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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.


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.
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.”

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