Former EA CEO: "$60 is a giant F-U" to some gamers

John Riccitiello says console and PC publishers should do more with variable pricing because $60 price point can be a turn-off for many.

The standard $60 price point for games today is a "giant F-U" to many consumers, according to former Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello. Speaking at the recent Gaming Insider Summit attended by [a]listdaily, Riccitiello said console and PC publishers should take a page out of the mobile game playbook and offer titles with variable pricing models.

"Another thing that console and PC guys could and should learn is variable pricing," Riccitiello said. "$60 is a giant F-U to a very large number of people. There's not been a console game with even half as many installs as Clash of Clans. Puzzle & Dragons has got more installs than any console game in history. Getting a larger audience through variable pricing is a really useful thing."

Many of the top games on consoles like Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3--including Grand Theft Auto V and Call of Duty--are full-priced products, but both platforms offer more than $60 games alone.

Microsoft's Xbox Live platform began rolling out free-to-play games last year with Happy Wars, which has now been downloaded more than 6 million times.

Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network are also home to various independently developed games that sell for $20 or under, as well as episodic content like Telltale Games' The Walking Dead.

Also during his talk, Riccitiello spoke about just how large an industry games have become. He pointed out that GTAV's $800 million day-one haul was larger than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2's $483 million opening weekend.

He also compared GTAV's numbers to the latest Super Bowl, which he said generated $263 million in advertisements, $73 million in ticket sales, and $463 million for the city of New Orleans in hotel, meals, and other spending.

"You're still $30 million short of one day for one game," Riccitiello said.

What's more, Riccitiello claimed that the biggest entertainment properties of all-time in terms of direct revenue are Call of Duty, FIFA, World of Warcraft, and Grand Theft Auto, which have each surpassed $10 billion in revenue, he said. He compared this with the 200 million copies of Charles Dickens' 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities sold to date.

"Call of Duty alone has $1.8 billion in a year, FIFA is over a billion dollars in a year. My guess is, and I've done the math, is that five--and possibly seven--of the best-selling intellectual properties in the history of entertainment going back to 1859 are console games, with one PC game. They must have done something right."

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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350 comments
vscott453
vscott453

If you can't afford the cash, find a new hobby. Its your fault that you aren't happy with a game not the companies. And its your fault you aren't making money to afford this hobby.

I don't see professional rc pilots complaining that the cost of their parts are too expensive. Or the life expectancy of a craft doesn't amount to the cost of getting one. If you have a problem with games, I know one that is pretty cool. Its called go outside, and/or get a job.

lild1425
lild1425

I agree that $60 for some games is too high. But this was said by the "ex CEO of EA" and the enemy of my enemy is definitely not my friend because as the ex CEO of EA, he has done so much more damage to the industry. Not to mention EA Is exceedingly talented in destroying what were my favorite franchises. 

dkslade
dkslade

Games were 60 bucks back in the 80's- 90's. I remember paying 70 for phantasy star for sega.

rushadpatel
rushadpatel

He should have said that and made changes when he was the CEO , whats the use now !!

Synxos
Synxos

The problem with many games, and the $60 price tag, is that many of them are very short games.  Most games, I'm looking at you Assassin's Creed!, can be rented for $5 dollars and beaten over the weekend.  Unless it's an online game, or sandbox or RPG games, that $60 price tag usually isn't worth the price.  Why pay that much for 10 hours of gameplay?  Oh, and before the AC fanboys say AC games are sandbox....besides the main story quest, there's really not that much extra to do. 

Benficafan_101
Benficafan_101

@Synxos  No they can't lol. Sorry but this is absurd, people who think 8 hours is a "short game" are insane. Games have been that short for years but a game like Assassins Creed can take upwards of over 15 hours.  Should online MP games be over 100 because they have longevity or is that totally cool if they give you over 100 hours for every game played? Honestly, why would you want to play a game like Uncharted or Assassins Creed for over 15 hours anyways in just story alone? It would get tedious , even the best movies can be lose points if its too long. 

RT-XD
RT-XD

@Benficafan_101 @Synxos many gamers don't like to play multiplayer - they just want to get immersed in a single player game, and preferably not for only 8 hours (which actually feels like you've played for 5 hours or even less). Sometimes when the game is long story-wise, it can get tedious, true. But it's up to the developers to make sure that the story really is interesting and fun to play through, rather then boring. For example, I've played Dragon age origins for around 30+ hours and it was an amazing experience, where-as dragon age 2 was only a little shorter and I just found it....dull. So it really depends.

For me, 8 hours for single player is too short. Especially when it's a game that focuses on single player only and has no multiplayer whatsoever. A game like Metro last light is a good example: really fun, but ends abruptly after 'only' 8 hours. I paid £30 (around $50 I think) for it. I also spent £30 on dragon age origins and got 30 hours of fun from that XD

jehnubis
jehnubis

I hope a small, young team of developers build a FREE TO PLAY battlefield type game in the future! All the games i play on PC are FREE to play. Such as Firefall, counterstrike, DAY Z, Team fortress, DOTA 2, League of Legends, and Path of Exile. They are great games and i can contribute to these games anytime i like! NO DRM, NO expansion packs, NO BS etc.

FREE TO PLAY is the future for PC gaming. Don't get duped into this corporate marketing horse which is Electronics Arts. They will force feed you until your pockets are dry.  

RT-XD
RT-XD

@Synxos @jehnubis the temptation is always there...very true. I'd rather just pay for the game and own it.

Synxos
Synxos

@jehnubis I don't know why a gamer would prefer F2P....People often end up paying MORE for them in the long run. 

tomtidona
tomtidona

Let me make this clear one thing people allways forget before a game comes out , its the cheaters / hackers issues i mean with them around even in a small portion its just dont worth playing the game for me and alot of people , so before debating on the price how about a little promisse from Dice or EA about elimnating most if not all of them hackers instead of saying its not possible , well it is possible just cost you too much 

Noclippin
Noclippin

@tomtidona 1. Most cheaters are not cheaters- they are just better than you.

2. You can never eliminate cheating entirely.

3. Cheaters get a kick out of annoying kids like you.

tomtidona
tomtidona

@Noclippin @tomtidona wow chill , and i dont blame everyone for cheating only when im 100 % and see it in my own two eyes , the way i see it is that you have deeper issues with that subject then i have . BTW read the other one i wrote down there maybe you will understand what im talking about ,  im not a kid im 25 with 15 years ,at least , in gaming and this is not about me its about real problem that people like you just make it worse.

tomtidona
tomtidona

Game is not worth buying and not only this game , most of the industry comapnies care only for my pocket whie there are milions of cheaters and hackers that stay that way untuached , why? cause its cheaper for them and even profitable cause they offer you to rent a server and be an admin so basically you pay for the server and keep the cheaters out as much as you can WHAT NEXT YOU WANT US TO PROGRAAM YOUR GAMES ASWELL ?! 

rgreening
rgreening

This whole article explains to me what's wrong with the gaming industry today. CEO's(or former CEO's) only giving a damn about numbers. While I do understand and appreciate that a company has to make money and they are in business to make money, they should give a damn about their customers and the quality of their product first. All I see here from Riccetiello is: Look at what these other games have sold! How can I do the same? Instead of wanting to make something unique and forging their own path, they copy others ideas and try to cash in on them. Personally I would much rather pay $60 for a game then get nickle and dimed with B.S. microtransactions. IMO games full of microtransactions are the real F.U. to gamers. Maybe I'm just old school, but I liked the days of just buying a game for a set price and not having extra charges after you have bought the product. I liked having everything unlocked and included in my game at the full retail price.


But anywho, don't be fooled by Mr. Riccitiello that $60 is a big F.U. to gamers. While it may be a little steep and could and maybe should be reduced to $50, you can be sure that whatever alternatives that Mr. Riccitiello and company have in mind will only put more money into their pockets. 

lnrdwshtn
lnrdwshtn

I saved over $500 at gamestop by trading and buying new.

UKFX
UKFX

Well EA are greedy and I hate Origin but I had no choice but to use it because of the Humble Bundle (for BF3, DS 3 and of course BF4).

Now check this out. I pre-ordered the BF4 Digital Deluxe (and BF4 Premium in total for a ridiculous £94.98) but EA / DICE did not state what the shortcut bundle was for. After some time when I was playing BF3 (because I hadn't played it much on PC) I realised that I had access to all of the vehicle equipment. Didn't think much of it. A few days later I realised EA had changed the description for the Digital Deluxe download (which is 54.99, but take away the pointless vehicle shortcut bundle and you are left with an item that gives you the same China Rising expansion as the normal Digital Download but 3 extra Battlepacks). So instead of getting more for your money, you obviously get less because you're essentially paying £10 for 3 gold battlepacks.

Sneaky sneaky EA and massively disappointed. Had I known, I'd of screened or recorded that bullshit just to point out what they had changed.

Anyway, ye the main thing I dislike is what @bloody-hell is on about. I hate separate launchers, registrations, limits etc. I hated the fact that EA got really childish like "well, if we can't deliver our DLC, through our servers, then fuck you Valve", so they made their own service and stopped putting them on Steam, all the while inflating their prices. Also their patching of the client is horrendously bad.

EA are literally the anti-gamer of the industry and it comes as no surprise why many others hate them.

RT-XD
RT-XD

@UKFX they used to be good...it's a real shame....

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

The price isn't really that annoying if the game I'm buying is actually good.
What a real "F-U" is is publishers insisting on separate launchers and account registrations, online DRM, activation limits and releasing unfinished games to milk them even more with post release DLC that was ready pre release and should've been part of the game at launch.

But most of all the DRM part - For instance I only recently bought the 2 Batman games (Arkham Asylum and Arkham City) because they finally got rid of GFWL and Securom.
I'd have gladly paid full price for both when they were released, but the DRM was a slap in the face and too annoying and a waste of my time.

EA has other problems, including their extremely bad, pure money grabbing reputation (example : selling the base game for 60 EUR and then asking around full price again for each "addon" pack or even a "premium service" or a subscription to get the rest of the game), so they're beyond my shitlist.
No matter what EA does, I'm not buying any games with their logo on them ever again, ever. (That Origin DRM spyware and their bad business practices alone are reason enough already)

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

(shameless self-reply) - also, selling games as "service" instead of products that we own, to play whenever we like is a big issue.
When I buy a product I expect it to be usable whenever I desire and not to be dependent on a 3rd party's online service. (unless it's clearly an MMO of course)

That and forcing me to be online to play a game, even singleplayer are way bigger issues than pricing.
For instance, if SimCity (2013) would've made sense, with a working agent system, working RCI model, mod support, bigger buildable city areas and was playable offline and completely DRM free and no EA Origin exclusivity (with entirely 100% optional multiplayer), I could've imagined getting it for 60 EUR at launch, but only then.

danielcliment
danielcliment

$60 that's it?!? here is Australia will be at least $90..... stop complaining....

UKFX
UKFX

@danielcliment Well you're one of few countries who get hard-core ripped off. Just because we get less ripped off than you doesn't justify the stupid prices that others get. Stop complaining.

Vodoo
Vodoo

They should offer people the option to buy just the single player or just the multi-player portions of a game. Or you can buy the whole package like we have now. Because I mostly play just the single player part of a game, but I'm still paying for the multi-player that I don't even use. Then there's games where I would just want the multi-player because the single player is shit. $35 for either single or multi-player sections, or $60 for the whole package. Sounds reasonable to me.


RT-XD
RT-XD

@Vodoo I like the idea, but then they'll probably start charging insane prices on both games, knowing EA. 

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

Yeah, so you know what I do?  I wait for the games to go on sale on Steam or GOG.com.  Money saved.

telaros
telaros

And next thing you know "Kindom Hearts 3 considered "failure" for not meeting their $800 million dollar predicted sales mark. Come on, we gave you screens of pre-rendered gameplay footage with KH2 attire and flashy 360 dual gun action. We even threw in DISNEY RIDES as SUMMONS. WHY YOU NO BUY $800,000,000 worth of pre-orders!?"

And companies used to bitch about 5mil. lol Wait t set the bar GTAV ;3

bernard978
bernard978

So leaving the leash that is EA means he can be honest? EA pricing on PC games is terrible, especially on their own store.

tightwad34
tightwad34

It's kind of a double edged sword. I mean,  you have games like Dark Souls, or Fallout, or GTAV which are easily worth $60. Then you got games with 5-10 hour campaigns with no or shitty MP not even close to worth 60. I never played it, but the game Vanquish comes to mind. I heard it was really good but really short without any substantial MP. Maybe we should play the games that are truly worth it until the ones that really aren't get discounted. Kind of jk.

adders99
adders99

I tell you what is a joke... Having to pay the full price for a game and then be told, oh yeah you should get the premium subscription to get access to most of the games content! 

GRADERBLADE13
GRADERBLADE13

@adders99 The worst is when you subscribe to said premium content in a weak (intoxicated after 8 beers) moment :/

daemonproject
daemonproject

It's an even bigger FU to Australian's with the $90-$120 price tag for games even when our $ was the same and higher than the US$ we still paid through the roof for games and most products! And they always say it the shipping and tax lol no its not at all it's ebgames(gamestop) taking advantage of the Australian market price compared to the rest of the world!

If the US pay $60 for a physical copy then for Australians I can understand shipping and tax being another 10-20% but being double that is a joke! And then digital content is even more of a joke! You're paying for digital software why on earth would it still cost retail price when you get nothing but a download licensed copy without any physical goods? We're being ripped off and it needs to be stopped!

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

$60 + DLC + more DLC.  Especially bad on games like COD where DLC is 25% old maps or on games that are not finished / polished properly.

soulless4now
soulless4now

lol $60. l've only paid that much for Tales of Graces f and it was worth it. 

franky111
franky111

I just can't seem to find myself believing or taking anything this man says to heart. Coming from the same person who led the Online Pass crusade against gamers, and the "Pay $60, then another $50 for PREMIUM DLC BOOM BOOM MEMBERSHIP," how could any believe that this man believes what he says, with not hidden motives?

At this point, that $60 price tag is almost protection for gamers, as it seems to keep publishers from slowly creeping the price up (even before DLCs).

What a hypocrite. If anyone knows how to say "F-U" to gamers, it's Riccitiello.

jecomans
jecomans

The upside of having a $60 flat-rate for games is that whilst you do include games that clearly aren't worth that much, it also puts a cap on what can be charged for larger, better or more popular games, thus essentially removing price creep.

KelboDelta
KelboDelta

Well, I'd rather pay $50, and in some cases even $60 dollars for a game, but I hate paying for DLC's... it's like you pay for the game and then you feel you don't have the game if you don't pay a little  bit more, and that never ends.... so I don't bother.

Only exception I've made for DLC's is the BF3 premium, because I bought the premium edition of the game, but they are not launching a premium edition this time, making the game almost double it's price (if you want all the DLC's). Say BF4 for example, it will cost $60 dollars, plus additional $50 for the premium membership... that is up to $110 dollars for the whole game, and THAT is way too much.

They should have Options, chapters (like telltales games), DLC's separate or included (with a reasonable price for the included one).

That's my opinion.

zohakxlife
zohakxlife

They should all be $20 ,   then pay for DLCs    that's a brilliant market strategy that many devs are afraid to pursue.  they can always make much more money than $60 plus dlcs.      a small example is candy crash, there are millions of people paying hundreds of dollars just to get to another level and catch their FB friends. the game  itself is worth $0   that's Brilliant.

the_real_VIP
the_real_VIP

I'm sorry EA but Activision initiated that $60 standard over the previous $50 and you followed it.

jacquelineferre
jacquelineferre

I don't mind paying $60 for a game but I hate to pay for DLCs

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

Well, who would know better about saying "FU" to gamers?

deathstream
deathstream

Some games are clearly worth $60.  Other throw in filler to try and justify the price.  No one wants their game to be seen as a "discount game".  He poses an interesting problem, but i don't see him proposing a workable solution.

jecomans
jecomans

@deathstream At least a bad, short $60 is over quickly, how much worse if they padded it out even more to justify the $60 by quantity alone. And the way I see it, if you can have a $40-50 game, then why would some developers not push their tent-pole AAA franchises to $70-80? Fixed-price works both ways. 

tightwad34
tightwad34

@deathstream LOL. You're avatar fits perfect when you say "some games are clearly worth $60".