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Free-to-play coming to every major EA franchise - Moore

Free-to-play coming to every major EA franchise - Moore

Mon 26 Aug 2013 3:02pm GMT / 11:02am EDT / 8:02am PDT
PublishingFree-to-Play

COO Peter Moore lays out EA's priorities, says "We don't deliver offline experiences anymore"

Electronic Arts is banking on free-to-play in a big way. Speaking with Engadget at Gamescom over the weekend, EA COO Peter Moore said the publisher's goal is to let players interact with their franchises no matter where they are, what they're doing, or how much money they have in their pocket.

Moore emphasized EA's existing free-to-play efforts with its most successful franchises, Battlefield and FIFA, but said the company is looking to expand it well beyond those two.

"The ability for you to be able to interact with those franchises on a free-to-play basis is going to be part-and-parcel with every major franchise we do now," Moore said.

Another point of focus for the company is online functionality, as Moore has made clear in the past. The executive has championed moving the company from a seller of retail disks to a provider of "games as a service."

"We don't ship a game at EA that is offline," Moore said. "It just doesn't happen. And gamers either want to be connected so their stats and achievements reflect who they are, or you want the full multiplayer experience on top of that. We don't deliver offline experiences anymore."

When asked if the company would be supporting new hardware like the Nvidia Shield or Ouya, Moore took a step back to provide a peek at the company's priorities. The top priority for EA right now is the console market with the ramp up to next-gen debuts from Sony and Microsoft, Moore said. Right below that is the mobile space with iOS and Android development, then free-to-play PC titles. Moore said offerings like Shield and Ouya "kind of sit on the periphery of that," adding that the company has no plans to get involved right now.

As for the Oculus Rift, Moore said that the peripheral market was a challenging one, but that much like with the aforementioned alternative consoles, EA will keep an eye on them to see if it's something consumers want. And if the demand is there, then EA will be as well.

[UPDATE]: Moore has clarified his statements in a blog post on EA's website in the wake of "misinterpretations" among gamers and the press. He specified that not all games will require an online connection, just that there will be some optional online functionality. As for bringing all the company's major franchises to the free-to-play world, Moore said some people had misunderstood that to mean that all EA games would have free-to-play modes.

33 Comments

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,628 1,509 0.9
"We don't ship a game at EA that is offline," Moore said.... We don't deliver offline experiences anymore."
But why not? Not every gamer is the same. Not every gamer wants online-only, just like not every player wants offline-only. With EA's IP and studios, this comment strikes me as a cost-cutting procedure. It is, arguably, easier in terms of design (and thus, design-costs) to have a blanket approach to gaming than a carefully considered selective approach. Add to that the target demographic for some games is one that is not always online, and we have an EA that seems ready to repeat the experiences of Sim City just a few months ago.

And, for those who think this statement is hyperbole - Do the target audiences for The Sims and Dragon Age strike you as ones that
want to be connected so their stats and achievements reflect who they are, or you want the full multiplayer experience on top of that.
?

It seems to me that those two franchises alone are going to be the next two Sim City-style failures in terms of restricted single-player experiences and server issues.
The top priority for EA right now is the console market with the ramp up to next-gen debuts from Sony and Microsoft, Moore said. Right below that is the mobile space with iOS and Android development, then free-to-play PC titles.
And nothing about AAA $60 PC games? Um. Okay. So, all those PC gamers who are going to be buying BF4 mean nothing to Peter Moore? Or is it that that market is so small it's not worth considering? Or... What?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 26th August 2013 4:43pm

Posted:A year ago

#1

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,628 1,509 0.9
@ Eric
I still very much intend to spend a few hundred bucks a year on offline single player games... So, if EA doesn't deliver that anymore, will anyone else be willing to take my money?
Depends what genres of games you're interested in, but I think for people with even a moderate disposable income, Kickstarter really could be the place to go. Chris Roberts has proven that a Space Sim can rake in the money, and that is going to have a single player experience. Obsidian are providing single-player RPGs. Double Fine are providing single-player adventures and RPGs. (Yup, there's an overwhelming bias to RPGs on KS, but that should surely tell publishers (like EA) something).

Actually, aside from the obvious sarcasm above, there's publishers and non-KS developers who are providing single-player offline experiences - Arkane is the one that comes to mind first. You know, I really think we'll be okay without EA and their shoe-horning online into their IP. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 26th August 2013 5:11pm

Posted:A year ago

#2

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

429 1,027 2.4
Popular Comment
I agree with Eric. For me sometimes, not always, but sometimes I like to play a game that simply allows me to escape the everyday nonsense of society. These are the " just leave me alone" times I crave, and single player offline games are wonderful for this.

and if I were totally honest, the older i get, my interest for gaming is staying the same, my tolerance of nonsense however dwindles.

So sure I do enjoy the online experience, I enjoy the energy and life other people bring to games and gaming experiences, but with this energy comes nonsense, and for that I need another option. Its silly for EA not to see that.

Just another large corp out of touch with its customer base, pretty typical these days. Thankfully as Morville points out KS and small devs are there to pick up the slack.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Carlos Bordeu Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder, ACE Team

77 115 1.5
And news like this is why I don't like FTP... not because I don't think there is a place for the model, but because there is a risk of seeing it forced into everything by people who are only thinking about what makes more money.

What is going to happen to franchises like Mirror's Edge? Dead Space? Etc, etc... I can't believe these type of titles can exist as FTP games without a great compromise (or destruction) of their creative visions.

My fear is that if in time we have many publishers offering all their products in this format, we will have an over saturation of games that can be played for free - monopolizing the majority of gamer's time. This will mean that only fewer successful titles will be economically viable, with everything else not making enough (I doubt the market can survive with every developer giving away their work for "free" in the hopes of earning money through in-game purchases). You'll basically have the majority of players acting as 'free-riders' for the less conventional titles, putting their cash only into the more proven and successful ones. If such a scenario occurred we'd see an even more notable decline in the diversity of games created on the long run, and maybe even more studios shut down.

Obviously I'm no fortuneteller and my opinion is without any evidence that things would work out this way. But FTP lends itself too much to be used in ways that I don't like, and seeing one of the largest publishers in the world say what seems to sound an awful lot like "FTP is the way forward", is quite frankly scary.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Dan Wood Visual Effects Artist

37 62 1.7
Hmm, my understanding of business language is shakey, but I believe this roughly translates to:
"I know we got our asses handed to us over SimCity, but we reckon if we keep on pulling the same relentless crap over and over again, eventually people will start to forget what all the fuss was about and give up resisting it, and then we'll make a friggin' fortune!"

Posted:A year ago

#5

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

959 1,758 1.8
Well, since publishers stopped giving about demos decades ago, we've had a model that penalises customers by expecting them to pay up front, sight unseen, for a product. That happens practically nowhere else because its not consumer friendly. You can take a car for a test drive, you can handle a kettle in a homewares store and get a no quibble refund if you don't like it.

Compared to the current negative model, F2P is far more consumer friendly allowing people to pay what they want, when they want to pay it. Or walk away having spent nothing if they don't fancy it.

That so many can't understand how and why this model is snatching market share hand over fist is the bigger story imo.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,287 2,507 1.1
Popular Comment
Paul, holding the kettle is not testing the kettle. I doubt the kettle manufacturer will let you take one home, cook with it and then take it back for no charge if you don't like it. Handling the kettle in the store is akin to holding the game box in the store. And many stores do allow refunds for opened video games within a certain time period.

Vehicle test drives are also on a financial level that is incomparable with video games. And let's not forget that it is the dealer giving you that test drive, not the manufacturer.

As for video game demos, I thought they were still very common? More to the point, I don't think they even existed at all decades ago.

While the F2P model is indeed consumer friendly, it's simply not applicable to all video game genres. it alters the way you have to design the game. You have to think monetization alongside design which can often leave a great game idea dead in the conception stage.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
So i guess, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Mirrors Edge are all going F2P? Why? You know when I play games I dont always want to go social, sometimes I want to get away from society. I want to forget about banks, bills and paying for stuff, I dont want to be online, always connected, I just want to play a damn game and forget about everything else. I crave single player offline expiriences. Besides I hate depending on an internet connection to play.

Its come to a point where if the way I enjoy playing games ceases to exist, I will simply stop playing them. Im willing to give my money and pay for certain expiriences. I just hope that these expiriences are still created by developers in the forseeable future. And if not then I change hobbies.

F2P simply changes the nature in which I like to play games and F2P games, by nature they need to have the gameplay and difficulty, taylor made for a F2P space, much like an MMO or online first person shooter. You have to make it hard enough so people are pushed to spend more money on it, such as a first person shooter in which to have the edge in battle you need better equipment. So they have to design the game in a way where you die just enough to warrent an ingame purchase.

So if they are bringing F2P to Mass Effect and Dragon Age and Mirrors Edge or even a future iteration of SSX, than it will kill the expirience for me. One of the most fun aspects of SSX was unlocking stuff, characters, bards, equpment and courses. Now I have to pay for that? Now I cant win races unless I have that magical board?

Mass Effect 3 did a few things right though in the way the multiplayer and ingame purchases were completely seperate from the main campaign. Its the only reason i gave multiplayer a shot. I actually enjoyed Multiplayer and still play it to this day, however the online transactions in the multiplayer simply killed it for me, to this day I still have to play using the really crappy weapons because I lack the firepower to get the ingame credits to get weapons appropriate for gold and platinum medals. I find it very hard to believe that the advantage isnt given to players who have deep wallets willing to pay enough to get all the best weapons and upgrade a rare weapon to level X. It comes to a point where players dont even want to play with me cause of my low ranking or crappy weapons. I can never play with someone on gold and get those extra credits to get better equipment. Once they see my characters shitty weapons they kick me out of the lobby or if I create the game, they just leave.

I dont see the benefits of F2P for the gamer.Only for the people who make the game. When a developer tries to make a statement in how the F2P model benefits the gamer, its a lie. To me its just a quirky new method for them to make cash. Cause the notion of that its free to play the game is false. Its nothing more than a DEMO.

I used to play alot of these facebook games, but would always get angry when I had to pay real money for the cool stuff, if not I had to accomplish a task that took an obscene amount of time and collect an enormouse amount of ingame credits, like 2million ingame credits for chinese themed building (pagoda) in farmville. In which case Im willing to just stop playing if they fuck around with my favorite franchises with all the F2P bullshit.

F2P is an industry term that irks me. And the notion that its FREE to play is simply false. All you get is a demo of a game, or a half assed access to a game in which you have to pay more to get or do all the cool stuff. What is so free about that? That you can play for a few hours only to be asked to pay up if you want to go foward or get something cool?

If EA starts messing around with my favorite franchises Im ready to bail out all together. Im ok with playing Nintendo games all my life, at least those are always fun.

And Peter Moore statement that EA only makes games that work online, will further alienate me from there games.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 27th August 2013 2:26pm

Posted:A year ago

#8

Carlos Bordeu Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder, ACE Team

77 115 1.5
Paul, I often agree with you that some people misrepresent FTP, but here you are misrepresenting the regular paid games model. Jim is right, and if we use closer examples to our medium (books or films) you can purchase/see bad ones with no indication of the quality of the content you'll get. This is completely normal.

We base most of our purchases on reviews, word-of-mouth, value and brand recognition... be it a videogame, a book, a fishing rod or a vacuum cleaner.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Dan Wood Visual Effects Artist

37 62 1.7
That so many can't understand how and why this model is snatching market share hand over fist is the bigger story imo.
It's because it's a publisher's wet dream - and any industry would probably push a business model like this at the exclusion of all else if they thought for a moment that they could exert the control required to make it work.
Kettle manufacturers would just love to have the control to be able to give people kettles for free, which allow you to make two cups of tea per day, and any more require a per-boil micro-transaction.
It would also make them incredibly annoying devices to use.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

959 1,758 1.8
It's funny that I slightly misrepresented the normal model and several people jumped on me right away. The irony of that is making my head spin. :)

Posted:A year ago

#11

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

959 1,758 1.8
@Ricky Lopez. You should try Combat Monsters - our first F2P game. That's not pimping because I know you won't pay a bean. But you will find it a very inconvenient game for your arguments.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,196 1,176 0.5
Oh, good lord. Single player games are IMPORTANT for another reason. If they're done right, the player can immerse him or herself FULLY and (other than the requisite patch many games seem to need within the first week or so) not have to "go back to the well" and toss some coin in for new content (or, hell even get said content for free because it SHOULD have been in the game in the first place - other than whatever meaningful expansions are released, of course).
And gamers either want to be connected so their stats and achievements reflect who they are, or you want the full multiplayer experience on top of that.
Um... no, I don't. Sorry I don't fit this model, but I PREFER my life and actions reflect who I am, not what I do for a hobby.

As for the "full multiplayer experience"... Ugh... and hopefully NOT in a Dragon Age game. Maybe take a look at what CD Projekt Red is doing with The Witcher 3 (which is so far, unsullied by multiplayer and looking like a BETTER game for it). Outside of challenge-based racing games (many of which devolve into demolition derbies) or PvP in MMOs and other fantasy titles, what is multiplayer other than people screaming obscenities at each other as they kill each other in the face (from different perspectives) or try and grab some ball and get it from point A to Point B?

OK, turn-based strategy games are also exempt here (mostly), but for me, the logic is backwards to say every game needs to ship with an online experience (or only as one), as what does one do the day those servers aren't being served? All you have is a dead game you can't play and memories that will only be good up to the point you remember the day the game stopped working.

By trying to make so much more of a game transaction-based and/or "social" (I play my RPGs alone, thank you), all this is doing is forcing fans of some franchises to suck it up and hope the experience they're paying for meets their expectations and isn't ruined by too little for them to do outside the shoehorned in elements not in previous games they liked. I don't like the feeling of having to "report" or having everything I do "reported" to anyone unless I can check a box on an option screen to allow it.

@Paul. Hell, I'll play Combat Monsters... but I'd rather pay up front for something complete I can dink around with offline without even thinking I'm playing a F2P title. I don't own a smartphone or tablet, so I'm not one of those folks who gets hooked into games unless I can sit around with them with no clock or other monitoring ticking away in the background...

Posted:A year ago

#13

Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online

144 94 0.7
@Morville:
Not every gamer is the same. Not every gamer wants online-only, just like not every player wants offline-only
This.

Also, I wonder if Peter and some other decision makers have checked, say, the first 100 reviews of Plants vs. Zombies 2 in the App Store? Mostly 1-star-reviews, saying that they would rather pay $9.99 for a full game than have the game be FTP but in reality really just P2W.

Posted:A year ago

#14

James Ingrams Writer

215 85 0.4
So EA does again what it's so good at - puts another nail in the coffin of the mainstream gaming industry. I can see console gamers going PC rather than PS4 or XBOX One, because that's where the growing number of (indie) games are - and that's where the originality, gameplay orientated games are now. Console might have 100 games released in the next year, but 87 of them with be in the First Person Shooter category!

Posted:A year ago

#15

Hugo Trepanier Senior UI Designer, Hibernum

156 144 0.9
@Paul, the F2P model deservedly gets so much hate because it is often morally done wrong in many games. There are a few simple reasons why so many gamers and developers perceive it as a pay to win model, or simply a scam.

I develop F2P games for a living and I enjoy them tremendously when they're designed properly, but I see it done wrong a lot of the time in many games I try. It's quite odd that our industry tries to rake most of its profits from very few customers who spend alarming amounts on a game (unflatteringly called whales) whereas the rest tags along for free. No other business in the world functions in this manner. I'd rather have more paying customers who spend a decent and fair amount than devise insane ways to hook a few victims dubiously.

Also, the overabundance of consumables diminishes their perceived value because the player typically needs to continually purchase more. There is no permanence to the goods you purchase. What's more, your game and investment can be taken offline any time if the developer decides so, taking away all your purchases and time with them.

Sure, the model is quite attractive when done right, but the above are just a few examples to show how it's easy not to like it from a customer/gamer point of view. The F2P games I prefer are by far the ones that give me a decent sample to enjoy freely and offer me to buy the rest of the experience in one convenient package for a one-time fee. There should be more of that and I think we'd generally be more happy, both as a healthy industry and as satisfied gamers.

@Jim, don't forget there used to be such a thing as shareware ;) I remember the good old days when I got copies of Wolfenstein 3D and Commander Keen on floppies with just the first chapter for free. Those pretty much count as demos!

Posted:A year ago

#16

Carl Crawford Studying Bachelor of Information Technology, Otago Polytehnic

18 19 1.1
EA is now DEAD to me.

Posted:A year ago

#17

Kirsty Rigden Operations Director, FuturLab

15 45 3.0
Am I missing something - I thought they just announced that The Sims 4 will be an offline experience? http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-08-21-the-sims-4-will-be-an-offline-game

Posted:A year ago

#18

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

292 704 2.4
What the hell is going on at EA these days?? F2P is a viable business model, but as many have been rightly arguing, it isn't the only business model. IMO EA should get the best of both worlds and work on offline and online products.

Why this drive to remove choice from the customer? Surely people want choice and the ability to play offline and online games whenever they choose. If all the big companies start thinking in purely black and white terms then we all get limited to 'YOU WILL play the games as WE WANT you to play them, NO ALTERNATIVE'.

They definitely need to get someone in who has a wide viewpoint and can look beyond blind reaction to the market.

There was a time when EA were a great company.

There was a time......

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 27th August 2013 10:42am

Posted:A year ago

#19

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
EA have a huge number of titles across many genres, most platforms and a wide variety of business models.
This gives them unsurpassed insight into the customer. What the customer is doing and what the customer wants.
If Moore says that all their franchises are going FTP then that can only be because this is what the customer wants.
As GungHO, SuperCell, King.com etc etc have already comprehensively proved.

Posted:A year ago

#20

Stu Johnson Technical Lead

15 39 2.6
Popular Comment
Ok.. so I am most probably an anachronistic dinosaur, with 30++ years dev . experience and pretty much on the same wavelength as Greg, but last time I checked I was also a customer. So are many of the posters above.

I like packaged goods. I like my purchases to be tactile. I like to own them. I like to play games on my own, badly in my own time, the way I want to play them.

About 2 years ago I spent what felt like an age, in design meetings as a technical consultant discussing a sequel to a well know title. Number 1 item on the agenda, how to monetise. USP, new tech. and general awesomeness were well down the pecking order. No progress could be made until the marketing guys and the bean-counters were happy, then and only then could ‘game play’ be built around it. That was the day a part of me died and I considered pursuing a more productive career such as cat herding…
Before the flames start, I do play F2P, my favourite waste of time is Bejewelled Blitz, whiles away those spare minutes on the train etc., and helps annoy up my friends on Facebook. This is a title that was done well, but that does not change my preferences when safely back in the sanctity of my own home.

Bottom line, giving the customer what they want is not the same as telling them what they want and offering no alternative..

my 2p and mine alone...

Posted:A year ago

#21

Justin Biddle Software Developer

163 493 3.0
Popular Comment
No. I'm all for this. If all games become F2P and online I will no longer need to play new games and I might finally get round to finishing off my massive back catalogue of single games I bought and yet to play.

Posted:A year ago

#22

Justin Biddle Software Developer

163 493 3.0
Oh blast. Alain Corre of Ubisoft puts paid to my hopes of being left alone to play my back catalogue

“I think the free-to-play experience is something that’s pleasing to a certain category of gamers. But still, the vast majority likes big products, big experiences as far as emotion, graphics, sound, and gameplay. We think these big games will go on,”

He must be lying. The idea that two forms can coexist? Ludicrous! ;)

Posted:A year ago

#23

Craig Page Programmer

390 233 0.6
What Rick said. Mass Effect and Dragon Age are much better as offline experiences.

Unless there's a pirate ship upgrade that allows commander Sheppard to leave the fleet and raid other ships...

Posted:A year ago

#24

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,628 1,509 0.9
Popular Comment
@ Bruce
EA have a huge number of titles across many genres, most platforms and a wide variety of business models. This gives them unsurpassed insight into the customer. What the customer is doing and what the customer wants.
2 things here Bruce.

1) If EA have that much customer insight, how is Origin so far behind the market leader (Steam) for digital distribution? How have they missed multiple million dollar possibilities by ignoring the single-player core RPG market. How have they ignored the heavy-weight Space Sim market? How did they turn the Syndicate franchise (something that only hardcore fans knew about from the 90s) into an FPS, thereby losing all their potential customer base? How have they completely failed to capitalise on their massive amounts of IP from all the studios they've bought?

2) As I note above, does the Sims player-base want F2P? What about Dragon Age? What about Sim City? We've already seen EA drastically misjudge the core-Sim City customer. Doesn't this shift towards F2P have the potential to disregard the core pay-upfront market (with a large amount of disposable income) that doesn't want to buy into the F2P/Always Online business plan? In the last 2 months alone I've spent a considerable amount of money on full-price core games - Wasteland 2, Star Citizen, Gone Home, Hate Plus, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs. That is money that EA could make a play for... But, according to Peter Moore, my money is not for him.

Edit: Oh, and I just bought a second-hand 360.

I honestly cannot fathom the mind of someone who pits his company so against the consumer's disposable income.

Edit:

But, I suppose it doesn't matter. For a lot of core, offline/single-player consumers, this will force a radical change of view of EA's IP. And in a lot of cases, I think the objective (that is, non-fan) consumer will simply decide to not care about EA. After all, does it really matter to the core player? The two IP that I care about from EA are Mirror's Edge and Dragon Age. Yet the view that BioWare can do no wrong has weakened - this is partially why KickStarter PC RPGs have succeeded so far beyond their base funding requirements. So, RPG fans get their kicks someplace else. Mirror's Edge isn't going to be the only FPS parkour game in existence. There'll be another. The fact that the last EA Syndicate game was an FPS helped Mike Diskett fund Satellite Reign. It goes on...

So, if Peter Moore is reading this (I've seen your posts here :) ), I just want to say this:

It's okay. You don't want consumers who favour single-player pay-upfront content. And that's okay. We can live without your games. Someone else will provide for our market, and we'll give them our dollars. :)

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 27th August 2013 6:31pm

Posted:A year ago

#25

Peter Moore Chief Operating Officer, Electronic Arts

16 106 6.6
I'll just leave this here for you all...
http://www.ea.com/news/a-quick-clarification-on-online-games

Posted:A year ago

#26

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,628 1,509 0.9
Hey Peter. :)

Well... The flippant remark here is to say "(Back)pedal faster, man... Faster!" Since it seems that that is what your clarification is. But, flippancy is... Shallow at the best of times. So...

Whilst your clarification may well be truer to what you meant, I honestly think that I'm done with EA. Where most other companies (both inside and outside the games industry) are thoughtful, EA always strikes me as a company that speaks first, and considers its position second (by contrast, Valve is at the other extreme, whilst a happy medium is, I think, between the two companies). As such, my confidence in EA is always shaky at best. No commentator nor consumer should ever think "Can I trust this company this time," yet that is what I do. And, just like I don't entirely trust Microsoft's changes of heart, I don't entirely trust what you say now, compared to what you said before. Or, to put it another way, if there hadn't have been such a fuss, would you really have issued a clarification?

In any event, I hope you don't take offence at what I'm saying, nor think it disrespectful or spiteful, since it is not meant as such.

Posted:A year ago

#27

Carlos Bordeu Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder, ACE Team

77 115 1.5
Thanks for the clarification Peter (especially about Free-to-Play).

Posted:A year ago

#28

Peter Moore Chief Operating Officer, Electronic Arts

16 106 6.6
@Morville.

No back pedaling here whatsoever. I stand by EVERY word in the interview. That some chose to interpret my comments differently is entirely their business, but the discourse grew to the point where I felt it necessary to comment. I have an obligation to the many thousands of talented EA employees to ensure that my comments are understood clearly and not confusing (and as a Scouser, that's sometimes not easy...)

Posted:A year ago

#29

Erik Yuzwa Developer

7 0 0.0
All I saw while reading these comments was Phantom Menace all over again: Lucas made IV-VI for *you* but made I-III for your *kid*.

Peter, I honestly only wish that I just read the interview and not the "clarification". When you try to become all things to all people...well you get IE6 and 400 versions of Windows ME - yuk.

I like your frankness and attitude and the F2P direction!

Same with @PaulJohnson, great stuff.

Posted:A year ago

#30

James Prendergast Research Chemist

740 437 0.6
I must be in a minority. I don't play any "online" games any more and I only play "online" when playing through steam if I've not remembered to put myself into offline mode.

The last titles I really played online were Q3A, City of Heroes and Planetside.

Even achievements are something that I don't particularly like (though I know many people do) - especially because they've become so laden with seriousness and chest-beating that you cannot earn those in offline modes. I remember one time I had a conversation with a guy I knew in work who was convinced he was the best gamer of all time and despite his real lack of knowledge of games, game culture, history and the industry, he continued to tell me he was far superior to me because of my very, very low gamerscore because all he ever did was chase achievements in games instead of playing them to enjoy the content rather than playing to enjoy the badge collecting (which I know is just another form of self-entertainment).

I fear that this is the sort of mentality that the industry is cultivating and it feeds directly into large swathes of the F2P model.

Posted:A year ago

#31

Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

471 477 1.0
If Moore says that all their franchises are going FTP then that can only be because this is what the customer wants.
Like Microsoft huh?

Or Nintendo?

Having many customers does not guarantee you'll get them right every time otherwise the Playstation wouldn't have had a chance against the N64, and the Wii-U would have been as popular as the Wii.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 28th August 2013 11:27am

Posted:A year ago

#32

Yvonne Neuland Studying Game Development, Full Sail University

32 55 1.7
I have a suspicion that the decision to move to exclusively online games is actually motivated by a desire to collect aggregated data more than anything else. Free-to-play games on mobile, social media, and PC platforms are almost always imbedded with data mining software, even if they are not multi-player.

F2P games on the Android platform generally run this software in the background permanently, regardless of whether or not you are actually playing the game. Developer's standard explanation for this when questioned by players about why the game always runs in the background, is that "it is just a built in function for enabling ad-support or Google play payments. If that were true, though, they would all always run in the background, which isn't the case. If you check the permissions list on those games, they generally have permission to monitor just about everything, from location data, to text messaging to your phone calls, emails and contact list.

I'm sure most social media games work the same way.

I have read statements in the past given by EA acknowledging that they track virtually everything the player does inside of the game, theoretically for use by EA to improve gameplay. I find it far more likely that the data is also being sold to 3rd parties.

Just throwing it out there, Microsoft's move to always online with the Xbox one is quite possibly also motivated by the desire to profit off of the sale of aggregated data.

Consoles have only recently added the kind of always online connections that would enable them to be data mined in the same manner as other platforms.

Always-online games do offer many potential benefits, such as the the ability to fix issues that snuck past pre-release QA, or to provide constantly updated content. If they truly plan to up their game with constant quality updates and customer support, then this could be a good move.

If they plan to claim they offer constant content updates and customer support, but in actuality are simply looking for increased revenue, it will only hurt them in the long run. Almost all online-connected games claim to offer "constant content updates," but in reality the constant updates are sporadic additions of a handful of graphics that cost $20 dollars or more in their microtransaction store.

F2P, when done right, is a great way to draw in new audiences. When done wrong, it generally drives audiences away....for everyone. Unfortunately, there are far more people looking to get-rich-quick than provide a great product/service. Personally, I generally no longer play F2P games at all. Finding the needles in F2P haystack is virtually impossible at this point, because they are buried beneath a bunch of manure no one wants to dig through.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Yvonne Neuland on 29th August 2013 1:34am

Posted:A year ago

#33

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