EA: freemium is 'where things are going'

VP of mobile and social reveals Real Racing 3 off to best start in franchise history, despite objections from naysayers.

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The freemium business model is "where things are going," according to Electronic Arts vice president of mobile and social studios Nick Earl. Speaking to GameSpot sister site CNET about the recent launch of Real Racing 3, the executive explained that the mobile game has been a big success, due in part to its business model.

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"There's no question that going freemium was the right way to go," Earl said. "The vocal minority lashed out at freemium. We respect them and understand, but the market has spoken. That's just where things are going."

Earl revealed that first-week downloads of Real Racing 3 exceeded the total for the past two games combined. In addition, 350 million races have been completed since launch, with 25 million completed every day. On top of this, EA said gamers are spending an average of 25 minutes per day playing the title.

Earl declined to say how many copies of Real Racing 3 have been downloaded so far or how much revenue the game has brought in. However, he did note that he was "vindicated early" from a financial perspective.

This is not the first time an EA executive has sung the praises of microtransaction-supported games. EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen said last month that consumers are "enjoying and embracing microtransactions" and that this business model will be built into more and more of the company's games moving forward.

Before that, EA chief operating officer Peter Moore said he believes microtransactions will be in every game in the next five to ten years. He likened the business model to a clothing store like The Gap.

"It's free to me to walk into The Gap in my local shopping mall. They don't charge me to walk in there," he said at the time. "I can walk into The Gap, enjoy the music, look at the jeans and what have you, but if I want to buy something I have to pay for it."

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