EA's Moore: Pre-owned the "right of gamers and the right of our retailer"
COO talks GameStop and taking Star Wars: The Old Republic free-to-play
EA COO Peter Moore has described the pre-owned market as a right of gamers and retailers, and explained Star Wars: The Old Republic's business model change, in a recent interview.
"Used games were a bigger issue for the industry - I wasn't resigned to it, but I recognised that it was the right of gamers and the right of our retailer," he told Wired as part of a discussion about triple-A free-to-play titles.
"To be very fair, GameStop has always been very public about the fact that [they] keep the ecosystem moving with revenue that comes in, and it's not like they go and take their game credit and go to McDonald's and buy burgers. They re-up into new games."
EA is one of many publisher to use codes to limit and monetise online play for pre-owned titles.
"Our job is to take that consumer and say, you've got a used game consumer and embrace that guy rather than shun him and say 'no, not a penny of what we spent on this we get from you.' It's kept GameStop to be a thriving retailer unlike a lot of bricks and mortar. They've got 6,600 doors. I'm not sure they're there without having a real digital strategy and a used games strategy."
Moore also discussed the move that made Star Wars: The Old Republic free-to-play up to level 50, after it had initially gone on sale as a full price title with a $15 per month subscription charge.
"As we get closer [to release], you realise the world is changing around you…. We have to change accordingly," he explained.
"Now you've got a hybrid model, which is the way I like it, because I'd rather say 'give me all you can eat for 15 bucks a month and I'll play the game if you give me everything,' which is still available. But this fall there will be, we open up the funnel at the top, look, come on in, there's no cost to play, if you want to progress it gets better quickly."
"Price was always the issue…. You talk to people on their way out and say, can you tell me why you're leaving? [They say] "I just didn't want to pay $15 a month. I felt kind of locked in. I love the game, but I'm locked in," and for a lot of people 15 bucks a month is a lot of money."
"So when we looked at the data that was streaming out of it…. It was very clear to us that if we could knock down that initial barrier to entry that is price, that we could blow out the funnel and instead of dealing with several hundred thousand people on a regular basis we could get into millions. That was the plan. The world moved very quickly around us, and we had to react."
EA yesterday released its financial results for Q2, which saw a 40 per cent growth in digital revenue.