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All future EA games to feature microtransactions

All future EA games to feature microtransactions

Wed 27 Feb 2013 2:16pm GMT / 9:16am EST / 6:16am PST
Publishing

"Consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business"

EA has made the announcement, in a rather roundabout way, that it will be implementing microtransactions into every single game it makes in the future.

In a speech at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, transcribed by Seeking Alpha, CFO Blake Jorgensen explained the plan.

"The next and much bigger piece [of the business] is microtransactions within games," he revealed. "We're building into all of our games the ability to pay for things along the way, either to get to a higher level to buy a new character, to buy a truck, a gun, whatever it might be, and consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business."

However, Jorgensen also pointed out that it's not quite as simple as letting people buy a gun or costume whenever they feel like it.

"We've got to have a very strong back-end to make sure that we can operate a business like that. If you're doing microtransactions and you're processing credit cards for every one of those microtransactions, you'll get eaten alive. And so Rajat's [Taneja, EA Global CTO] team has built an amazing back-end to be able to manage that and manage it much more profitably. We've outsourced a lot of that stuff, historically. We're bringing that all in-house now."

The plan might be a popular move with investors, but much of EA's core audience has yet to be convinced, with fans reacting poorly to the inclusion of microtransactions in EA's recent Dead Space 3. However, as both Jorgensen and Taneja were keen to point out, other major EA franchises such as FIFA, Battlefield and The Simpsons: Tapped Out, already reap huge financial benefits from granulated payment scales.

In questions following the presentation, Jorgensen was quick to quash rumours that EA's non-attendance at Sony's PS4 announcement meant that it wasn't interested in the platform, perhaps because of the machine's download focus.

"At the end of the day, we're very excited about Sony's platform. We think there's a huge opportunity. It's great, as Rajat said, the technical power on the platform is going to allow us to do a substantial amount of things that we've never done before. I've seen the new Battlefield and it is stunning.

"At the end of the day, we do think there's going to be more digital business and digital download business. But a lot of it will depend on when we release titles, when Sony and Microsoft choose to release titles. And in no way do we want to see the retail channel disappear. We think that's an important part of the overall industry and we want to keep that a vibrant channel for us long term as well. So it's balancing all of those. But without a doubt, you're going to see more digital business and particularly more digital components of the gameplay allowed because the ease of it will be much better and the storage capability better."

58 Comments

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

528 788 1.5
Popular Comment
"...consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business."
I think there's a difference between "enjoying" and "not being quite irritated enough by it to put you off playing the game".

Posted:A year ago

#1

Ben Campbell Graphic Designer / Freelance Games Journalist

17 20 1.2
Popular Comment
z
z
z
-.-

What Blake Jorgensen ACTUALLY means:

I heard you like payments yo, so I've put payments in your payments."

Posted:A year ago

#2

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
Popular Comment
"...consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business."

Seriously, are you kidding me. Im a consumer, and Im completely irked by the whole concept. I feel it will break gameplay. I feel that it will come to a point were playing a game and game progression wont be a bout skill, but how much money you have. And they will purposly make a game frustratingly hard and make it easier for people who pay up. The gameplay will end up broken or it might end up being much like an interactive movie where you pay real money to see the next part.

So I wonder if they go to bioware and tell them that they HAVE to include this in the next mass effect or dragon age game. What about a new SSX. Part of the thrill of SSX was unlocking stuff, clothes, new courses, boards etc. What.... now we have to pay for them???

Im completely against this. Its gonna be like what Zynga did to there games. If you wanted all the cool stuff yu had to pay real money or it was frstratingly hard, impossible or long to aquire something cool. EA doest speak for the gaming community. They do well with listening to what they want.

It sickens me that you buy a game, that isnt cheap, then they make you pay more in order to have the cool stuff or enjoy the complete expirience. they turn every game into a subscribtion service or a pay as you go service.

I dont want it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 27th February 2013 3:53pm

Posted:A year ago

#4

Benjamin Crause Supervisor Central Support, Nintendo of Europe

86 45 0.5
This is not surprising for me. I expected this especially from EA. Customer do not want it that way. There are just still too many who don't recognize how much money some spend that way. But this will change quickly. Customers will adapt to this model lightspeed fast. Also for the (hard)core gamers this is more annoying than anything. They want to buy a game for a fixed price and get exactly that. If I buy a so called Triple A title for around ~60 bucks I expect it is all in there. However, in the last few years EA was leading the pack with turning this more and more into a pricey expensive mess.

Posted:A year ago

#5

John Pickford Owner, Zee 3

46 152 3.3
Seems a bit daft to apply to ALL games. I'd be more impressed if they were going Free To Play on everything. Sounds more like they're selling horse armour on top of the 40 price.

I expect they'll change their mind about this.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Andrew Animator

148 158 1.1
I think there's a difference between "enjoying" and "not being quite irritated enough by it to put you off playing the game".
The strategy taken with Battlefield 3 did exactly that for me. I went from loving the game to never playing it almost overnight when the premium stuff came in.

I guess I won't be playing battlefield 4 then :(

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew on 27th February 2013 4:37pm

Posted:A year ago

#7

John Donnelly Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
EA.... You tried this with DLC by trying to nickle and dime players by offering the ingame content for a fee.

Please stop.
I am not going to keep buying your AAA titles if it means I have pay even more to get access to the content that comes on the disk/download.

Extended content is a different story.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Steven Hodgson Programmer, Code in Progress Ltd

85 122 1.4
I don't have much of a problem with microtransactions, as long as the game doesn't revolve around them like Dead Space 3. They should be like more like modern day cheats and skins

Posted:A year ago

#9

Tom Keresztes Programmer

700 354 0.5
consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business
The same way as EA is making huge profits nowadays ?

Posted:A year ago

#10

Emily Rose Freelance Artist

87 46 0.5
I don't mind microtransactions as long as they aren't getting in the way of the game. Diablo's auction house is doing it wrong, content packs is doing it right.

I think the main issue people had with Dead space 3 was that you were paying for cheat codes.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Michael Levine President, PILEATED PICTURES

4 40 10.0
Popular Comment
First off, I never post here, like ...ever. I am an industry veteran of over 20 years and worked at LucasArts "back in the day" on everything from MI2, X-Wing, Dark Forces, Full Throttle, The Dig and many more.
I applaud you all for speaking up about this. Funny, as I don't see a single post saying "Oh boy, micro-transactions! Yay, this is what I have been waiting for!"
This has been a sore spot for me as of late. Having broken from AAA games years ago to make online games and now fully in mobile, my team has been living in the F2P world for longer than most. Let me be clear before I say what I am about to say - and that is, I have no gripe with the concept of Free. None whatsoever. I also don't have a problem with micro-transactions, when done in a way that is not annoying or obtrusive to the player or game. However I now strongly feel this current flavor of F2P, is basically like a cancer. Its grip, driven by greed, is spreading like wildfire to all forms of games. And here is the funny thing - when you talk to almost any game designer - they agree with me on everything I am saying here. This is NOT being driven by creativity, which drove this industry for decades - this is being driven by SUITS, who are NOT thinking long term. I wish people and companies would wake up!! But I admit, its a temptation hard to resist. We do have F2P apps in the app store. But what this has taught me, is it's bad on every level - it's bad for games, its bad for players and its going to be bad for business. You can already argue it is. Look at Cliff B's article. Listen to what people were saying at DICE. This industry is facing a massive crisis. Consoles are in trouble. For every one Clash of Clans on mobile, there are 1000 games making only pennies a day.

This current flavor of F2P, is not even about game design. Don't believe anyone who tells you it is. It's about psychological manipulation. It's about pushing people to their edge - to the point where they are just frustrated enough to think about buying something, but not enough to hate the game/publisher/developer. And that is a very fine line. (And yes I am generalizing, there are of course a few bright lights out there but they are becoming harder and harder to find). F2P, in its popular incarnation, completely fundamentally changes the progression and flow of a game. And lets be real, most mobile games are THRILLED if they convert 3% of their players to someone who pays. A hardcore console game - maybe 5%? I am not sure but its not more than that I would bet either. So what are we doing? We are educating a generation that games should be FREE. And we are designing games to MILK money from those dumb enough to pay. We focus in on these "whales" and every ounce of effort goes into getting them to pay us more, and more and more .... . These people are not the most into the game per se - they are the ones weak enough or have enough income to give into buying items rather than "really playing".
And here is the truly sad part - I don't see any going back. This is similar to what happened to the music industry - but that was driven by technology. What is this driven by? Crap - we didnt have to do this. Looking at Mobile, where my company, HappyGiant is focused - didn't Angry Birds and Where's My Water teach people you can make money on paid games still? What about The Room or TellTale's The Walking Dead series? You can still make money on paid apps. Or do Free in different ways, like League of Legends, where it doesnt affect the gameplay (as much at least).
Do people agree with me? I am curious to hear what others think. Let the hate posts begin (joking, I think most will agree. The ones who don't - ask em where they work!!)
Well -- I just wanted to get this off my chest. Thanks for listening! (-:
--Mike
[link url=""]www.happygiant.com[/link]

Posted:A year ago

#12

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

461 754 1.6
The issue I have with this mindset is that it not only takes me out of the game ("I see your player is injured! Would you like some DLC to get him off IR?"), but that I don't trust EA not to design their game around said microtransactions ("Nice all-star defenceman you got there... hate to see something happen to him..."). Will injuries in sports games - speaking to my expertise - be longer, or more frequent, as a nod to make people purchase DLC that recovers from injuries in franchise modes? Will default characters be so weak that it makes buying equipment with stat boosts a virtual requirement to be competitive (I.E.: online avatar modes such as the EA Sports Hockey League in the NHL games)? EA will consistently toe this line between pay to win and just giving a little boost, and just having to look at that line is tiresome.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

430 1,027 2.4
yeah just what people want, small print, bait and switch, and incomplete content in their games. My god. I can see an EA RPG now, NPC whispers, " Hey Buddy, want a quest?" . You reply "sure", the npc replies, "it'll cost you, I accept visa and mastercard"..

OH Joy...

article should be titled "How the suits can ruin just about anything."

Posted:A year ago

#14

Pablo Santos Developer

23 18 0.8
Yet another reason for me to *not* buy more games from EA. Good.
Seems like they are making my choices easier =)

Posted:A year ago

#15

Art C. Jones Writer / Blogger

62 91 1.5
The mobile revolution in gaming isn't so much about innovation as it is about monetization.

I find that personally disappointing, but it doesn't change the reality.
The WiiU released a new controller that allows for innovation (it's a swiss army knife of possibilities). However, developers are more excited about mobile game micro-transactions or making explosions bigger and "more realistic" on the 720 or PS4 than they are in the new game play opportunities of the WiiU.

What developers decide to support plays a big part in the "reality" of the game industry today.
Personally, I think we can make a lot of cool stuff, and if you include DLC as in-game purchasing, I'm not against it. The focus, however, needs to be game play first. Make the paid stuff additive instead of interfering, and there is a nice spot where I can get more content. The reality is that with micro-transactions you can do real-time expansion packs for games that merit the extra content. That's actually pretty cool :).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Art C. Jones on 27th February 2013 5:36pm

Posted:A year ago

#16

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,217 1,050 0.9
Its quite simple, I don't have to buy the games if I don't get my money's worth from the outset.

Posted:A year ago

#17

Maarten De Jong Marketing / Research partner, Strategy Guide

10 6 0.6
"We're building into all of our games the ability to pay for things along the way, either to get to a higher level to buy a new character, to buy a truck, a gun, whatever it might be
Whatever it might be!? Woah! They certainly need to think that through. A limited Sim City where you have to make a microtransaction to unlock certain buildings will definitely put a lot of people off.

Full access to all assets and features for one fixed price is what people want. I like the comparision an industry expert once made with Disney's theme parks. In the old days you had to pay per single ride. But people demanded to pay one fixed price allowing them to get on as many rides they possibly could. The same counts for games, freedom to explore everything for one price.

Maybe 'accelerate your progress' by buying extra credits to use in game. Basically pay to cheat. For example Football Manager offers the complete game without any limitations, but you can make a microtransaction to fund your team with loads of money enabling you to buy Messi straight away. Not that much fun, but people do it.
So a fixed price to get on all the rides in the themepark and microtransactions for people that want to jump the queues. Then everybody is happy.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Maarten De Jong on 27th February 2013 5:45pm

Posted:A year ago

#18

James Verity

132 25 0.2
I think the next gen will mark the date that even more Devs will go out of business... Gamers dont like paying for things that should be in the game from the start...

looks like some Devs are gonna learn the hard way, but then again there is always piracy and second hand market to blame instead of themselves...

some people dont deserve to be in business let alone be in employment...

Posted:A year ago

#19

Craig Bamford Writer/Consultant

40 54 1.4
Slapping microtransactions on top of an already-expensive game just seems to be an excellent way of ensuring that consumers won't be buying any further games.

Has anybody at EA looked outside of their offices and seen what consumers are actually going through? Here's a hint: F2P isn't huge because the audience love microtransactions. It's huge because it's the only way to possibly profit from an audience that's by-and-large broke. Jorgensen might not get that now...but rest assured, he will soon enough.

Posted:A year ago

#20

Paul Gheran Scrum Master

123 27 0.2
Christopher that is definitely how the trend appears. I already steer clear of EA after transaction based game play made it in to BF. When I played BF Heroes I knew that this was not something I was interested in. Its too bad, because previously, I had bought 7 Battlefield titles, and enjoyed all of them to varying degrees.

I don't see how the new player experience can be positive in an online competitive environment when some people have out spent you. My tolerance to pay will be based on my first gaming experience, and when that experience is not positive I rarely think, "Oh, I'll show those assholes!" and pull out my wallet. I psychologically declare the game unbalanced and a waste of my time, even if paying a modicum amount would completely change the experience, I have no way of knowing that, and have been burned too many times across games in general to make wallet diving my new reflex behaviour.

I hope the ARPU justifies this, because I, an historically paying customer, am completely out of EA's ecosystem now. Not just in the Battlefield series, but the mentality is so pervasive across the titles in their portfolio which interested me, that I don't see a point in being concerned with EA at all.

But to me, the much lauded World of Tanks suffered from the same problem. I'm interested to know what everyone thinks of this in general, not just related to EA or a specific franchise. Michael really laid it down, and Chris described the biggest fear. So which games or genre outside of Action RTS genre do this well?

Posted:A year ago

#21

Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief

211 254 1.2
It's a smart move by EA.
- We are seeing a polarisation where the big are getting bigger (CoD, GTA V) and the niche are thriving (FTL, Joe Danger) but the middle is getting squeezed.
- Customer acquisition costs are going up, yet the audience isn't growing. Companies can't make more money by selling more products. They have to allow their biggest fans to spend lots of money on things they value.
- Players will only pay a maximum of $20 for a piece of DLC (i.e,. content), but some are happy to spend $50 or $100 on a virtual items that provides them with self-expression, progress, a small advantage or whatever
- the price of anything that can be shared digitally is trending towards free driven by the iron laws of economics and (slightly less iron) technology.

The best way to survive the changes is to use a free or paid game as a customer acquisition tool and then allow those people who love what you do to spend more and more over the lifetime of their game. I believe that EA's strategy will become the only viable way to fund the creation of high-quality gaming content over the next two decades (and similar business models will need to be applied to music, movies, television, books and, with the advent of 3D printing, to physical products too).

Posted:A year ago

#22

David Canela Game & Audio Designer

69 156 2.3
I think microtransactions can be implemented in a sensible way in many cases. But they're just too tempting for there to be more than a handful of examples where that actually happens. Also, they're being presented as a silver bullet by its zealots and lots of people buy into that. Hopefully people will recognize the value of offering an experience where you get the business transaction behind you smoothly in the beginning and then can focus on playing a game without having to constantly think about your wallet. I don't think people fully realize what it does to always have the money aspect hanging in the room during an experience.

Posted:A year ago

#23

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
I loved Dead Space, and a lot of the earlier titles in EA's franchises, but I just have no urge to buy any of their new titles, except the odd EA partners title. It's not conscious boycotting, but I just groan whenever I hear what they do. With promising ideas. I think as long as EA continue with their "treat their customers like simpleton cash cow" policies, if I do want a first party title I'll wait until it hits a fiver. They have destroyed my perception of value.

Posted:A year ago

#24

Andrew Animator

148 158 1.1
The best way to survive the changes is to use a free or paid game as a customer acquisition tool and then allow those people who love what you do to spend more and more over the lifetime of their game.
@Nicholas
You may be right but people should remember the chance of monetising a player is generally very low and you need a lot of people playing your game to make money from it. Going free to play or offering micro transaction is not the license to print money everyone seems to think it is.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief

211 254 1.2
No, you don't need lots of players. That is one of the biggest misconceptions of free-to-play.

If you are like Zynga, making games that appeal to the mass-market, many of whom prefer not to spend money on games, then yes, you need big volume.

If instead you are making a niche game aimed at core gamers where,say, 10% of users are happy to spend $40 per month on something which they count as their primary hobby, you don't.

Too many people who dislike F2P really mean they dislike F2P as practiced by Zynga or Gameloft. F2P (and paymium) is not about volume, it is about connecting with fans.

Posted:A year ago

#26

Nick Parker Consultant

306 186 0.6
The man who taught/informed/introduced free to play to EA was Kristian Segerstrale who is now leaving EA (coincidental timings of news stories). My concern is EA executing on a new free to play strategy without really understanding the ramifications. On the positive side, however, EA has enough talent on the strategy side to trial this and adjust/uturn/react to create the right service for different gamer preferences. I understand the impact f2p could have on console/triple A gamers but I am hopeful EA will learn and respect their needs.

Posted:A year ago

#27

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
It is the new reality.

Posted:A year ago

#28
As an outsider, I need to get a handle on what market research has proven to EA that charging once, and then adding micropayments work for the modern consumer?

Posted:A year ago

#29

Max Priddy

64 12 0.2
I'm sorry, but I don't pay 30-40/$60 for a game just to get nickel and dimed by some bullshit business ploy of needless pay walls for power ups and other things that should be freely available in-the game, and the idea of even charging for something like cheats is just plain insulting to the customer.

I wouldn't wish this on any developer, but it'd be great if EA went the same way THQ did, it'd certainly be one way of eradicating the growing cancer in that company.

Posted:A year ago

#30

Mike Engle Senior Game Designer, Zynga

17 11 0.6
I'm hearing a lot of comments which sound like, "The artists who make games for me need to starve to death making those games for me."

For me, microtransactions which don't compromise gameplay integrity are fantastic. It's only "pay to win" style purchases which I personally dislike.

How good is it for gamers if all their favorite developers go out of business because they stuck to their guns and avoided business models that work? We've seen a lot of developers go out of business lately.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Mike Engle on 27th February 2013 9:47pm

Posted:A year ago

#31

James Verity

132 25 0.2
"We've seen a lot of developers go out of business lately." and a lot more will follow...

what happened to developing a good game, with value for money... instead of thinking up more ways to screw money out of the consumer... if your not making enough money producing games, please explain WHY are you still in the same job?

Posted:A year ago

#32

Kevin Patterson musician

187 103 0.6
Not all Micro-transactions are bad, only the ones that act like cheats or should have been free in the first place.

However, I am not a big fan of the system, and in certain games I understand it more, but I don't like the idea of the next Dragon age or Mass effect game having them. I buy alot of DLC (Not Micro Transactions) for the games I love, but what EA did with the paid DLC at ME3's launch was disheartening, and not cool. DLC like "The Stone Prisoner" makes sense, as it's a reward for buying the game at launch, but releasing DLC that your charging for day 1 that deals with plot details from previous 2 games is money gouging. I guess I'm a afraid that essential in game items might be placed for sale in future games, instead of being made available with the game in the first place.

knowing that a new title is going to be filled with Micro-Transactions would probably make me wait till I can get the title much cheaper on a sale or bundle deal, and less likely to buy it new at launch. I would imagine that many others would agree with me.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kevin Patterson on 27th February 2013 10:27pm

Posted:A year ago

#33

Mike Engle Senior Game Designer, Zynga

17 11 0.6
"what happened to developing a good game, with value for money... instead of thinking up more ways to screw money out of the consumer... if your not making enough money producing games, please explain WHY are you still in the same job?."

The game developers whose companies went out of business aren't in the same jobs. Their companies didn't make enough money producing games because market forces (customers) changed direction and they didn't.

If all of the growth of the industry over the last 5 years happened in Buy Once games, and no growth happened in Microtransaction games, guess what types of games everyone would be making.

Posted:A year ago

#34

Spencer Franklin Concept Artist

101 140 1.4
The problem is, for me as a consumer... that what is being offered in these "micro-transactions" are things that once were standard parts of the games I played. Hidden characters, alternate costumes, secret areas, cheat codes...all the little bonuses that made PLAYING the game fun. Now you want me to Pay 60.00 to start the game, and then nickel and dime me for those "extras". Nothing new or different... just charging me for things that once were enjoyable things to find.

Of course some devs say "you can still get all those things from playing the game...", yeah, I know, but now they have designed the game to make it extra difficult or time consuming to acquire...just annoying enough to hope that I might spend more money in their cash shops. I wont do it personally, not ever. Seems devs are more concerned with monetization schemes, than actually creating compelling game play that people would gladly pay for.

Posted:A year ago

#35

Pier Castonguay Programmer

189 106 0.6
Works great for their Simpsons Android game. But did the micro-transaction of Dead Space 3 were really worth it? I doubt the sales were very high, it was spam above everything.

Posted:A year ago

#36

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
It sounds to me as if they're just developing a standard platform to support microtransactions throughout all their games. Presumably this means that I can load up my EA account with credits (or whatever) and use them interchangeably on Battlefield 4, Crysis N, Need for Speed Whatever, and so on. And of course the developers of all EA games will have standard libraries to integrate this functionality, should they choose to use it.

Is that not a quite reasonable, in fact good, idea? Or am I looking at this in the wrong light here?

Posted:A year ago

#37

gi biz ;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
I've stopped playing EA games so long ago I don't even remember they used to make games.

Posted:A year ago

#38

Isaac Kirby Studying Computer Games Development, University of Central Lancashire

40 37 0.9
I have no problem with microtransactions, as long as there are in game ways to unlock everything.
It's when some things that "should" be in game are paid for i have a problem.
I also have a problem with games putting Paid For content in my game, as it brutally shatters my experience.
EA did this in Need For Speed Most Wanted "If you find it you can drive it" the opening said.
This was a lie, there are 5 cars i have found, that i can not drive. Because i have not paid 10 to unlock them.
This is not on.
I hope Consumers wise up. But i fear they will not.

Posted:A year ago

#39

Filipp Issa Founder, Gamesrocker

4 2 0.5
The Games Industry was always driven by creative people and innovation (not "suits"^^) and so it will be in the future I am sure.

Today there are even more and better opportunities for indies to release their own games on many platforms for almost no costs - games that people might love to play - more than "suit-made"-titles.

But let us not close our eyes a face reality - we are experiencing a major shift in technology and this affects of course our Industry - there are big challenges and also big opportunities.

We have the chance to build very new games for multiple platforms with a reach (e.g. 2-3b gamers) that was never been there before. We will see new platforms, new game designs and new business models.

Why should I blame EA for making a statement on future strategies? There a many small companies gaining great profits with their free-to-play games - all from microtransactions and/or ads. Just have a look yourself in the AppStore!

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Filipp Issa on 28th February 2013 9:11am

Posted:A year ago

#40

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

528 788 1.5
Like Bioware said about day one DLC (I think it was them anyway): "We'll stop making it when you stop buying it".

Posted:A year ago

#41
The harsh (for most commenters here) reality of this is that the only reaction the massed gamer ranks have to microtransactions is one of apathy and tacit acceptance. EA is making this move because microtransactions, where they and other publishers have implemented them in the past (most notably FIFA but also Assassins Creed and several others etc.), have not only provided a major revenue boost but have done so with no material impact on underlying boxed product sales. FIFA unit sales have grown every year FIFA UT has been implemented; ACIII's first week unit sales were double that of AC:R despite the vocal outcry over their multiplayer microtransactions implementation. As long as players keep buying microtransaction-equipped games and then spending money on hard currency, publishers will keep implementing them. If players were to stop doing this for whatever reason, I've no doubt EA would change this monetisation strategy.

Posted:A year ago

#42

Isaac Kirby Studying Computer Games Development, University of Central Lancashire

40 37 0.9
I purchased only the core game.
The cars in question were displayed in game at their "jackspots" (where you take control).
I drove upto one, pressed the button to hop in and it took me to an online store asking for 10 for some "ultimate speedster" DLC.
These cars are IN the core game. I could see them. The models were THERE. Yet it was asking for money to drive them.

By Wising up i mean thinking about what thier actions will encourage. Action and Consequence. By paying for microtransactions EA will use more. If they do not buy games until they are in a sale, or fall in price, maybe EA has to charge less.

Posted:A year ago

#43

Isaac Kirby Studying Computer Games Development, University of Central Lancashire

40 37 0.9
The problem is not where it is, but the promise at the start "If i can find it i can drive it". This is a lie. A bare faced lie.
I found it, i could not drive it. It is a false promise to the player at the start of the game.
They do not say "if you can find it you can pay extra to drive it".
Clarification:
The DLC in question came out a month after release. I purchased NFS:MW a week ago (PC). It seems EA, through Origin, updated me to the latest version with these cars in the game world. (Something im sure the EULA let's them do). It's just a shame the epic promise made at the start has been made false.
Surely they knew they were making a mockery of this promise, and leaving it in is frustrating. I dont mind "BUY DLC" in load screens, but to invade a game world so brazenly felt wrong, like having the EA salesman next to me. Yes it's good business, but after so much hard sell, some customers will be permanently put off. I think this mindset will come back to haunt them.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Isaac Kirby on 28th February 2013 1:05pm

Posted:A year ago

#44

Al Rhodes Web producer/designer

25 15 0.6
Sounds to me like there is a gap in the market for some gamer research companies to poll gamers and find out what they actually want based on real stats and feedback.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Al Rhodes on 28th February 2013 11:27am

Posted:A year ago

#45

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Some people seem to think that all microtransactions are bad.
And when it come to pay to win they have a point.
However if you value your customer (and you really, really should) then your first aim must be to provide a compelling experience. Then the customer will want to pay money to enhance that experience.
It is a matter of balance. Cynically seeking to maximise revenue before everything else is bad. Creating a great experience that is badly monetised is also bad.
At the moment we are all learning how to manage this new relationship we have with our public. World of Tanks seems to be a good example of getting it right.
One thing is for sure. If you are getting people to pay whilst they play, your game has to be very good.
There is no room now for the rubbish some people have got away with in the boxed product market for so long.

Posted:A year ago

#46

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,185 1,270 1.1
@Bruce

how are we to look at EA offering then? Do we get a complete 60 experience of a game which just happens to have another game packed in for free? Which is how Fifa ultimate team can be looked at. Or are we to look at the 60 experiences as the new baseline model, which was the catalyst to slowly turn the TV in our living room into a remotely operated one-arm bandit? Even in the best of circumstance, the nature of what we have installed in our homes is drastically changed.

EA's step certainly tells us a lot about how the next generation consoles intent to conduct and enable business. The state of the industry can be measured, when a company with "Arts" in the name shifts over to selling compulsion loops instead of interactive entertainment products. Not that EA did not try to sell "cheats" before. Just open an old EA to find hotline numbers, or look no further than the cheat modules of consoles past. Or the "hints" section of magazines for that matter. The product being sold in f2p has always existed, the means of delivery and the level of taunting is what has changed for the worst.

Posted:A year ago

#47

Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent

281 815 2.9
Popular Comment
Thirty years from now we'll look back on microstransactions with embarrassment similar to that which we currently feel towards Seventies sitcom racism.

Posted:A year ago

#48

Spencer Franklin Concept Artist

101 140 1.4
@Andreas Gschwari

I am personally not against micro-transactions/DLC...what I am against is them stripping the game down to bare bones, only those things you NEED to play the game, and removing all else... and then attempting to sell that to me piecemeal. That I take offense to. The items I mentioned previously, for example. I'm not against them creating new content after the fact, and then selling that, that is completely fine. They can charge whatever they want in that case, as I will determine it's value to me and whether or not I want to purchase it. But selling me a disc loaded with content that can't be accessed unless I pay more... NO. And don't kid yourself, we know well that if developers/publishers feel they can get away with it, they will push this very thing.

Look at what Gazillion has done with their soon released Marvel Heroes. They have actually put a value of over 750.00 to enjoy the COMPLETE experience of their game (that they will sell to you currently for 200.00). Regardless of whether you can acquire those things just from playing the game or not, it's the idea that they have placed the value that high already that should send warning signs up. People are talking about how prices on console games may move up to the 70.00us mark... but that's the least concern... its with these micro-transactions/DLC that they will actually be charging you much more to get the complete experience. The games will be designed in this way. And your simply kidding yourself if you think they wont be.

You want to give your "bare bones" game away for free, and then add micro-transactions, fine, have at it. But that's not what he's claiming here. No, what they want is you to first invest your 60-70 dollars...then invest some time in the game..then, when it's getting good, they hit you with "well, you CAN do it with what you have, but it will look cooler if you buy this, or be faster if you buy that... you know, since we intentionally made sure that doing these things with the "base" game would be very difficult, or extremely time consuming. I've worked for several publishers, I have sat in on games where the "cool" stuff was held back so that it could be packed into a premium DLC or added to the cash shop. But I guess my view is extremely narrow also...

Posted:A year ago

#49

Andreia Quinta Creative & People Photographer, Studio52 London

236 658 2.8
This statement only gives more credibility to my EA argument on that comment section.

"I have no idea what I'm doing" also comes to mind.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andreia Quinta on 28th February 2013 11:36pm

Posted:A year ago

#50

Aaron Brown BA Computer Science Student, Carnegie Mellon University

56 21 0.4
I don't want the actual game content like skills, weapons, or the campaign to be what gets monetized.
Players shouldn't gain any sort of advantage by paying extra.

But monetization does make sense applied to costumes and weapon skins and additional multiplayer maps. This sort of monetization is far more lucrative because it caters to an extremely inelastic market. Players in this market want the additional content and will pay however much they want for it. And those that do not pay for any additional content are at no disadvantage.

Posted:A year ago

#51

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,196 1,176 0.5
Real Racing 3,from what I'm hearing makes you buy in to keep playing or wait something like 15 minutes while your car repairs itself. Is that a good thing or a not so good thing?

As someone who loves driving games, that's not a good thing. Of course, some newer users will "get used to it" but I'd just move on to a game that lets me play it how and when I want without asking me to spend any more money unless it's on a screen away from the action.

Posted:A year ago

#52

Justin Biddle Software Developer

163 493 3.0
For anyone who thinks EA are going to get this right they need only read this article http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/1/4042704/real-racing-3-available-in-the-us-for-free

Posted:A year ago

#53

Spencer Franklin Concept Artist

101 140 1.4
@Andreas Gschwari

I don't think it's a knee jerk reaction, at least not for me. I base this on the many PC/mobile games I have played that do this kind of thing. I do understand more where you are coming from, which seems to be from a position of them (EA and others) doing it right... I guess in this I am biased because I fully expect them to use the most abusive form of micro transactions.

I took a look at the example you gave for Mass Effect, and it's one of the ones I dislike .. random lock-boxes, which has been a craze amongst many Asian MMO's (and is being banned in places). It's a scheme to play to peoples addictive nature, and much like gambling.. it pushes people to keep buying in hopes of getting that one item they may want. With this type of scheme, they have to make it seem a better deal than than playing the game to find said items (I'd have to compare the time it takes to grind out the in game credits vs. the cost in Microsoft Points, which I will try over the weekend).

Because this is Multiplayer, It doesn't personally bother me as much, as that is a side game to the Main...but had this been a part of the main game... I'd be very upset. And this is what I believe he was alluding to, this type of thing being in the base game (the full priced base game..). Time will tell...but this particular company has a negative track record that's not hard to follow...
But I do appreciate your candor and input, and I do hope that the future you see in this is closer to truth than the one I see.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Spencer Franklin on 1st March 2013 6:05pm

Posted:A year ago

#54

Ridgyaxe Unemployed, Stardock Corporation

1 0 0.0
I wouldn't mind micro-transactions, so long as they don't go the path of Candy Crush, a game on the iPhone 4S (Not sure if it's on other phone's) where in order to get further, you MUST pay to get progress (Side note, they have over 200 levels), or get insanely lucky.

However, if they continue doing things like they did with ME3, or like I think they did in Dead Space 3 (I only saw microtransactions for weapon parts, as I've only played the Demo), then paying for stuff that you want would be completely fine. People that choose to pay for an item that helps them out a little bit, or getting an item that's awesome would be their own choice.

So long as the micro-transactions don't affect the core gameplay element of the game, it'll be fine.

Posted:A year ago

#55

Matt Ernst Studying Culinary Arts, Hennepin Tech

24 20 0.8

Posted:A year ago

#56

Jeremie Sinic

43 18 0.4
What this simply means is: "We know investors all think microtransaction is the new holy grail, so let's send a signal that EA is going to do microtransaction the most."
Nothing to do with what players actually like or would like.

Posted:A year ago

#57

David Serrano Freelancer

300 273 0.9
Selina Kyle warns EA: You think this can last? There's a storm coming, Mr. Jorgensen. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you're all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.

Posted:A year ago

#58

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