Free-to-play “ineviteble” for Xbox 360

The ever-popular free-to-play model making its way to Xbox 360 is an inevitability, finds Hi-Rez Studios COO Todd Harris. Both Microsoft and Sony are in fact said to be in the process of making it happen for their respective consoles, but it could yet be a while.

“It’s really just the degree to which the free-to-play model and, even more specifically, constant updates are at – kind of what level of support there is for Xbox, or even PlayStation at this point,” Harris told EG in an interview.

“So the ability to patch frequently, the ability to have it be free-to-play so users can get a taste without any fee. At least from our conversations, both Sony and Microsoft are moving there strategically but there are still some things to be worked out on both the business side and the technical side and the certification side regarding frequency of patches.”

“And those issues just need further advancement before we would be comfortable putting a release timeframe on a console version. It’s not the case of ‘never’, but we know all those things we can handle on the PC, so that’s why PC is first.”

Hi-Rez is currently working on the PC version of Tribes: Ascend. A 360 version was in the works as well but was put on the backburner shortly after it was announced the game would follow the F2P model.

“They’re seeing where the industry is going,” Harris continued. “It’s inevitable that Microsoft will move towards that because the industry is moving towards that, and once that groundwork has been laid we would be in a better position to consider Tribes: Ascend for Xbox.”

The studio hasn’t ruled out a PSN version either, “but neither will be this year,” a Hi-Rez representative said last month.