Manufacturers plan to give away their games for free. The scheme was revealed by one of the industry's leading entrepreneurs, Lisburn-born David Perry. His best-known creations include Enter the Matrix, Earthworm Jim and Messiah.
"The next big thing will be free games," he said. Mr Perry said the plan "sounds crazy" but it had already proved successful in Asia.
"They had so much piracy that they decided to stop charging for the games. Instead, there'll be a charge for things you might want to use in the game," he said.
"Your character might have a plain white T-shirt. If you wanted a nicer one you could have it for a dollar. Or perhaps you could buy a magic sword for a knight for a dollar."
He said this approach had already proved successful in Asia. "It's going to turn our industry on its head and I want to see the same thing happening in the USA and Europe."
Mr Perry was speaking in Belfast after being awarded an honorary doctorate by Queen's University for his pioneering work in computer game development and design. In 2002 his Shiny Entertainment company was sold to Atari for $47m.
Games piracy is a huge problem according to ELSPA, the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. A spokesman said: "It's estimated that over £2bn is lost every year by UK industry to games software counterfeiters."
Hmm I'm 50/50 on this.. I mean its good to have the free games but then buy content in the game. This doesn't really make the game "free" as you still have to purchase parts in the game. The term free in fact means "without charge" but since you still have to buy content it doesn't seem to make sense. If your going to make it free give us the full game with where we don't have to buy content.
I don't like the idea. I think it's important to know how much a game is going to cost you before you buy it. If I got a free game and found that to really enjoy it I'd have to spend $1 on all the different bits and pieces, it could turn out costing more than if I'd paid a flat fee for the game.
If they introduced a maximum cost or something though then that may be more useful.
ummm i dunno.. rather then free games and pay for extras I think I'm more for paying an extremely reasonable price for the likes of PSN games.... look at the pixel junk series, for instance - the first one cost like $8.
From that $8 we're talking hours and hours of gameplay AND a 2 player option - plus its hugely addictive!
Good games and a good price thats what I'm all for
Stuff will still get released by groups. Look at the Nine Inch Nails albums.. they were released free on their website in all different formats and they still got released
But personally I would rather buy games as they are now and get free updates. Burnout 3 has been my greatest investment. Buy the game, then Criteron release new vehicles, new graphics, menus, a whole new island to double the size, bikes and maybe planes! all free.. don't get much better than that!
The game should already be cheaper since a lot of the games already contain advertising. Advertising cost alone should bring down the cost by 50%, especially since the volume of games that are sold and the amount of hours a person plays that game.