Crysis franchise struggles to break even, eyes F2P

Posted by Shane McGlaun

One of the most popular and seemingly successful video game franchises on the scene today is EA'a and Crytek's Crysis franchise.

The franchise has been incredibly successful as far as overall sales figures go. However, raw sales don't necessarily equate to financial success, at least from a developers point of view. Indeed, it may surprise many fans, but the game is struggling simply to break even.

"I'm not talking about being greedy and we want more sales. But effectively Crysis 1 and 2 and 3 are just about breaking even. If we meet the forecasts - and I can't reveal the forecasts - then we are going to break even,” Crytek boss Cevat Yerli told Eurogamer.

"This is a very important point. The market is much more brutal for developers than people assume. It's difficult for many reasons. If you want to stay in the triple-A space where you want to tell big stories with big productions, there are a lot of market shifts right now happening to different platforms, from social platforms to mobile and other platforms. People say they do not affect the market, but they do affect the market.

"The console sales are down. The PC sales are down for the retail markets. But they're getting bigger for F2P and online markets. So for a retail game like Crysis 3 it's going to be a tough one to break out and hit the big numbers."

With the franchise struggling to break even, Yerli and his developers are looking to the future in an effort to determine how best to proceed with the franchise after Crysis 3. To be sure, Yerli says he believes  the future of the Crysis franchise might very well a free to play (F2P) model.

"There's a transformation period for the industry. I believe free-to-play is our inevitable future. I believe there are F2P titles out there that can be story-telling, that can be co-operative with your friends and can be competitive with your friends. It's all possible."

Personally, I'm not sure most gamers out there would relish the thought of having to pay for each weapon, suit upgrade, or other items needed to play Crysis.

However, Yerli points to the psychological transformation of the customers and the publishers that has to happen before everything is F2P on every platform.

"We are promoting these steps with other titles we're doing right now in our company... Crysis, we do have a plan for a F2P version of Crysis, but how this looks and when this will be done, whether this is the next one or the other next one, is to be decided. But we have a very clear picture of how this will look and how a transitional period where retail and free-to-play can coexist for one title," he added.

Crysis 3 launches in February 2013.