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.

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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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