Freemium is the future, says EA

EA Interactive boss says "humans like free stuff," not sure about free-to-play on consoles; BBC Worldwide digital specialist says free-to-play model can lead to greater quality.

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The freemium business model is going to be the market-leader, according to digital authorities speaking to UK trade site MCV. The model--whereby a games' basic experience is free to play with purchase options also available--can be lucrative, claimed EA Interactive senior vice president and general manager Nick Earl.

Free-to-play games are not only here to stay, but will take over, claims EA.

“The future is not about one-time payments, the future is about freemium,” Earl said. “A decent number of people convert to paying and they may not pay a lot, but most of them actually pay more than you’d think."

Earl wasn't sure about the freemium business model working on consoles, but said "humans like free stuff," and gamers are likely to pay for something that they've tried and enjoyed.

Another EA executive, COO Peter Moore, said last month that microtransactions will be in every game. He said this change is "inevitable" and will happen in the next five-to-ten years.

"It is no different than…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."

BBC Worldwide's executive vice president of digital entertainment and games Robert Nashak also chimed in on freemium, saying it's an optimal business model, and can even lead to greater quality.

“It turns out free is the price point people want to pay for games," he said. "What’s beautiful about it is the freemium model really favors quality games because everyone gets to try before they buy and I think it’s going to lead overall to better quality, because if you’re not hooking people in you can’t monetize. I think freemium changes the landscape and raises the quality bar in a good way.”

Discussion

0 comments
liam1socool
liam1socool

i love free stuff, everyone does, but free stuff is like going to a sports game and they throw t shirts into the crowd. free stuff isnt paying to win, or paying per bullet etc. stop supporting......

Glupie
Glupie

We're sick of paying that $60 box price and then paying that $15 every month for games that half-way come out right or simply are BROKEN AND UNFINISHED.

 

 

nurse_tsunami
nurse_tsunami

Humans like good games.  Look at Minecraft, made tons of cash because it let people create worlds and play as they wanted to.  Hell, even EA should know that, they made The Sims which was its own money tree.  If it is fun, original, and creative, you can charge regular price.  If it is garbage, even free won't be enough.

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

My current and future plan consists of buying quality products with replay value from developers and publishers (also indies) that listen and react to feedback, which have no DRM nonsense and 3rd party tools attached to them besides a Serial Key or one time activation, that are playable offline, have modding support and tools, allow me to host my own server for multiplayer and that I own after the purchase to play it in 10 years time again if I so desire.

 

That may rule out quite a lot of current and future "AAA" titles, but I don't care, at least I get my moneys worth from the product I buy and am independent of internet / server availability and don't rely on having to pay absurd amounts of extra money for each little addon.

 

While "free" sounds nice, nothing is really free - EA is in a financial freefall, don't expect them to give you something for free.

Either the free products will be filled with account creation madness and / or "spyware" to track your behavior so they can sell that data to certain companies or you'll be milked with having to pay for all the interesting features of these free titles.

 

If this is what you want and you don't mind throwing out your money and allow them to disallow you access to the product (and addons) you bought at any time, so be it, it's your choice, you may need to learn it the hard way.

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

Capcom's reaction: "We'll just keep charging $60 for incomplete games, then make people pay $20+ to unlock the remaining content on the disc."

RedLegZeff
RedLegZeff

Humans like free stuff...This is very  true, I can't argue with it. Free to play or freemium is far from free. They let you play a game, which they get you hooked on, but it's broken and unbalanced unless you pay. And then you pay more, and more. Hey, how can we charge someone as much as we want, without them realizing it...FREETOPLAY. Well, like he said it's the ideal business model. The best way to bleed em dry.

pacpuf7249
pacpuf7249

As Katherine Brewster said in Terminator 3, "Just DIE you BITCH(EA)!!!". Really EA, you are trully horrible. Please, just die, you bitch. Stop saying what YOU think what humans want. Every time you say stuff like that you slowly reveal yourselves to me as the aliens in They Live or something like that. You are purely stupid and your views on what consumers want are made up.

chipwithdip
chipwithdip

Free to play making games with better quality? That's like saying free to leave after the first night of sex will make a guy stay longer.

 

Serious note: If you want better quality, quit doing bs business decisions. Less of those, more players won't feel like going on a mission to embargo your games. Less of that, more possible consumers. More of them, more actual consumers. More of them, more money. More money, more money spent to increase the quality of the NEXT game...and some goes in your wallet. In short, quit being so damn political about it and do it like they did it in the old days: makin' games, plain and simple.

Zloth2
Zloth2

Lordy it's fun watching companies make up words based on "free" that end up meaning they get paid more.

 

You know what will REALLY make games a lot better?  Let gamers pay by the hour OR pay a flat rate - their choice.  Then the company can't rip gamers off by charging $60 for a 6 hour game and they can't rip us off by spreading 6 hours of content out over a 160 hours of game time.

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

I have been wrong before.  I was a major pessimist about the whole dotcom era (mostly right), including vocally trashing the business model of Amazon.com (totally and completely wrong.)  So maybe I'm wrong again this time, but I just think these guys are smoking something.  I believe there is _a_ market for freemium style games, but I can't see how that takes over the _entire_ market.  Who signs up to front-load $100 Million to make a game in the hopes that people will like it, become obsessed with it and eventually voluntarily pay for pieces of it?  More likely games come out that are half baked and if they do well then they grow into something better.  And the games that currently do the best job of monetizing are the infuriating grind-fests and "pay to win" style games.  Why would we as the consumers get behind that?

 

That Gap store line is one of the worst analogies I've heard in awhile.  How is playing a game like going to the Gap?  Do you really fail to understand your own industry that disastrously?  Gaming might be like movies or books or even maybe like music.  None of those industries give away their product and then hope you'll pay for add-ons later.  Music plays on the radio, but I don't control it and I have to put up with ads.  If I want to listen to it any time I want and without ads then I have to pay for it, either digitally or at retail.  Hollywood spends a fortune making movies and they never, ever give them away.  They sell tickets, then pay per view rights then to HBO and to DVD and blu ray disks and to netflix and on and on.  Any way to keep milking that big time investment.  You don't see them giving away Batman Returns, then hoping you'll chip in for Dark Knight Rises.

 

No wonder the gaming industry is in such tough and tumultuous times when these dimwits run the show.

MidNightStrikes
MidNightStrikes

Hey..... i dun really like this idea, even you think it's free, there will be alot of troubles for the players, most of the Freemium kind of games makes you end up paying more in the end... Pay to win... or like alot of parts of the game is blocked...

I Prefer a one time payment... And All DLC free not the other way around

BonEcho
BonEcho

It's right I do like free stuff.

 

RapidFirE53211
RapidFirE53211

If freemium was the future I would leave gaming completely.

KeeseKiller7
KeeseKiller7

All I can think about now is that South Park episode when George Bush said "People, more like sheeple" except with Peter Moore saying it.

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

SWTOR is now going Free2Play, it's now official...

ggregd
ggregd

I've never had a satisfying experience in a free to play game unless I paid.  I guess his analogy is fair because it's completely unsatisfying to walk into a Gap store, hang around and not buy anything.  I've accomplished exactly nothing and wasted my time. 

 

Apparently this guy has no idea how tedious it is to tag along with someone while they're clothes shopping.  Could be he gets major wood for fashion retailing that I don't understand. Then again I still feel unsatisfied going to Best Buy and not buying anything, even though I'm pretty interested in what -they- sell.

holtrocks
holtrocks

And people we control the future not them.

holtrocks
holtrocks

The future is not one payment, the future is us charging you money for each and every map in multiplayer and each and every level in single player, want that new gun? not so fast that will be $2.99.

quantumtheo
quantumtheo

LOL, I love that Gap Store game!  My favorite part of that game is waiting in line to buy my jeans talking to the emo kids around me....  Then the thrill of pushing the A button as they ask me if I want to check out!  Whew boy, what an exciting game!

 

“It turns out free is the price point people want to pay for games," he said. "What’s beautiful about it is the freemium model really favors quality games because everyone gets to try before they buy and I think it’s going to lead overall to better quality, because if you’re not hooking people in you can’t monetize. I think freemium changes the landscape and raises the quality bar in a good way."

 

That didn't make ANY sense either (unless you are comparing shopping at the gap and playing a game by EA, which are identical in the factor of fun, in fact, the Gap might be slightly more fun than ANY EA game...).  How does a user getting to try before buying help with the quality of the game design, months and years before the end user gets their hands out on it.... a free crappy game is still a crappy game.  How does hooking ppl you can't monetize make a better game?   Sounds like a bunch of newspeak designed to make him sound smart about ripping of the consumer.

 

 

Seriously, are we supposed to believe this tripe??? Better games? REALLY????  How does that Gap analogy even make sense?  How did it make sense the FIRST time they said it?  

 

EA's blood is in the water, their stock prices are plummeting, and they are just saying whatever they want.  I.E. "Screw core gamers, screw the ppl that have paid one price for a game their whole lives.  We want all your nickles and dimes!"

 

EA... you are those pigs we are fighting in Angry Birds... aren't you?

-Jonce-
-Jonce-

I wonder which Gap store he visits? Whenever I go there I get followed around by a security guy in an ill fitting hat and uniform.

TedSheckler
TedSheckler

My favorite form of entertainment has just been compared to hanging out at The Gap.

:|

The worst part? The comparison was not made by my Mother, which would be forgivable, but one of the most successful game development studios in the world.

Here's a better comparison for free-to-play games: "It is no different than…it's free to me to walk into a gym in my neighborhood. They don't charge me to walk in there," he said at the time. "I can walk into that gym, get into a boxing ring, get my a** beat to hell and what have you, but if I want to WIN a match or two, I have to pay a trainer to teach me how to fight."

Tiwill44
Tiwill44

Let's take a look at EA stocks, shall we? 

http://puu.sh/NobW 

I don't think they're in a good position to talk about the "future of gaming".

rudyv30
rudyv30

They have to know the difference between free to play and pay to win. Gotham City Impostors while not free to play and a very good, fun shooter was destroyed with their pay to win Steampunk DLC.

buttslamify
buttslamify

adopting freemium is the fastest way EA can lose whats left of their fan base, short of maybe digitally enhancing a butthole and charging $60

emmanuel123
emmanuel123

If EA says this is their future their future will be dim & start to fade into the abyss; I would rather buy the full game like buy & forget rather than to pay for it frequently for one item or experience points or even in-game cash! It's like having a car for free without the seats, the headlights, mirrors or the wipers you can use it yes but you can't make use of it properly the way you wanted it to. And as for losers they would say that they've unlocked everything! the thing is they bought all the unlocks 'cause they can't find those or unlock those items in-game by themselves!

nathangray
nathangray

I don't have a problem with Freemium provided everything is priced fairly. But this is EA, so I doubt any ideas they have about "Freemium" will coincide with my ideas on "fair".

speed45823
speed45823

I have just two words for EA (Egotistical A-holes) and "Freemium:..."Maximum Douchbag."

SamuraiSeven
SamuraiSeven

Is it just me, or has this story been posted many times.  EA has been saying this for weeks.  Every time I see th story, I think, "I don't like FTP games.  They are usually cheap and I don't like feeling nickel and dimed." 

 

Does EA think that, by saying this over and over, they can make it true?  Perhaps that's marketing but I cringe at the idea that I may play Battlefield 4 and have to pay to increase rank or unlock a new gun.  I like earning the unlockables through game play.  Perhaps I'm a Platypus among gamers but I doubt it.

 

Anyone else out there praying this doesn't happen?

sirkibble2
sirkibble2

The future hasn't been about one-time payments since DLC erupted. The trend of the market is to create two-plus-time payments. I don't want that. I want the full package from the point I pay for it.

 

He uses Gap as an example and it's an interesting example. It makes sense because that is, essentially, what the FTP model is doing. On the other hand, the way I see it, I don't want to pay a bill on my games to get the most out of it.

 

And if free is what people want? Why would people pay to play?

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

So I have to constantly pay to get the full experience? No thanks!

RedLegZeff
RedLegZeff

 @chilly-chill Not really. MMO's just so happen to be designed around addictive behaviors, which makes them perfect for free to play. You also get stuff that you can show off to other people, great for free to play. I've heard speculation that all mmo's are going free to play sooner or later, even wow is free to play to level 20 already.

RedLegZeff
RedLegZeff

 @chipwithdip Well, they do have to structure games differently to get you to want to always spend more money. Satisfaction in your game kinda runs contrary to that, so none of that. They'll just try to keep you hungry.

RedLegZeff
RedLegZeff

 @quantumtheo How many good free to play games are there? At least ones that began as free to play. Some mmo's are good, but they weren't designed free to play. Everybody raves about team fortress 2, but again wasn't free to play to begin with.

Tiwill44
Tiwill44

 @TedSheckler Nice comparison, but the trainer wouldn't teach you how to be better, he'd simply give you steroids and better boxing gloves so that you can beat others without any skill or effort. :P

KeeseKiller7
KeeseKiller7

 @SamuraiSeven Just about everyone with much sense is praying this doesn't happen. I think people nowadays are in general just too smart for this crap. If anyone, especially EA, tries to move all their business to F2P, they'll go out of business.

Not to mention it's EA. A lot of people hate them. I would expect people to get online, make multiple accounts, not pay on any of them, and just try to break the game or flood the servers without giving them money to fix it. Nobody should do this, but even if it was a good idea, EA isn't liked enough to do it.

KeeseKiller7
KeeseKiller7

 @sirkibble2 The thing is, I am a fan of DLC. I think it's a great thing. You pay for extra content. Simple. But this BS that EA is doing, mainly putting DLC on the disc but not letting you play it until you pay more, or making you pay for an EA Online Pass to access half of the game, which you already paid for (as well as already paying for Xbox Live Gold on Xbox) isn't how DLC needs to be done. DLC should be more content, not content they don't let you play because they want more money.

Borderlands is a prime example of how DLC is done right. They gave a long, full game. I would be fine with nothing but the vanilla game. It was incredible, and it was impossible to think that it was lacking in content. Then they released four DLCs. All of them were $10. But they were incredible. They were truly new additions to the game that added something the game didn't already have. And it isn't stuff that made you feel like it should have been in the game already. The game was huge and full. The DLC just added to it.

Now this F2P crap is making you pay for what you were told is free.

godhand1942
godhand1942

Or you can just play the game and UNLOCK EVERYTHING!If you don't want to take the time, then pay your way out. I do like that idea. As long as the "time cost" is reasonable and not absurd like in Monday Night Combat.

KeeseKiller7
KeeseKiller7

 @SamuraiSeven By "nobody should do this" I mean nobody should try to go F2P. I didn't mean nobody should break do that thing I said. I would probably support people doing that if it got rid of F2P.

sirkibble2
sirkibble2

I can get with what you said. I guess I feel the same way considering I just bought the Borderlands GOTY.

 

There's not a lot of DLC that is this ideal, however. It's unfortunate.

 

Good comment. I've been enlightened. :)

ivan_osorio
ivan_osorio

 @KeeseKiller7  @sirkibble2 A few other "right" ways to do it that come to mind is LittleBigPlanet. Game is pretty complete, you pay to look good if you care about that. The actual expansion packs that add content are never expensive. Pretty reasonable stuff all the way.

The other, and I may get flame for this, is what EA themselves has done to SOME games, like the Need For Speed Shift 2, for instance. The whole game is there, there is some DLC that feels absurdly unimportant, but you also have the ability to pay to unlock cars and events, which are all available in the game. Simply PERFECT. They get their money from people who bought the game and don't want to play it and unlock the stuff, and I get a decent game to play around with. I love the fact that every car there has a cost in game-cash and in the PSStore, but I can unlock EVERY. SINGLE. CAR. by just playing the game, and it doesn't take any massive amounts of skill either. Just time playing, enjoying, the game.

SamuraiSeven
SamuraiSeven

 @KeeseKiller7  @sirkibble2

 I like DLC too.  I agree with the Borderlands analogy.  Although I understand the cost benefit of putting it on the disc ahead of time, It seems disengenuous. 

 

I like the idea of a company looking at player's responses to a game and adding DLC with that in mind.  A company that tracks what resonates well with a games fans and adds to it.  I think Borderlands and the Elder Scrolls series get this.  It seemed DICE got it too with the BFBC Vietnam expansion.

KeeseKiller7
KeeseKiller7

 @ivan_osorio  @sirkibble2 I never played that game, but that does sound good. Like what Tribes: Ascend did but more reasonable. You can pay for everything, or you can just play for it. They don't make you pay for the content, it's just a shortcut you can take. They don't limit people who don't wanna pay.

They also did well with Mass Effect 2. The game is gigantic and fantastic. The DLC just added unnecessary but fun and meaningful parts to it.

Mass Effect 3 is another story. I don't even wanna talk about that.