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Sony and Microsoft 'fully embracing' free-to-play model with next-gen consoles, Epic VP says

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Sony and Microsoft will be "fully embracing" the free-to-play model on their next-gen consoles, Epic Games co-founder and vice president Mark Rein said at the GameHorizon conference.

Rein joined Sameer Baroova of GameStick and Andrew Oliver of Blitz Games Studios to discuss opportunities in video game hardware.

Oliver offered a critique of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in that they "didn't change any sort of business models." He contrasted the consoles' lack of massively multiplayer online games with the PC market and their lack of a free-to-play ecosystem with smartphones and tablets. That may have given developers incentive to keep "kind of playing it safe with certain genres just because that's the way it was, and consoles are associated with very strict genres," he said.

In response, Rein said that next-gen console manufacturers are willing to embrace some of the change.

"I assume everybody here knows already that the next-gen consoles are going to be fully embracing the free-to-play and these IAP-type business models," he said. "So, in case you don't know that, I'm just putting that out there. Sony and Microsoft are going heavily in that area."

When the moderator said that he still needs to "see some kind of evidence of that," Rein said, "I'm telling you what they're telling developers."

You can check out the video of the roundtable above and the discussion here beginning about 15 minutes in.

At the same conference, SimCity creator Will Wright said that he wants to build a game about players and former THQ executive Danny Bilson explained how the bankrupt company "couldn't change fast enough."