World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition
was quite a surprise at Microsoft’s E3 press briefing earlier this week, mainly because World of Tanks
is the antithesis of traditional console video games.
World of Tanks
' developer Wargaming
owes its success to the openness and connectivity of the PC platform: Wagaming's games are online, free-to-play and don’t require a drawn-out certification process whenever there’s an update.
Those three aspects alone have allowed Wargaming to very effectively leverage the PC platform to rake in revenues, and react quickly to the needs of its large online audience. Xbox 360 isn’t particularly known for being a great platform for emerging online monetization models.
Victor Kislyi, CEO of Wargaming, told us at E3 that Wargaming had to convince Microsoft to embrace the way World of Tanks
“As part of the negotiations [with Microsoft], we were explaining to them, ‘You need to adapt, you need to move, you need to embrace [new models],’” he said. When World of Tanks
for Xbox 360 launches this summer, it will be free-to-play with an Xbox Live Gold membership. The game's been quietly in development for a year-and-a-half.
“It’s a big challenge,” Kislyi added. “I’m not saying it’s an easy walk. ... [You have to deal with] marketing, biz dev. There’s all kinds of walls you have to break down in Microsoft. They’re good people, just the organization is big, old and relatively bureaucratic in both a good and a bad sense. There's a lot of legal [issues], rules, restrictions, regulations. That’s been the biggest challenge for us.”
World of Tanks
for PC releases updates approximately once every six weeks. Matt Montorte, designer at Wargaming West, the Chicago-based studio (formerly Day 1 Studios) behind the Xbox 360 version of the game, explained how updating the game will work on the console.
“It’d be much like the PC,” he said. “There’s going to be a launcher, and it’ll stream updates very, very quickly. It won’t be like DLC, where you have to select updates and which ones you want. Everyone’s going to have an updated client, just like PC does. So in that respect, it’ll be easy and simple to keep up to date.
“There’s a different category of cert [on Xbox 360] that has a different set of requirements from a retail game, and it allows us to go through cert at a faster pace, so we’re not bound to that prolonged process,” he added.
Kislyi said Wargaming would consider bringing its games to next-gen consoles, but as the free-to-play model relies on a large amount of users, a new console would have to hit an installed base of something like 10 million before it made sense for Wargaming to jump in. "[The hardware installed base] has to hit a critical mass," he said.