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BF Heroes will be "a phenomenon" - David Perry

Mon 18 Aug 2008 7:00am GMT / 3:00am EDT / 12:00am PDT
Online

Veteran developer has faith that EA will "pull off" free-to-play model

Acclaim Inc founder and development veteran David Perry has told GamesIndustry.biz that he believes forthcoming Electronic Arts title Battlefield Heroes will be "a huge hit" and that he has "incredible faith that EA is going to pull this off."

Perry, talking in the build-up to his keynote talk at this year's GCDC event, is currently working on titles utilising the free-to-play model, including the massively-developed online racing game Project: Top Secret.

But while a number of companies have tested the free-to-play water, EA's move with Battlefield Heroes shouldn't be underestimated, he says.

"EA is a retail-based company and that means they're dealing with retailers everyday, they have constant retail issues that they're dealing with, and the last thing in the world they want to do is announce that they're going to go free-to-play... that's not a good relationship builder with your retail sales teams," he explained.

"For them to actually make that announcement was huge, I thought that was one of the biggest statements that EA has made in years and it just went over people's heads.

"They already have invested in Korea and The9 in China, they've been doing this for ages but they've been keeping it down. They built FIFA Online as a free MMO. Why would you make one of the most popular games in Asia and not release it in the US?

"The reason they don't is because they weren't going to commit EA to free-to-play games - but finally they have. I think Battlefield Heroes is going to be a huge hit, it's going to be a bit of a phenomenon... I have incredible faith that EA is going to pull this off."

Perry went on to explain that in his experience gamers are happy to spend more on micro-transactions than they might with a normal game's initial cost - and sometimes a great deal more.

"It's a whole different world you enter when you get into free-to-play, it's like the industry that we've all been missing and the second thing we've been missing is the idea of letting people pay what they want," he said.

"I've made so many games and we never, ever had the idea that people would pay more than the price of the game for the game, no one would pay over USD 60 if it's a USD 60 game. On our 2Moons game you've got people that spend USD 3000 happily, and if we had more stuff for them to buy they would buy it."

"Could you imagine if you were to take Halo and offer it free-to-play? How much money do you think some people would spend on Halo if they had a huge array of items that they could buy? I recon there's a cap out at about USD 10,000. When you think about it, the most we ask for is USD 60 and when you get those people spending a lot of money it brings the average up. On Acclaim Games right now we average USD 75 per person."

The full GamesIndustry.biz interview with David Perry is available now.

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