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Video game publishers need to embrace different pricing models to survive, Nexon CEO says

Dan Graziano
March 15th, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Nexon, the free-to-play gaming developer behind the hit game MapleStory, sees the traditional publishing model fading away. As game consoles become more advanced, video game budgets continue to increase and publishers are forced to charge consumers more for each game. But the $60 price tag associated with today’s games will simply not survive, Nexon America CEO Daniel Kim told GamesIndustry International. “I think at some point the console makers have to make a decision about how closed or open they’re going to be to the different models that are going to be emerging,” Kim said. “Today it’s free-to-play, and I’m convinced that one is going to continue to flourish and expand into other genres and other categories, but there may be something else completely and entirely different that comes out that again changes the industry.” Read on for more.

Kim continued, “If your mind is just set on keeping the current model of buy a game for $60, play for 40 hours, buy another game for $60, play for 40 hours, that model I think is eventually going to change. It’s going to have to change. How they will adapt I really don’t know, but I hope that they’re aware enough to understand that the value proposition of free-to-play is not going to go away.”

Console makers — especially Microsoft — have made it difficult for companies to attempt different business models within the console market. “Dungeon Fighter is being released as a Microsoft Xbox Live Arcade version of the game. But again we had to modify the game and the business model to fit their restrictions or requirements. It’s not free-to-play, it’s DLC essentially,” Kim said. “Which is not really truly how we like to service our games, we like to service our games completely free-to-play, no limits, and earn the players’ business by convincing them there’s value in purchasing stuff.”

The CEO noted that Sony, however, has provided companies with the ability to launch free-to-play content on its Playstation Network, and he sees this as an “encouraging” move. Kim believes those companies who are unwilling to try new business models may soon find themselves pushed out of the market.

Image source: Kristen Lanae

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