The head of the development team that's making the upcoming free-to-play RTS game Age of Empires Online says that he is "done" with the old model of paying $50 (or more) for a normal retail PC game title. Speaking to Eurogamer, Gas Powered Games' founder Chris Taylor states, "When I have this experience, where I can get a 'freemium' game that's incredible, huge with arguably hundreds of hours of free gameplay, why would I go to the store and spend $50 in the old model. I'm so done with that. It's fair to say I'm done dropping that kind of money."
Taylor believe that the free-to-play, or "freemium", business model that Age of Empires Online will have is the future of PC gaming. He states, "This model is coming. It's here to stay. It's good on every level." While PC gaming as a whole has been moving from the brick and mortar box copy model to the digital download business for the past few years, Taylor says even that model is changing to the free-to-play model with gamers paying for things like booster packs and other in-game items.
Even with this move to the online free-to-play format, Age of Empires Online will also be available as a paid boxed retail product. Publisher Microsoft has already announced that the game, currently in beta and scheduled for launch later this autumn, will still have a retail version because Microsoft currently believes there are still some people who "still want to go down to the store and buy a retail product."