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IGN: EA COO says free 2 play inevitable

maniacalpha1-1

Diamond Member
Feb 7, 2010
3,562
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http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/06/21/eas-peter-moore-free-to-play-is-an-inevitability

EA's chief operating officer has expressed his belief that free-to-play is an "inevitability" for all mainstream games.
Speaking with Kotaku, Peter Moore suggests that a F2P future would be a good thing, as it would constantly bring in new players and potential customers.
“
I think, ultimately, microtransactions will be in every game, but the game itself or the access to the game will be free.

He explained, "I think, ultimately, those microtransactions will be in every game, but the game itself or the access to the game will be free.
"I think there's an inevitability that happens five years from now, 10 years from now, that, let's call it the client, to use the term, [is free.] 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. 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."
It comes in the wake of rumours that Bioware's MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, which EA publishes, is looking at the viability of adopting a F2P model. If EA were to roll it out to their other titles though, it begs the question of how it would work. Microtransactions could be easily integrated into the likes of Madden NFL 13 or SimCity, but it's less apparent how they'd work with titles such as Mass Effect 3.
While Moore accepts that the proposed F2P revolution may not be imminent, that's not to say he didn't suggest changes are happening right this instant. Prefacing his claims with the warning that "hardcore gamers won't like to hear this", he explained that companies are increasingly taking notice of platforms other than the consoles.
“
Hardcore gamers won't like to hear this.

"We're going through, as an industry, just an unbelievably difficult transformation, that is not from one business model to another but from one business model to a myriad of different business models," he said.
"Consoles are still going to be a very important part of what we do. But so are browsers. So are iOS devices. So are Android mobile phones. So are PCs, which are feeling a renaissance. It's all coming together in this potpourri..."
None of this is hugely surprising. When we recently spoke to Moore about the public perception of EA, he revealed to us that he feels "The $60 game is dying. The mid-range game is no longer profitable. EA has to focus its energies elsewhere in order to meet those quarterly targets."
Interesting that he doesn't specify multiplayer games? Not sure how free 2 play would work for mainstream single player. $60 games are dying and you can be sure that EA will be trying to use microtransactions to, over the life of a game, get MORE than $60 per player.
 

Gheris

Senior member
Oct 24, 2005
305
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I don't see single player games going F2P. If it did I think the microtransaction market would get ridiculous, especially with EA at the Helm. Not bashing EA but this quote says it all.

"EA has to focus its energies elsewhere in order to meet those quarterly targets."

That invites a throw everything at the wall and see what sticks result for a F2P model. Who knows what type of mechanisms could be implemented into single. *Shivers* Paying to level up? I can see it now....."Our game can be completed at level 30, but if you want a more challenging experience you can purchase the 30-50 pack which will introduce more loot and challenging enemies!"..........Awesome.......

I think the most successfull companies in the future will be those that actually own themselves and do not go public. Answer to no one but themselves, take your time, develop a good product and release digitally. That's the future. Won't work for all companies, and a lot will most certainly fail but that is the nature of business.
 

darkewaffle

Diamond Member
Oct 7, 2005
8,152
1
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I would agree. Not only is it easier to pull someone in when there's no cost of entry but there's no denying that most people are much more receptive to nickel and dime costs vs bulk costs. At least as far as multiplayer games are concerned that is, I'm not sure how it'll roll into offline games though.

I've got friends who play LoL who have spend literally hundreds of dollars on skins over the last year or two; and games like Maple Story and Farmville have been doing this for years now. I think people have discovered that, in many cases, they can still get their 'fix' from mediocre free to play games, despite their flaws, it and in turn it's hard for them to justify pay to play costs.
 

maniacalpha1-1

Diamond Member
Feb 7, 2010
3,562
14
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I would agree. Not only is it easier to pull someone in when there's no cost of entry but there's no denying that most people are much more receptive to nickel and dime costs vs bulk costs. At least as far as multiplayer games are concerned that is, I'm not sure how it'll roll into offline games though.

I've got friends who play LoL who have spend literally hundreds of dollars on skins over the last year or two; and games like Maple Story and Farmville have been doing this for years now. I think people have discovered that, in many cases, they can still get their 'fix' from mediocre free to play games, despite their flaws, it and in turn it's hard for them to justify pay to play costs.
But League of Legends is multiplayer isn't it? Or is it co-op? I haven't played it, but either way it's not single player, right?

How in the world could they apply free 2 play to Mass Effect, Dragon Age, etc? Divide the story up in to 10 Acts and the 1st act is free, each additional act is $5? Or, turn them into co-op games and sell skins too?
 

crownjules

Diamond Member
Jul 7, 2005
4,858
0
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Yeah, the nickel and dime approach seems to work better. The average person is stupid enough not to connect all those $20 charges over the course of many months and realize "Hey, I've spent $100 which is much more than the $60 for any big box game!" It definitely draws in a bigger customer base as well since there's no money barrier to entry. You can try out the game without risk.

I play 3 games currently with micro-transactions: LoL, TF2, and LOTRO. I had a VIP account in LOTRO for the first 6 months of F2P (yearly sub running out) so I ended up with a bunch of TPs. I used them to purchase all the zones when they were on sale so I have access to everything I want. In LoL, I've spent $80 over the course of 3 years of playing. And in TF2 I think I may have spent $10.

And I think this is mostly regarding multiplayer games. I also can not fathom how they'd pull it off for singleplayer games.
 

Baptismbyfire

Senior member
Oct 7, 2010
330
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As long as gamers don't dumb down more than they have already, and insist only on high-end graphics and pretty cinematics, monolithic companies like EA are bound to go the way of dinosaurs. With more and more games being distributed over the Internet, smaller developers can really shine with ingenuity, resourcefulness, and willingness to cater to the smaller audience.
 

pontifex

Lifer
Dec 5, 2000
43,806
44
91
lol, because people go to the GAP to hang out and have fun? lmao.
also, isn't the GAP expensive? I've never shopped there so I don't know, but this analogy is beyond fucking stupid.
 

maniacalpha1-1

Diamond Member
Feb 7, 2010
3,562
14
81
Yeah, the nickel and dime approach seems to work better. The average person is stupid enough not to connect all those $20 charges over the course of many months and realize "Hey, I've spent $100 which is much more than the $60 for any big box game!" It definitely draws in a bigger customer base as well since there's no money barrier to entry. You can try out the game without risk.

I play 3 games currently with micro-transactions: LoL, TF2, and LOTRO. I had a VIP account in LOTRO for the first 6 months of F2P (yearly sub running out) so I ended up with a bunch of TPs. I used them to purchase all the zones when they were on sale so I have access to everything I want. In LoL, I've spent $80 over the course of 3 years of playing. And in TF2 I think I may have spent $10.

And I think this is mostly regarding multiplayer games. I also can not fathom how they'd pull it off for singleplayer games.
Well, for a multiplayer game with evolving content, $80 over 3 years isn't bad. But I have not played LoL so you'd have to tell me whether it really evolved or added enough content over 3 years to make it worth $80?

I'm thinking of Planetside 2 here; as a multiplayer massive scale shooter, that SHOULD be worth paying $60 per year over 5 years. But that's no different in pricing than buying BF or CoD every year(technically cheaper, since BF and CoD cost even more counting DLC).
 

darkewaffle

Diamond Member
Oct 7, 2005
8,152
1
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LoL is multiplayer, yes.

I think it'll be slow to penetrate into single player but it's possible. I think in it's most basic form, all it means is that you offer a Demo for every game with a "Like it so far? Unlock the full game now!" integrated into it offering people the ability to unlock the full game for, say, $50, or they can unlock Act 1, 2, and 3 individually for $20 each.

The last demo I played I think was for WH40k Space Marine; which I enjoyed, but I didn't buy the game. I think the school of thought at work here is that if I played that demo (the "Intro")and was offered to keep playing or unlock a portion of the game for less than the full price, I might be more inclined to purchase. Albeit they'd get less up front but I would also have to pay less up front, so I could try out more of the game if I'm still hesitant without shelling out the full price. If it turns out I don't like the game well then I'm only out $20 instead of $60.

I mean there's no reason you couldn't offer a full game for free and try to sell skins, items, boosts, etc in a single player game; I think it's just going to be much less compelling because much of the reason people buy aesthetic stuff is so that they can show it off to other people.
 

Via

Diamond Member
Jan 14, 2009
4,695
3
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As long as I can make a complete game cheaper because I'm good at it I'm in favor of it.
 

crownjules

Diamond Member
Jul 7, 2005
4,858
0
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Well, for a multiplayer game with evolving content, $80 over 3 years isn't bad. But I have not played LoL so you'd have to tell me whether it really evolved or added enough content over 3 years to make it worth $80?
There's a new hero released every 2-3 weeks. They've added a new game mode and map. They've been revamping the models/textures of their older art assets. So yeah, there's enough to justify it. I play it a ton and I want to give them due compensation for the enjoyment I get from the game. I don't like the idea of being a freeloader.

Unlike LOTRO which I had a sub account for awhile (and don't play much these days) and TF2 which I pre-purchased.

I think it'll be slow to penetrate into single player but it's possible. I think in it's most basic form, all it means is that you offer a Demo for every game with a "Like it so far? Unlock the full game now!" integrated into it offering people the ability to unlock the full game for, say, $50, or they can unlock Act 1, 2, and 3 individually for $20 each.
If it did go like that, it really would be a throwback to the shareware days of the late 80s, early 90s.
 

CountZero

Golden Member
Jul 10, 2001
1,796
36
86
As long as I can make a complete game cheaper because I'm good at it I'm in favor of it.
It is unlikely that a complete game will be cheaper in any way. The baseline game will probably end up around the same but the number of little DLC things will be massive. Think SR3 but $20 per act for three acts. But it could be much worse.

There are phone/tablet games that are basically unbeatable without buying stuff. Technically you could beat the game for free but mathematically it is impossible.

This also puts complete control of pricing in the publisher hands. Though this is more a side effect of digital distribution.

I don't know if I am unique or what but I am much more likely to drop big money up front than to ever participate in microtransactions.
 

lupi

Lifer
Apr 8, 2001
32,539
260
126
I don't think its inevitable, I do though thinks its crazy to think a limited player base can support an unlimited amount of titles all trying to charge the same as the tip of the pyramid title.
 

Genx87

Lifer
Apr 8, 2002
41,061
494
126
Wargaming's model is pretty damn successful. They hook you in then dangle the carrot of premium, premium tanks, and free exp conversion to suck your wallet of money. In the past year I have dropped 150 bucks on the game lmao. If it were 60 bucks out of the gate. Doubt I would had bought it.
 

PowerYoga

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2001
4,603
0
0
Make the stock tank shit, make you have to grind through 60k of shit tank to get to the good tracks before you can mount the turret and gun, which are 30k of exp each....

yeah. Not just the model of microtransaction, but even the grind and level-up design sucks money from you.

That being said, I will spend free-exp to get out of an unenjoyable phase of an otherwise good tank.... To be fair, I don't mind spending money on games I enjoy, the game's provided hours and hours of entertainment to me and my buddy.
 

QueBert

Lifer
Jan 6, 2002
21,773
225
106
lol, because people go to the GAP to hang out and have fun? lmao.
also, isn't the GAP expensive? I've never shopped there so I don't know, but this analogy is beyond fucking stupid.
Gap's nowhere near expensive, it's basically 1 step up from Old Navy.
 

cmdrdredd

Lifer
Dec 12, 2001
26,835
278
126
For smaller titles maybe this is something they will try more, but for major releases? No. cause they will have more people informed as to what they're doing with the next big release and the lost sales would be too high.
 

coloumb

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,097
0
81
Oh most definitely for MP games - it's a no brainer. Look at itunes - the client is free and a lot of the apps/songs are incredibly cheap with free versions [sample from the song, lite version of an app]. Look at the facebook games and other F2P mmo's with micro-transactions - very popular and probably make enough money [and then some] to remain profitable.

Single Player games - I'd say DLC's/add-ons [ie: Dragon Age trinket which gives you a slightly better stat bonus] would be the obvious choice. Release the game for an extremely low price [$20] and charge for DLC's or add-ons upon release of the game and plan to stagger release DLC's post launch.
 

Childs

Lifer
Jul 9, 2000
11,450
7
81
I would think for single player you could charge to progress in the game, get better armor, weapons, etc. Mass Effect for example, the basic version is really nothing more than a demo. Pay a little bit to unlock a planet or system, which progresses the story. You hire your AI companions with real money, and pay for equipment. There has to be that fine line though, as the unlocks have to be cheap enough that you don't think about, yet actually worth the money so you continue to buy.
 

greenhawk

Platinum Member
Feb 23, 2011
2,031
0
71
I way I read that opening comment by EA and his reference to music, that the single player game option, while free2pay, will need a purchase to enable having a save game option....
 

KaOTiK

Lifer
Feb 5, 2001
10,876
7
0
F2P is good when done right. Just there are sooo few done right ones out there that I think most people have an over all negative view of F2P. I am much more likely to buy a game for one lump sum then to do micro transaction crap. I played 2 F2P games currently (one is in beta but will be out of it in a month or so) and both let you play, do, and get everything in the game for free.

Tribes Ascend, the only thing they don't allow you to buy in the game with exp you earn is skins, everything else can be bought with exp or with gold. The exp prices for stuff isn't bad either, sure 100k exp for a fancy new weapon is a lot, but it is also not that hard to get if you are willing to save up (Tribes is a weird one, people either play a lot of different classes or just one, so the people who play lots of different ones find it harder to get all the stuff right away). Point is, the new stuff they introduce and to unlock is not too difficult to get and the stuff isn't overpowered (there are balance issues as with any game, but not bad at all). Most of the stuff they introduce are side grades as well so it isn't like omg must have. I've played TA for 140 hours and I spent $30 (after I had played it for nearly 40 hours) and felt it was well worth it to support the developer.

Path of Exile is the other F2P I play currently. Everything you can buy in that game with real money is cosmetic or silly pets, besides one thing, increasing the size of your stash/chest, but that is pretty damn big already to begin with. The devs have stated they will only ever sell cosmetic stuff and like silly pets and the game itself is 100% there for everyone with no short cuts available to those who pay. I tossed $10 towards it after playing during one of the beta weekends and enjoy the game a lot. If you are a fan of Diablo 2, you really should check this game out.

Anyways, got off a bit, F2P needs to be done right if the games are going to actually last and do well imo. I am looking forward to a few others, Planetside 2 and Mechwarrior Online come right to mind. With MWO they have already put up "founding" packs you can buy, if I could actually play the game and see how it is before hand and make sure it isn't Pay2Win or make shit so expensive with exp/whatever that paying is the only way to get shit done. I think it is a bit sleazy for them to do this when the game is still in a closed beta and hasn't had any open weekends and we don't know much about it. Sadly we can't take what devs say at face value when shit isn't even in place yet to see if they are speaking the truth or the PR speak.

/rant

sorry
 

pontifex

Lifer
Dec 5, 2000
43,806
44
91
Gap's nowhere near expensive, it's basically 1 step up from Old Navy.
expensive is relative. don't most people here make millions a year, so it would be cheap to them?

could have sworn many years ago they were more expensive clothing than say walmart or sears, etc.
 

PrincessFrosty

Platinum Member
Feb 13, 2008
2,301
68
91
www.frostyhacks.blogspot.com
Chopping up games into micro transactions is essentially just about abstracting the cost from the user, making it harder to keep track of what you're spending and bleeding money out of people that would otherwise be hesitant to spend $50 on a full price game.

I pretty much refuse to buy into micro transactions because the way its heading in the multi player environment is buying bonuses to boost your ability to win, what we're saying really is that pay2win is just around the corner, games like battlefield heroes started it, Planetside 2 will refine it, and it will just get worse from here.

F2P MMOs are slightly different they require monthly income to host large servers that users wouldn't otherwise be able to afford to run themselves, I may pay for some stuff in Planetside 2 but my plan right now is to keep track of what I spend and make sure it doesn't exceed the equivalent of a monthly sub, if it does I'll simply bail out.
 

crownjules

Diamond Member
Jul 7, 2005
4,858
0
76
on the up side, "demos" will make a strong comeback in the f2p enviroment.
This could be true. Companies these days don't want to release a demo because it has as much a chance of scaring potential customers away as it does attracting them. You see less and less demos being released for the A-AAA titles and its mostly the indie devs doing it. But if F2P does catch on in a significant way then those releasing $60 titles are going to have to combat the no-risk value of the F2P games to entice people to buy their product.
 

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