MAY 15, 2012 ● After two weeks, Hi-Rez Studios reports that more than 800,000 users have registered to play Tribes: Ascend, the Unreal 3 engined reboot of the action online franchise that originally launched in 1998. The Atlanta-based studio took the series free-to-play, and intends to release the new game in other languages in addition to English as soon as possible to help the title attract players worldwide.
Impact: By all accounts, Hi-Rez has delivered a very high-quality F2P experience. Some say too polished and sophisticated to make money, however. That distinction makes Tribes: Ascend a timely test case on where F2P content is going. The novelty of freemium games has worn off, even in Western markets. So the question becomes, what will set one free game apart from another moving forward? The networks and platforms used to reach F2P titles will still make a big difference, yet perceived quality is going to be a growing consideration of consumers as they choose what free games to spend their time on.