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EA will build microtransactions into all its games

by Mark Tyson on 1 March 2013, 10:44

Tags: Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabtff

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EA CFO Blake Jorgensen has spoken at the Morgan Stanley Technology Media & Telecom Conference about the company’s plans to include microtransactions in all the publisher’s future games. Part of the reason for the future direction is because “consumers are enjoying and embracing” the model.

It’s no surprise that EA is sold on the microtransactions model but that these mini-payments will appear in ALL future EA titles might be a shock to some people. EA must feel, however, that the mini-payment complaints come from a vocal minority because if the company didn’t have good financial evidence of microtransactions working well, of being a successful and an accepted business model, then it simply wouldn’t implement them.

Key quotes by Jorgenson about the future implementation of microtransactions in EA games include:

  • 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.
  • Consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business.

EA’s microtransactions within the F2P Real Racing 3 game

Yesterday EA launched Real Racing 3 for Android and iOS. The prequels to this racing game used to be purchased outright by gamers, the latest instalment is a free to play affair (F2P).

Reporters on The Verge have been playing on the game and found it to contain some of “the most impressive mobile graphics we've ever seen” with a huge amount of content, yet they don’t seem to like it. The reason is that microtransactions have been implemented a bit too copiously by EA; “in-app purchases permeate every facet of Real Racing 3's existence”, yet in-game money is “doled out in meagre amounts when you place high in an event”. But of course you can buy in-game money with your real hard earned cash. The Verge reporters think an enthusiastic Real Racer could easily spend more than the outright price of the game prequels very quickly if playing RR3 with abandon.

Thus Real Racing 3 has polarised the opinions of downloaders, as you can see by the ratings on Google Play; the majority of downloaders give the game either 5 stars (out of 5) or the lowest possible rating of 1 star. We shall see if EA changes the balance between free and paid upgrades etc to address such polarisation in the future.

EA’s Jorgenson also told the Morgan Stanley conference attendees that the company is bringing its microtransactions processing in-house. That’s an obvious cost-cutting measure to implement now that EA has trialled the model and wants to adopt it much more extensively.



HEXUS Forums :: 70 Comments

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If this is the way games are going to go, I think I'll just stick with PS3 and VMs on the PC. GOG will probably get a lot more business out of this….
It’s no surprise that EA is sold on the microtransactions model but that these mini-payments will appear in ALL future EA titles might be a shock to some people. EA must feel, however, that the mini-payment complaints come from a vocal minority
Pretty obvious move to me - in-app purchases are a great way to bump the price sky high without folks noticing. E.g. that news article on the BBC this morning where some little lad managed to spend £1700 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-21620814). What got me in the interview with his mum was that she seemed to be saying that a single DLC pack was nearly £70.

I've got caught myself where a “free” game turns out to be feature limited unless you spend on it. I don't mind so much the optional stuff like in Dead Trigger where you can buy in game money rather than earn it, what does get my hackles raised is where you need to spend that money to actually play the game to an extent more than a demo. Thankfully most of my recent purchases have been on the Amazon app store where at least they do warn you of in app purchases.

Getting back to the EA thing, presumably because they're “leveraging” this new payment method, the “sticker price” of games will fall. So presumably Battlefield 4 on the PC will be <£20 new?

Actually no, I can't see that happening either. :censored:
I'm pretty close to uninstalling The Simpsons Tapped Out from my Nexus because of the ‘pay for stuff to progress’ mentality. Guess who the software house is? EA…

£35 for 900 donuts. I can see that £70 was easy to spend…
Smudger
I'm pretty close to uninstalling The Simpsons Tapped Out from my Nexus because of the ‘pay for stuff to progress’ mentality. Guess who the software house is? EA…
£35 for 900 donuts. I can see that £70 was easy to spend…
WOW - that's just about the full price for something like the Sims on PC (£37 and change on Game's website). No way would I be prepared to pay the same price as a game for some slab of DLC. :o

Is this the Gillette theory of business - sell the razor (in this case the game) at cost, but sting the suckers for the consumables?
I already paid for the damn game, why should I keep on spending money on it after I bought it, this is just a cheap trick from EA to rip us off, this is just stupid.