Xbox One is not the right platform for War Thunder.
That’s what Anton Yudintsev, the CEO and president of Gaijin Entertainment, told GamesBeat in a discussion about his free-to-play combat flight simulator, which is scheduled to release on the PlayStation 4 before the end of the year.
War Thunder is a 32-player online multiplayer game set in the World War II era. Since the PC beta kicked off last November, the game has racked up more than 5 million registered players and currently averages about 80,000 daily users.
When PlayStation 4 owners download War Thunder from the PlayStation Store, they’ll be able to hop online and play alongside those PC users. But that’s just not possible on the Xbox One, said Yudintsev.
“Microsoft is much more close-minded than the Sony guys,” he asserted. “It’s really hard to get a free-to-play game on a Microsoft platform; you need to talk to them on a case-by-case scenario. And they’re not allowing cross-platform play at all. That means, in the current stage, [Xbox One] is not really the right platform for us.”
Gaijin has spent about $10 million on War Thunder development so far, according to Yudintsev, but it’s already raking in substantial revenue on the game. The 10-15 percent of players who purchase premiere accounts and content have spent enough for Gaijin to completely recoup its PC development costs.
“Today you can make a real, quality game, make it free-to-play, and actually earn money,” said Yudintsev. “We’re not the only ones doing this, but we’re part of the movement that’s helping to change that mindset.”
Gaijin is self-publishing War Thunder on PlayStation 4 as it did on PC (and will for Mac OS X, which will eventually see a War Thunder release). Obviously, Gaijin keeps a more substantial chunk of the revenue that way, but the benefits don’t stop there: It’s easier for Gaijin to communicate with its community without a publisher standing in the middle, noted Yudintsev.
“In the brave new world of online gaming, it’s better to self-publish,” he said. “And Sony’s been much more open to indie development than any other platform holder for the past three years.”
Founded in 2002, Gaijin has become the biggest independent video game developer in Russia. The company has grown to over 100 people and just opened an office in Germany. It’s already made a number of well-received flight combat games, including Birds of Steel and IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey.
War Thunder will be available on the European PlayStation Store when the PS4 launches in that region on Nov. 29. It’ll come to the U.S. PlayStation Store a few weeks later (before the end of the year, promised Yudintsev).
Stay tuned to GamesBeat for more PlayStation 4 coverage from Sony’s ongoing launch event in New York City.