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|Session Name:||The Relentless March Towards Free...and What it Means to the Games Industry|
|Track / Format:||Social & Online Games Summit|
|Overview:||The video gaming industry continues its march from a physical products business toward a connected, digital services business. Games across every category are inching ever closer to a free-to-play service model with transactions. Blockbuster franchises such as TIGER WOODS ONLINE, FIFA ONLINE, and BATTLEFIELD ONLINE have already done so. Virtual Worlds like HABBO HOTEL and SECOND LIFE have done so for a long time. Social games like PET SOCIETY, MAFIA WARS and RESTAURANT CITY have adopted free-to-play as their main model. And even iPhone games are now offering transactions within a free-to-play model. This evolution toward free has profound implications for how the games industry operates and what types of innovations will be important in the future. The retail component of boxed games will not end any time soon-- but an increasing amount of value to consumers is offered after the initial purchase, and game publishers from all segments of the industry will have to deal with the consequences of free. This presentation from the leading innovator in social games and one of the largest operators of free-to-play games worldwide will explore this move toward free and critically examine what the future holds for the creation, distribution and consumption models in video games and suggest what your company needs to do to prepare for the era of free.|