of gaming in the future. He mentioned that when they were developing EverQuest Next, they realized that creating content for the game was so much fun that they wanted to let players experience that fun.

Similarly, players are able to create content in Planetside 2, and then turn around and sell it on the in-game market for real money. It’s this kind of freedom that Medley said SOE likes and wants to implement even more.

For example, honing back in on the topic of the democratization of gaming, Medley said they constantly share with the community some ideas of what they are planning on implementing into their games in the future. The community can then vote on what they like and don’t like, thus helping to shape the direction of the game.

He doesn’t believe this gives too much power to fans, as all of the ideas they present are ideas they have created and are comfortable implementing. So in the end, the game is still heading in the direction the developers intended, but with a little feedback from the community on the specifics.

The Future Is In Our Hands

If Medley is correct and the democratization of gaming is on the rise, this can only mean good things in the end. Free content, entire games open to all players, and the ability to create and sell your own content are all next-gen ideas. And get ready folks, because the next generation is almost upon us.

Published Oct. 30th 2013

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