Free-to-play future 'tough' for some to understand, says EA exec

Company COO Peter Moore proclaims "free-to-play is the future," but acknowledges not all can wrap their heads around it just yet.

In a new blog entry on the official Electronic Arts website titled "Change is Good," company COO Peter Moore declared that "free-to-play is the future," but acknowledged that not everyone is having an easy time understanding this.

Moore has faith in F2P as the future, but says it may be a tough sell.

"This is a tough one for a lot of people to wrap arms around, but trust me when I say the potential for free-to-play is just beginning to surface," he said.

Later in the update, Moore explained that free-to-play is in its "early days," but noted that such games can be innovative and of a high quality. He pointed to the newly announced free-to-play Command and Conquer platform as an example of this assertion.

Moore also noted that a free-to-play future benefits gamers, because it allows for more educated purchasing decisions.

"For millions of new gamers, the value is obvious: you get to try before you buy," he said.

Written By

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

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4 comments
skittzo_s
skittzo_s

Games would now be tailored around this model, The game would prove difficult at times and forcing players to pay up to progress. This not only makes the game unbalanced and biased, but also pushes developers to work more towards tweaking the game to pick as much as they can out off their consumers than worrying / working about an actual good game. 

I mean for strategy games and wanting to play lan or online etc. fucked if they expect us too pay for each unit to be competitive. Just release the game as a whole and allow everyone to be equals.

DannyBoy2k
DannyBoy2k

Moore seems to have his idealized blinders on, or he is caught up in 'I'm a big name in games, so I get to tell people what the future is.'

The idea behind Free to Play is quite simple, and quite elegant. But, let us make a comparison here. In the city of Wallahallamallamaloowahoo, one can borrow a car from the city, for free. Excellent for things like driving to the local IKEA store, and bringing those flat-packs home, since it's a bit hard to put'em in your pocket.

Now, this car is a fairly cheap, low-end Whatever, with the least possible amounts of luxuries and extras. No heated seats, or electrical windows, or even a stereo. It is NOT a Rolls Royce, or an Aston Martin, not that the flat-packs would fit in the Aston.

Same thing here. A free-to-play game is NOT something that would pay homage to, and be a fitting successor to, a top-rated game with a pedigree like Command & Conquer. It would, at best, be a cheap replica kit car, bought at the car dealers in the scruffy part of town. It may LOOK, somewhat, like a Rolls...but underneath it all will be the engine out of a Yugo, and the suspension from a 15th century donkey cart.

Your choice...would you prefer to pay for, and get, one of the most luxurious cars in the world, and remember, in this situation, you CAN afford it, or would you prefer a Whatever with a cheap set of fibre-glass panels attached with wood screws?

jshmarcus
jshmarcus

Is moore tooo stupid, Or maybe idiot? They think that FTP is the solution. Yet they don't even give a damn about their recent game 'tiberium alliance'. Which I get frequent disconnected from the server. While the C&C4 TT have issues regarding player's data where the technology requires a long time of playing to unlock new units according to tier level and Player level. I've bought a new computer with a high end specs. and a better internet connection. And I don't even installed any other programs except firefox, flash plug-in, & google chrome. And still get the disconnected from the server. So my question is. 'HOW FAR WILL EA GO TO RUIN MORE GAMES?'. 

bomber1992
bomber1992

so when EA goes bankrupt who do u think will get what franchises. Theve made good games before, Spore, CNC Generals,bf 1942 . but theyve been doing horrible lately. EA, THESE ARE THE ALARMS SOMETHING IS WRONG!

farukcorreia
farukcorreia

EA better not be thinking about making this to SimCity I will burn them to the ground.

MW2ismygame
MW2ismygame

DID WE NOT JUST HAVE ONE OF THESE ARTICLES THE OTHER DAY ? FFS, how much is EA paying you guys to keep posting this constant bile that they spew ? its disgusting. 

 

and no its that hard to understand. Your [EA] idea of F2P is Pay to win which is more expensive than a regular F2P game, hell even regular games. And you are starting to lose people because they realize this, hence all of this "propaganda" for lack of a better word. Quite simple really.

IdealisticIdiot
IdealisticIdiot

The regulator in the gaming industry is us, the consumers, or in another word, the industry itself is regulating itself. 

 

What I mean by that is for 60 bucks, certain amount of contents are expected to be on that disc. If the game has story mode, consumers will expect at least 7 or more single  player hours, that is an industry standard, a regulation! If the game has multi-player, certain amount of maps, weapon, game mode, upgrade system is also expected, industry standard.

 

But with Free2Play, who regulates? What's stopping EA to just release a demo and call it the Free2Play version? If a Free2Play game just has the first chapter, and you have to pay chapter by chapter, what's stopping EA to make this game into a soup opera that goes on forever, a game that will never end. Week by week, new content, new episode, new chapter, like a fucking pay-per-view show that never ends!? When the story finally ended years down the road, you've already paid over 100 bucks chapter by chapter. 

 

Also I love game not only because gaming itself. I love the technology behind it, I love the graphics, I love the physics, I love ever improving texture models, I love that developers are competing to make the most innovated, immersive technology driven art piece that wows me once in awhile. If it goes Free2Play, we can say goodbye to all that, just playing the same game, on the same engine, with endless of DLCs, endless of this pay-per-play episodes.

 

If it goes Free2Play, we say goodbye to gaming industry standard, but I like this standard, I like to pay 60 bucks and know what I can get out of it, I like knowing which game doesn't worth that 60 bucks, which games worth more than that 60 bucks, keep this 60 bucks, it is important to regulate industry. 

 

 

PseudoElite
PseudoElite

Free to play actually means pay to win

 

I'm already 99% sure Generals 2 is going to suck

 

Much like EA ruined CNC4

 

R.I.P Command and Conquer franchise

MrOnage
MrOnage

And so EA died a tragic death....

Hurvl
Hurvl

I read that like: "I am right and anyone disagreeing with me is wrong, but not everyone is having an easy time understanding that" It sounds a lot like an arrogant internet commenter who refuses to acknowledge opinions different than their own, but I'm biased and unfair, since I don't like F2P or EA/Peter Moore that much.

 

If enough people don't want that kind of future, they can change it. The future is what we make it and even if some (perhaps unwanted) elements are dominant, that doesn't mean that everybody will use them, Not everyone releases overpriced DLC's or identical sequels. Not everyone makes their games use horrible DRM. Not every game is F2P and thank god for that!

 

Try before you buy? The problem with F2P is that you can try *parts* of the game, but other parts you need to buy to get hold of and (as far as I know) you can't try them before you buy them. I want a demo/free trial and then be able to buy The Whole Game, 100%, all of it, if I like what I see.

tanerb
tanerb

I dont think this gusy believes what he says. He is doing it to market EA which is going down the drain right now

Murder422
Murder422

Too bad Peter's mom didn't have that option before deciding to have him... I could go for a little less meh personally...

drago17
drago17

Peter no wonder MS got rid of you, you slimy good for nothing big mouthed exec

 

UnwantedSpam
UnwantedSpam

It's a shitty business model. What's so tough to understand about that?

TheIfym20
TheIfym20

I hate this. Free to play, pay to win. Why can't I just pay 60 bucks and get a complete game??

IdealisticIdiot
IdealisticIdiot

oh to add, also corporation wouldn't like 60 bucks limit at all! matter of fact, they hate it, "why 60 bucks!?" they constantly thinking. with free2play and unlimited DLCs potential, they can finally say goodbye to that 60 bucks line. and no one to monitor how much DLCs they pump out, how much they charge.

IdealisticIdiot
IdealisticIdiot

Anything and everything a corporation does is to maximize profit, there is one goal, and one goal only. Well, not only for corporations, you as a single human being, share the same one goal in our monetary system. As long as you are working, you are trying maximize profit for your employers and yourself (well, mostly for your employers really). So let's give EA the benefit of doubt for wanting to maximize profit through any means necessary. 

 

Therefore the question is,  what is the corporations' advantages for implementing Free2Play, and mostly importantly what is consumers' disadvantage?

 

First about the corporations:

 

For them, this is about not be able to let go of that potential revenue otherwise pirated. After all, this whole industry is depended on copyable products. And after years of Anti-piracy effort, they final realized that there is no way to prevent piracy when you are producing a digital format product. So, think as if everyone can get their hands on a game for free, How to make money from that?  

 

It takes hundreds of people years to make a game, but it doesn't take that much effort to pump out DLCs, map packs. With new release of a game, comes with marketing and advertising cost, cost of the manufacturing and distribution, not to mention the huge investment over the years of development. But DLCs, cost them merely nothing, they are like gold mines. Its a created need that didn't exist before on-line multi-player.

 

 (For example: BF3 cost 60 bucks, premium cost 40. that's 20 bucks difference, but can you imagine how much more investment went into making the game than the DLCs? For 40 bucks you can buy 2 or 3 more decent games, the value of that 40 bucks increased when you buy another game, since other games worth more than DLCs) 

 

Corporations are more likely to pump out games that feel short on content, product that stands on itself won't satisfy consumers, but after many DLCs, it might. For them, they are selling you a product that cost them less money and time to make. Free2Play makes perfect sense for them.

 

Now for us.

 

Nothing we can do really. Wait and see how short on content it will become. And complaint later, that's about it. But no matter how short, it is still free right? huh....what a waste of my time to write this shit!

epross
epross

Try before you buy -- that used to be called a demo

Instead you will get to a point in the game where it gets so goshdarned insanely hard that you have to buy something in order to move along and complete the game...or some such similar scenario...they're not going to let us play for free forever..C'mon I trust you about as much as I trust a politician...say what you want us to hear...not the truth

toddx77
toddx77

Trust you?  You want me to trust you. you being the COO of EA, the company that gave us Dragon Age 2, the Mass Effect 3 endings, and is one of the leading causes of the game industry being ruined?  How high were you sir when you thought this up?

obsequies
obsequies

anyone with that amount of hair will want to wrap anything around their head buddy

Son_of_Bmore
Son_of_Bmore

My cousin doesn;t play the new systems bcuz he dooesn't like the way the industry is 2day that's y he held onto his old console which looks like what i'll b doing if F2P is yhe future then I'm gonna sit back & enjoy the classics

obsequies
obsequies

this guy could grow one evil villain mustache!

whatsoul
whatsoul

I can appreciate the fact that someone like Peter Moore can call me ignorant (no, it's not that I lack understanding and can't embrace change) - it's that no F2P developer out there has proven that this "change is good".  

 

Is gaming a business?  It sure is.  Do those companies deserve to get the most out of their investments?  As long as we continue to push a money driven society, the answer to that question is also yes.  The problem is that F2P bases their model on a 90/10 system (90% of the income comes from 10% of their "customers" - customer in this case being defined as anyone who downloads the game, not necessarily pays for it).  

 

Video games are a product,  NOT a service.  The implication here is that I don't own what I'm purchasing - I'm simply renting it.  Any investment made in said rental could disappear at any time at it's owners discretion.  

 

The last issue I have with Moore's blog post is that he makes a direct correlation that since change is good, that going from a product based industry to a service based industry is good and from that, these new "services" will be better than the old "products".  I won't hide that there have been fun F2P experiences.  Simcity Social however clearly lacks the same level of development that it's namesake had (and also that I purchased and own, not which I'm renting).

 

I do agree with Moore that F2P will soon become more norm then sideshow.  That's not a product of "change is good".  It will be a product of even less disposable income in the future and that many people in the gaming industry don't want to see the hobby die because it simply costs too much to do (either create or purchase).  We will continue to see quality...but only as much investment as can be put into the quality.  

 

Model change also does not mean innovation (as implied by Moore).  Farmville worked for one company - so what happens?  We see countless games with different overlays that are effectively the same game (whether it's a farm, or a city or a kingdom).  

 

Moore points out that consumers were hungry for new content.  As a gamer, I don't care what platform you're on - I don't care if you're F2P or stand alone.   All I care about is whether the game is fun.  I'm sure that applies to a lot of people.  The implication that our product driven industry is downtrodden and requires change is a boldfaced lie.  If you made a fun game, I'll play it.  Whether it's a new Final Fantasy game or a new Farmville.  Whether it's not innovative (the annual CoD) or whether its different (The Last Story).  My long term worry is that I'll be able to play FIFA on my tablet for free, but if I want career mode or if i want different teams...it's going to cost me more than the $50 I would have previously invested.

brynhyfryd
brynhyfryd

Free to pay (oops, play) is deception and false advertising. You are advertising this model as free when it clearly is not. If I had the money I would challenge this FTP model in court.

 

I will NEVER adopt to playing these games and if all games go this route then I will just give up gaming completely. I am sure many gamers feel the same way.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

Could there be a more incorrectly named term in gaming then "free to play"?

somevarun
somevarun

ea is the best example of a section of humanity going back to the stone age.......

 

to all devs:

 

please make games because games are fun. not because games=money....

money follows fun....its not the other way around

Topracer01
Topracer01

"For millions of new gamers, the value is obvious: you get to try before you buy,"

 

that's why we have demos. you don't need a game to be F2P to try a game first.

halobolola
halobolola

If they want free to play to work, ea will have to start making games that actually fun, finished,and bug free. so i doubt they will make much money.

You also cant do sequals with free to play, seeing thats all they make, nott going to be fun for them.

nyran125
nyran125

whatever, Free to pay(sorry play, for the typo police) , is never finsihed products, becuase thye need to make you pay fo rth enext 6 omnths. So your constantly playing an unfinished product forever. I hate this model. 

 

Ill take torchlight 2, GW2, Counter Strike Global Offensive, Fallout 3 and Skyrim and The Witcher or MAss effect series over any free to pay(sorry i mean play) model.

 

I wont be paying a sub fee for Command and conquer generals or SIMCITY. EA has amazing competition now, i dont need to buy into thier games anymore. i have Total war, company of heroes, the new X-COM coming out, Civilization 3 and 4  , i dont need EA anymore. Even thier sports games, NBA 2K12 is miles and miles and miles better than any EA sports game out there.

 

I dont even need EA anymore.

MartijNtjuh
MartijNtjuh

F2P is shit, look on android/ios or even look at there own title BF Heroes.

No story, just happy slappy shit for kids.

rey2
rey2

 @PseudoElite Unless by some miracle Westwood resurfaces.  Bethesda is handling CNC now i believe?

elephiant
elephiant

 @MrOnage

 would be good for the gaming industry to see EA go out of business...unfortunately there are still loaads of brainless people buying EA's crap...

berserker66666
berserker66666

 @Murder422 Peter's mom had the option but she would have had to apply for the monthly subscription of $13.99.

Hurvl
Hurvl

 @Son_of_Bmore Massive backlogs and playing good old games (from Good Old Games, where else :P) is what I'll use to counteract the unlikely event of this future F2P tyranny. Mods and games that have so much replay values in themselves that they hardly need mods (but still have plenty of them) will sustain me indefinitely. That way I will never need to buy a new (which means F2P-only) game again. I have actually already started to walk down that path, although unwittingly and I will continue down it if Mr Moore's dark prophecies come true.

obsequies
obsequies

 @whatsoul I didn't read your long ass comment but I bet you have something good to say *likes*

Diablo-B
Diablo-B

 @whatsoul 

You make a number of great points I just want to point one thing out. Have you checked the end-user license agreement on just about all games. Most of them you don't "own" the software but just have a license to use it.