Electronic Arts Defends "Freemium" Games

Electronic Arts Defends "Freemium" Games

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Electronic Arts says the success of the iOS game Real Racing 3 means "the market has spoken" on free-to-play games.

"Freemium" is another name for free-to-play games that you can download and play without cost, but can purchase optional upgrades for as you go. Mainstream gamers may not be terribly familiar with the term, as evidenced by the shocked and appalled reaction to the inclusion of microtransactions in Dead Space 3 (which, to be fair, is pretty far from free), but for mobile gamers it's as natural as the green grass and the blue sky.

EA stirred up a fuss in February when it claimed that gamers are "enjoying and embracing" the microtransaction business model, but the success of the recently-released Real Racing 3 makes it a difficult position to deny. The game took heat immediately after release for excessively punishing non-payers but after some tweaks, it quickly became a hit; downloads during its first week of release exceeded the total combined downloads of the first two Real Racing games and Nick Earl, vice president of EA's mobile and social studios, said the decision to go free-to-play was "vindicated early" by its financial performance.

"The vocal minority lashed out at freemium," Earl told CNet. "We respect them and understand, but the market has spoken. That's just where things are going."

Earl's focus is obviously on mobile games, but it's not too much of a stretch to see how the principle can (and will) apply to mainstream, full-priced games as well. Like it or not, people spend money on these things, and that's what it's all about. Freemium content can also help extend the lifespan of a game by offering a stream of low-priced new content. "Our expectation is that this is a service that can live for years," Earl added, pointing the way to the future by referring to Real Racing 3 as a "service" and noting that developer FireMonkeys is hard at work on generating content for the game and has no plans for Real Racing 4.

Source: CNet

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Now it's official! Never mind that everybody who isn't associated with EA had known this for quite some time.

Good lord these guys are so pathetic. They are focused entirely on short-term profiteering. They have absolutely no sense for what the future will bring.

Just because people are getting into f2p games at the moment doesn't mean that they will always do so. You need to ask yourself how many of those games can one person devote their time to. They are mostly multiplayer oriented games. People tend to choose one or two of those and stick with them. At least until something better comes along. And they will choose the best game. The game that gives them the most amount of fun for the least amount of money. Which is something EA doesn't understand or care enough to even try. Example: SWTOR f2p model.
If every company suddenly starts making f2p games, I can already predict that it isn't going to end well. F2P isn't the future. Those games can only succeed if there's not that many of them.

Boy, they never learn, do they? I mean, how backwards can your brain be?

INB4 The next great EA shooting gallery.

Two immediately naysayers in the thread, what a shocker. In a world where League of Legends is the most played game in the world and EA praises that business model, the immediate response is "OMG EA U SO DUM" like really guys? Really? This is where we are now?

I swear I can't come to this forum without risking high blood pressure.

This shit has been well known since team fortress 2 became free to play and became a money printing machine for valve... And it had examples even before that. This is not new. Dota 2 is another example.

Tbh I think we need more high profile non-iOS games like this... But for the love of god not too many.

"There are people who disagree with us, but we're going to keep going with the model that's advantageous to us and ignore any criticism."

Yeah. Never heard that before.

Never heard that from Electronic Arts before.

You might ask what the market had to say about microtransactions to Zynga... But that will never happen. The narrative has been set; onward, into the meat grinder.

It's a brave new world, ladies and gentlemen. It'll get worse before it gets better.

Frostbite3789:
Two immediately naysayers in the thread, what a shocker. In a world where League of Legends is the most played game in the world and EA praises that business model, the immediate response is "OMG EA U SO DUM" like really guys? Really? This is where we are now?

I swear I can't come to this forum without risking high blood pressure.

Freemium IS the future, but there's a huge gulf of difference between trip A console releases and the phone game that is the subject. Different beasts entirely.

Riot games system is cosmetic and supports a wide variety of purchasing habits. EA does not.

So let me get this straight - people complain about microtransations in full-priced games, and EA defends the freemium business model?

The people who hate MTs are usually fine when it's a F2P game as long as you can't buy power or something gamebreaking like that. When it's not only being put into AAA $60 games but is also affecting gameplay balance, that's when people get really pissed off. Add to that the issues with the general issues with day-1 DLC in particular as well as the specific tendency of certain companies *coughYOUcough* to focus more on selling DLC than they are to actually get the game in working order (SimCity anyone?), and of course people are going to hate it. It's not about it's existence (bar day-1 DLC), it's about how you use it.

Captcha: "she's a witch" ...I don't get it. Has the psychic powers of Captcha failed?

EA explaining the obvious.
Yes, Freemium is the hip thing right now. Yes, you should probably try to get into that while you can. No, you can't expect gamers to understand your decision.

Why? Because you're EA, and have burned many bridges, lied to your customers and abused our trust for many years now. I'm sorry you don't realize where all the hate is coming from, but that's your problem.

Wouldn't it be nice if EA was reduced to nothing else than a mobile platform developer >_>

I don't usually buy mobile games anyway. The last time I bought one was because I was bored and waiting for a concert to start. I've not played it much since.

I have no problem with games being made free to play. What I have issue with is the feeling of being ripped off. If I feel a game was worth the money I spent on it, then fine. If not, if I put down $60 for a game that then tries to nickel and dime me to death, then I won't like it. These are not difficult concepts.

It must be nice to live in world where everyone loves you unconditionally.

Adam Jensen:
Now it's official! Never mind that everybody who isn't associated with EA had known this for quite some time.

Good lord these guys are so pathetic. They are focused entirely on short-term profiteering. They have absolutely no sense for what the future will bring.

More developers for them to buy out and run into an early grave of mediocrity?

Wenseph:
Wouldn't it be nice if EA was reduced to nothing else than a mobile platform developer >_>

I don't usually buy mobile games anyway. The last time I bought one was because I was bored and waiting for a concert to start. I've not played it much since.

Pretty sure that's their plan anyway

Why am I reminded of a late comer to the gold rush shouting at the top of his voice, "There's gold in those hills", whenever EA talk about Free to Play models? Yes F2P is a lucrative route to go down when done right, see TF2, DOTA2 and LOL. But EA don't have a record of doing things right as of late. Plus it would be pretty foolish of EA to stick all their eggs into the F2P basket because like all seemingly good money printing business models the well eventually runs dry.

Eh. I play a few F2P games already on and off. (DotA2, Hawken, previously LoL)
For the risk required on the user's part (nothin'), it's a fair tradeoff.
And if it goes Pay2Win or pulls some other nonsense, you can just leave and never look back.

Now, when games require more risk (money) and still pull the microtransaction/DLC/Our-way-or-bust bullshit, that's the time to think more critically.

While I have no problem with micro-transactions in F2P games, they simply do not belong in a game I've already payed for. Why should I pay for more of game if I had to spend sixty damn dollars for it? I shouldn't, and it's a dirty business practice that everyone should despise.

Simple solution, do not BUY games that includes microtransactions.

My problem isn't with small scale transactions within a game, but this talk of making them a service for 'years' to come without the talk of making new IPs in the process. If it's more profitable to keep the game going years and people are happy buy content for the same game, what reason would they have to make new ones?

Cursory examination of this pretty much tells the tail.

http://www.slideshare.net/GMOCloud/japanese-gaming-market-2012

On that topic... the FTP game "market" is full of discussion on what this reduces down to...

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Older article that touches on the theme...

http://killscreendaily.com/articles/essays/will-work-fun/

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As far as the merit of a lot of these products, it seems pretty dubious. Skinner box that milks the occupant slowly over time.

The problem with freemium is I'm only aware of one game that does it right, League of Legends.
It's the only free game I'm aware of where the only things you cannot purchase using the earn-from-playing currency are cosmetic and anything you can purchase that would give you an advantage in game can only be purchased using the earn-from-playing currency.
Nothing of real value is cut off to you and there's no pay to win options.

The freemium format has been around for years in MMOs though. And I don't think I've ever seen it implemented in a way that isn't game-breaking for non paying users, by all the unknown publishers that put out those games.
So when a company like EA, who I already distrust, says they are embracing the freemium model. I don't expect big things.

Well if idiots want to waste their money on that rubbish then who am I to stop them?

It's just a shame gaming has come to this is all.

Andy Chalk:
Electronic Arts says the success of the iOS game Real Racing 3 means "the market has spoken" on free-to-play games.

As I'm sure has been said before: of course?

Free to play can work wonders. But it definitely is no magic bullet, and free-to-play is very different from microtransactions.

Frostbite3789:
Two immediately naysayers in the thread, what a shocker. In a world where League of Legends is the most played game in the world and EA praises that business model, the immediate response is "OMG EA U SO DUM" like really guys? Really? This is where we are now?

I swear I can't come to this forum without risking high blood pressure.

Because there is a big difference between micro-transactions in a $100 NZD title and a Free to Play one. With EA claiming that since we like to play extra to get a meat topping on a cheap-ass pizza, we should also pay extra for our steak dinner to have actual steak despite its already exorbitant price tag.

Microtranactions in Free to Play = Good!

Microtranactions in $100 NZD game = Get Bent!

EA attempting to pass off the two as the same thing = Screw that!

Frostbite3789:

I swear I can't come to this forum without risking high blood pressure.

Well then, don't come here. We're not forcing you to walk in here and make a case about how you don't like people talking smack on EA...on a board where EA is tremendously unpopular. I'm sure that you (and certainly we) would feel alot better if you saved your blood pressure and took the day off. This is not the board to go to for good-time feels on a commpany that even non-customers hate. That nay is said with a vengeance and too-often proven to be justifiable. If you had a real opinion worth expressing, rather than angst, I would have been glad to discuss the matter, but I have your health in mind and would advise against being here now.

By gamers they mean anyone who has downloaded a free mobile game? Like my Dad who has a racing phone game, yet he rage quit an fps because he found it too hard to walk around.

EA wants to be careful when they brand people because 90% of their mobile "gamers", don't actually know video games.

Well, of course the market likes free-to-play games when they're done properly, who doesn't?

The thing is, EA don't make free-to-play games. They put micro-transactions in retail games.

They are using the success of free to play games to justify their micro-transaction business model despite the fact the two things are completely different beasts.

EA couldn't have missed the point of the uproar harder and it appears they also fail logic by committing false equivocation.

the market spoke some time ago on "expensive as you want" / "free to play" /freemium games when LOL took over as the most played game worldwide i would say.

thing is valve did it right with TF2 and now dota2, riot did it right with LOL, EA fuck the pooch repeatedly, look at the mess they made of swtor , dead space .. its not free to play when you charge full price for the box, a season pass for the dlc an online pass for the MP and then add micro transactions to , that my dear EA is taking the piss.

the one big problem is they will get away with it with cod because the people that buy that are a bit special.

free to play, the old buy the box method they all can work different designs fit different games, theres just right and wrong ways to implement any of them.

I think EA does not know the difference between freemium and paying for mods.

I read that as "We at EA recognize that there are throngs of idiots out there that are stupid enough to spend hundreds of dollars on disposable virtual items, and we choose to specifically cater to that market."

The saddest thing is, I actually have to side with EA on this one. They found a way capitalize stupidity.

I think Electronic Arts mis-spelled "pay2win".

 

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