The PlayStation 4 launch is serving notice that free-to-play isn’t going away, it’s only spreading further. I already told you about the totally free options available day one. It could have been even better had Evolution Studios not pushed back Driveclub. Though it won’t be out Nov. 15 as initially planned, it will join the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection as soon as it’s released. So let’s kick the tires, shall we?
Evolution Studios does not want players to think free-to-play is a dirty word. At GamesCom, Evolution said the free version will contain all the features that the full Blu-Ray offers. That includes the ability to unlock platinum trophies. The full retail versions will contain tracks and cars not available in the free offering.
So there will be three options: full retail on Blu-Ray, full digital version or the free version. All of the content available in the full version will be available as DLC for the free Driveclub. So it is very similar to the model many core gamers associate with Farmville and other such titles. But any successful business strategy is going to be emulated. Xbox One’s Killer Instinct reboot is essentially a F2P model.
On the surface, objection to the model seems silly. Would you rather pay $60 for a game or would you rather get largely the same experience for free? But so many of these games have been half-baked, or ask for an extra dollar every 10 minutes to continue the experience. We haven’t played a full version of Driveclub yet, but early indications are it is nothing like that.
Game director Col Rodgers told PlayStation Blog he considers this title the “social network for racing games.” Players can form one of the titular Driveclubs by getting friends together. They can challenge that club by sending a notification to either their PS4s or mobile phones. Club members can score points by completing the challenge. It’s also possible to challenge people outside your club, who have the option of sharing that with their club or other friends. The long term future of this game relies on people calling each other out, and then having that go global.
Evolution is responsible for the beloved MotorStorm franchise, which provides at least one reason to believe it can pull this off. They’ve said this game was in their minds for nine years, but that it couldn’t be done before the PS4 released. Full disclosure: Sony owns Evolution, so there could be some employer stroking hyperbole in there. Still, Sony has gone all in touting the social features of its new console. The controller has a share button, after all. If this game is as good as the brass thinks it is, telling your friends will be simple. Then roping them in through challenges will be equally so, and hopefully a lot of fun for everyone involved.
Read the other entries in the PS4 countdown here.