Free games on mobile are finally here, with the free-to-play industry on the brink of a big comeback.
But they aren’t just about games.
The games are the lifeblood of the internet.
They provide access to all sorts of social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.
And they are also integral to the future of the web.
“It’s not a new idea,” said Tim Schildkraut, chief executive officer at game developer Double Fine, which makes the popular action-RPG “Tron: Legacy.”
“The problem is, with a few exceptions, it’s not clear how people are going to access them.”
That’s a problem, as the industry continues to struggle to adapt to the rise of mobile.
The new apps, games and services are expected to reach more than half a billion users by the end of 2018.
And while the industry may be able to make up for some of the losses in user numbers by providing more entertainment, there’s a growing concern about how the apps and services will work.
“We’re going to have to rethink everything about the app ecosystem,” said Ryan Smith, chief technology officer at social gaming app Zynga.
“We have to re-imagine what a social gaming is and how it is connected to everything.”
That is why developers are building apps that offer free-of-charge access to games.
And it’s also why the industry is trying to figure out how to deal with the rise in popularity of paid games, which charge players for access to additional content.
“There’s going to be some of this pressure on the industry to figure something out, but it’s going be a real struggle,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive.
“If you look at the way mobile devices are going, we’re not going to see these apps and games that are completely free forever,” he said.
“They’re going through a transition phase.
We have to figure how to be more sustainable.”
And that means it’s important for the industry, too.
The way we play games is changing.
“The game industry is facing its biggest opportunity in 30 years,” said Schild, the founder of Double Fine.
“It’s a huge opportunity to rethink how we build games.”
Schildkr said the mobile-first trend is driven by two things: The rise of social gaming, where players can share their favorite games, and the rise to popularity of free-play games, where users can buy extra content for their games.
In the past few years, there has been a huge increase in mobile games that offer full access to their online versions, while also allowing users to download content.
“What’s really driving it is that people are using the app as a way to play online games without paying for it,” Schild said.
Schild said Double Fine has built games that allow users to pay for content.
And now, he said, those games are also making an impact in the world of mobile gaming.
“In the next five years, we expect to see tens of millions of people use apps that let them pay for games,” he added.
In an attempt to rein in the growth of these free-flowing apps, the games industry is developing a few rules.
Some require users to log in and pay for the games.
Some don’t allow any payment methods.
And some don’t offer full content.
The biggest rule is that any app can’t offer unlimited, unlimited or unlimited-game play.
That’s the kind of restrictions Zyngas game, “Tropic Thunder,” wants to end.
And the developer says that will be a problem for “Titanfall,” its first mobile game.
“This is an industry that has really been built around the free game model, and this is the first step toward saying, ‘OK, we don’t want this,'” Zyngaus game director, Chris Hulme, told CNNMoney.
“You cannot have unlimited, free game play.”
The game developer says there are ways around the rule.
“There are a number of ways to make it work,” Hulmesaid.
“But we will continue to work on this issue, and we have a number, of people who are going through that transition right now.”
“We want to be clear that this is a transition,” Hullmesaid, who was not available for comment.
“This is not the end.
We’re going in the right direction.
We will continue this conversation, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”
For now, the companies are working on ways to fix the issue.
Zyngatalks it has created a free-app-downloading service, and it plans to introduce another free-game-on-demand service in the coming months.
But Hulmsaid said the company is still working out exactly what to do about the free games.
“As a developer, we have to be able play our games and we need