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EA's Free-To-Play GM Says $60 Games Are "Exploitative"

| 22 Mar 2011 15:09
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EA's free-to-play general manager thinks $60 is too big a price of entry for a videogame.

Along with the current generation of videogame consoles came a 20% hike in the price of the average new release. Games that were once priced $50, are now typically priced at $60, and gamers have just had to accept it. Though EA has plenty of $60 games on the market, general manager of EA free-to-play branch Easy Studios believes the price point is awfully "harsh."

Speaking to RPS, Cousins revealed that he thinks a $60 price unnecessarily puts up a wall that gamers shouldn't be forced to scale. In addition, he thinks it exploits consumers.

"I can't think of anything more exploitative than gating all of your content behind having to pay someone $60," Cousins said. "That's a really harsh business model if you think about it objectively."

Cousins added that free-to-play gaming is much more lenient on consumers, allowing them to walk away without losing anything if they decide a game is awful. Anyone that bought Bomberman Zero at $60 probably agrees with him with all the fury in their being.

In way way though, it seems like Cousins is comparing apples to oranges. Free-to-play games are typically online, multiplayer experiences supported by microtransactions. Currently, there doesn't seem to be a way to switch a single player game bought in a store to a free-to-play model, other than a publisher releasing a demo, which doesn't necessarily tell the whole tale. Heavy Rain would probably have a lot of trouble asking players to pay $1 to "Jason." Games with big budgets have to recoup that investment in a realistic way.

Still, I think most gamers would agree that the $60 price point turns us off to buying as many games as we would like. We've become more cautious about our buying habits, in fear of wasting the cost of a night out on another subpar third-person shooter. Perhaps if publishers heeded Cousins' words and were more honest with themselves about the worth of their products, titles that become failures at $60 could become successes at $40.

Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun

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