Electronic Arts Says the Future is Freemium

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Electronic Arts Says the Future is Freemium


Executives at EA say the future is "freemium" and suggest that the pricing model could even make its way to console games.

If you play games on your mobile then you're almost certainly familiar with the term "freemium." It describes games that are free to download and play, but that charge for certain advanced aspects or functionality like new levels, better weapons and the general sort of miscellanea that makes games a little more interesting for those who do pay them than for those who do not. The concept has been around in one form or another for ages, the "shareware" model made famous by Doom perhaps the best known early example, but the relatively recent explosion of mobile gaming has taken the concept to unprecedented levels of prominence.

And according to EA Interactive Senior Vice President Nick Earl, the best is yet to come. "The future is not about one-time payments, the future is about freemium. 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 told MCV. "I don't know if freemium gets to console but I do know that humans like free stuff. I also know humans who will pay for something if they've tried it out and they like it."

"I've wondered if freemium expands beyond the tablet, Facebook and smartphones, and out into consoles?" he added. "I don't think it's impossible for that to happen."

BioWare Mythic studio head Eugene Evans compared the freemium model to videogame rentals, which allowed players to try games without having to pay full price for them. He acknowledged that the system probably put a few studios out of business but said that from a personal perspective, he thought it was great. He also said freemium "democratizes the price of gaming," because "consumers can now vote with their wallet."

Robert Nashak, the executive vice president of digital entertainment and games at BBC Worldwide, took that sentiment even further, saying that because people get a chance to try games before they fork over their cash, the freemium model has a direct and positive influence on the quality of games. "The freemium model really favours 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," he said. "I think freemium changes the landscape and raises the quality bar in a good way."

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the apparent equation of "better quality" with "ease of monetization." I've played a lot of freemium games of various sorts, and while many brought some impressively habit-forming hooks to bear, very few of them are actually what I'd consider good. "Good," like freemium, is a bit of a vaguely defined term, but I'm unconvinced that what's good for EA Interactive is necessarily good for games.

Source: MCV


What do they mean, "the future"? When you look at all the DLC packs their releases have, EA have already embraced the freemium model. ;)

EA: Reliably confusing the present with the future.

*sigh* and you honestly expect ANYTHING but hate coming from me when you make such comments, EA?

That's a really interesting point, that freemium lets the consumer send better signals than $60 purchases.

After all, what is the takeaway from my waiting for $30 to buy Lollipop Chainsaw? Do I think it is only worth $30, or do I just like saving money?

I don't even know the answer.

Freemium: For when you can't make games people actually want to pay for.

I cannot see this ending well for the consumers. Not with EA holding onto the "freemium" reigns.

$1 ammo clips, anyone?


EA is trolling us.

They must be, they realize everyone hates them, so now they're just trolling.


This was already revealed weeks ago in the Ultima Forever press release. They outlined their F2P strategy, and listed their upcoming slate of games using the model.

If it hastens their decline, they should go for it.

I stopped purchasing EA games when they started the DLC craze...
Just look the broken DLC's for Dragon Age, that are only fan fixed,
and still the game crashes when casting a certain magic spell, just because that spell!

Don't forget that some quests are broken cause forgotten markes in the code
that fans fixed too...

The DLC's are good, but poorly executed and just a quick cash in, my last EA game...

And this means, in real tongue:

"We produce cheap games for IDIOTS to buy who will spend money on this shit"

The same they do now, but for freemium games they need no investment cause its cheap,
just look at facebook games. They cost next to nothing.

So they eliminate a large portion of the risk.

But they will not, at least in my tearms, produce games anymore...
just garbage.

It's funny to me that they decided to put this out after Zynga crashed and burned, showing that the future of Freemium titles is not as strong as they seem to think it is.

Games won't go to freemium, but your stock price will soon.

NFS World follows this model and it works really well tbh. The game is free to play and its possible to play the whole game without ever having to spend a penny.

However, most the fastest drivers run the cars with the most expensive and rare parts. How do you get those parts quickly? Why, you buy them for real money of course. The conversion rate for World is pretty high and the amount people have sunk into that game already is insane.

Its also worth nothing this process has been in effect for nearly 2 years for this EA title, and the model itself has been around for a hell of a lot longer.

Yeah your entitled to think what you want... but if that is what you think, you wont be a part of the future.

I bet $100 most every single reply to this thread would be of a much sunnier disposition had it been Valve that said this.

Remember when Steam fist enabled gifts? Remember how many people were excited, thinking it could have been the start towards trading used games? Now remember yesterday when GameStop said they want used digital games? Everyone raged and said used digital games could never work, that it was a terrible idea and that it would ruin gaming.

This community is bias as all fuck.

Being marketed at sucks. And being pummeled with 3rd party ads in-game completely breaks the game experience. And I don't know of a single game that pimps its cash shop at every pause that isn't terrible.

When I played DDO the loading screens were ads for its cash store and they were about the most marketing I can handle within a game before it starts to suck.

All the "cash shop" games I played on Android inevitably pimped one transaction or another. Newsflash game devs, I don't want to make real-life economic decisions while I play games. The whole reason I play games is to relieve stress distract me while I'm putting off more important stuff.

There are ways to make freemium not suck but inevitably they clash with the dev/publisher desire to maximize revenue.

I think that in the future there will be room for a non-profit game publisher that simultaneously gets the developers paid and also focuses on producing great fun polished games.

That wouldn't be possible under the traditional publishing model where the parasitic stockholders and executives are constantly pushing to squeeze every last dime out of a game.

In other news, Electronic Arts says the Internet is the Future!

Soviet Heavy:
It's funny to me that they decided to put this out after Zynga crashed and burned, showing that the future of Freemium titles is not as strong as they seem to think it is.

I just want to say, you're avatar seems eerily appropriate for that comment.

Back on topic, I love triple town. I have not spent a dime on it. I might in the future, but I see no reason to pay for that. I have plenty of coins, the only thing would be maybe getting infinite turns.
I don't know how DUST 514 is supposed to run, but I know you have to buy special ammo and drop beacons and such. They have in-game currency and real money for those. I also think that it's possible to die and lose most of your stuff, like in EVE.
Based on how 514 and MechWarrior Online shake out, I'll be more likely to make a judgement on the future of freemium.
Plus, we have Planetside 2, Hawken, DOTA 2 and a bunch of other F2P titles in direct competition coming out.
Now, if EA means "freemium" as in only what the Mobile market is doing, we have a problem.

I wish EA would just die. I don't want to pay for my game hundreds of times, just let me pay once and get the complete game.

Does anyone else find it funny that the EA rep being quoted here only refers to other people as 'humans'? And he does it several times in quick succession, too.




Why? Why do you hate your customers so much EA? Your business practices already screw us, but this is even more ridiculous.

The Lunatic:
Freemium: For when you can't make games people actually want to pay for.

Ah. Maybe that's why.

who are we to get in the way of ea volunteering themselves to jump headfirst into zynga's grave

not i

They are probably right, although it will pain me to see it happen.

EA, your future is Unobtanium.

Wait, people are listening to EA for market predictions and business advice?

Fucking EA?

Have you SEEN their stocks recently?

14 year low you people, 14 year low!

"one time payment" is the best option for a video game. The other business models are scams. They exist because, using that model, you can get people to pay much more for a game than they would on a one time purchase. In terms of the money an average person spends, "free" games are the most expensive ones on the market.

Once again the EA PR department proves how utterly and completely retarded they are. Great job guys!

Somebody needs to tell EA to just not ever talk to the press, as they are incapable of giving good news to the consumer.

Soviet Heavy:
It's funny to me that they decided to put this out after Zynga crashed and burned, showing that the future of Freemium titles is not as strong as they seem to think it is.

Zynga stock crashes and burns.

A few days later...

"The future is Freemium!"

EA would you kindly shut your mouth? Releasing statements like this after the largest Freemium game developer has disolved into a messy train-wreck doesn't exactly spark investor confidence.

Charli says: "The future is EA keeps talking, should probably stop."

Isn't this what demo's are supposed to be for?
You try it (The demo) and like it, So you buy the full game?

Also "It describes games that are free to download and play, but that charge for certain advanced aspects or functionality like new levels" EA do that now, except they charge you to download and play it as well, then they call the "Advanced aspects or functionality like new levels" DLC.

Trying games without paying for them...

Thought those were called 'demos'.

And EA speculating on a good future of the gaming scene?


I cannot see this ending well for the consumers. Not with EA holding onto the "freemium" reigns.

$1 ammo clips, anyone?

No the magazine is free, the bullets however cost $1 for 4.

Ot: EA. As many have said, You're a company run by idiots. Zynga all but bottomed out like a week ago and you say this stupidity. Just... you make me...


Just make it so that Star Wars: the Old Republic drops it's subscription and you can do all the retarded shit you want, EA.

Like making the same sports games year after year.

Or making a pretty terrible steam ripoff.

Oh wait.

Oooh, EA is doing something again! THIS SHOULD PAN OUT WELL.

I love how they spent so much money advertising that SimCity social was unlike Cityville, only to make a more friction mechanic based game that plays worse than Cityville.

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