Activision could embrace the approach taken by Fortnite and make some of their bigger multiplayer titles free to play in 2019, according to one industry analyst.
Michael Pachter from Wedbush Securities has suggested that the publisher could adopt a free to play model for Overwatch and Call of Duty’s new battle royale mode Blackout.
Pachter wrote for GamesIndustry.biz:
I think that the 18 Overwatch League owners have been assured by Blizzard that it will expand the audience for Overwatch. The most expedient way to do this is to make the core game free-to-play in order to attract tens of millions of new users, who ostensibly will convert to OWL viewers.
He goes on to suggest we could see this change as soon as mid-June, three years since Overwatch originally launched. He also imagines those who purchased the game will be gifted exclusive skins and other items to sweeten the deal before it’s made free for everyone.
Pachter correctly predicted last year that Call of Duty would add a battle royale mode, although given the huge success of the genre in 2018 it wasn’t much of a punt that Activision would come out with their own version, to be fair.
Still, he now reckons we could get a free to play Blackout around one month before the launch of COD 2019, so as to promote the next game in the franchise.
Epic Games have reported that Fortnite made roughly $3 billion in 2018, so it’d make sense for Activision to take a similar approach with their own multiplayer games, attempting to expand the audience by going free to play and making money from microtransactions, weapon packs, and the like.
Valve’s own CS:GO recently adopted a free to play model, and even introduced a brand new battle royale mode. It’s safe to say that Fortnite’s influence remains strong in the industry, but we’ll have to wait and see if Activision really do adopt this approach.