It's the end of the gaming industry as we
know knew it.
Speaking to VG247, Mythic Entertainment Co-Founder Mark Jacobs predicted a grim future for the gaming industry as it becomes more affected by the free-to-play model. He stated:
You know, free-to-play is just another model, and just like every other model in the industry, it will hold its special little place for a while but then there will be consequences. Those consequences in a few years will be a bit of an apocalypse. You’re going to see a lot of developers shutting down… if you go free-to-play, you really have to compete with every other free-to-play game out there.
Mythic Entertainment encountered difficulties after the release of Warhammer Online. It sought to compete with the behemoth known as World of Warcraft with its focus on player-versus-player combat, but hardly made a dent on the game's 12 million subscriber base. If it had gone free-to-play from the start, it may have been far more competitive. Star Wars: The Old Republic suffered a similar fate only a few years later but quickly transitioned to free-to-play and has been surviving since.
Although free-to-play had lucrative results many years ago with Neopets, RuneScape, and MapleStory, it wasn't until League of Legends exploded with success in 2009 that it became a serious consideration for nearly every game developer. Valve followed up with with its no-cost Dota 2, a game that didn't compromise the developer's high production quality standard. Path of Exile is a great example of how games don't have to throw pay-to-win at you and can be as good or better than retail games with developers such as Blizzard behind them.
Nonetheless, the model has a history of abuse that makes many people weary. Until more games come out that prove that it can be done without damaging the core experience, people will continue to look upon the natural evolution as an apocalypse.