PS3 News: EA: Microtransactions Are The Future...Sorry, Hardcore Gamers - PS3 News

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

EA: Microtransactions Are The Future...Sorry, Hardcore Gamers

Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore says microtransactions in games will be a definite part of the industry's future. Interestingly enough, he acknowledges that hardcore gamers won't like this.

In speaking to Kotaku, Moore said that in 5-10 years, all games will have the option of "installing a client" for free, and then charging for add-ons. He likened this to a trip to The Gap:

"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."

That being said, Moore doesn't believe this will effectively kill off the big-budget $60 productions. They will survive, but the microtransactions can lead to industry growth by ushering in new fans. The interesting part is that he added: "Hardcore gamers won't like to hear this. They like to circle the wagons around what they believe is something they feel they have helped build - and rightly so."

Damn straight. But it looks like we're just going to have to get over it, as what Moore foresees isn't only possible, it's plausible. Plus, the idea of games shifting from products to services is a hot topic of conversation and one analysts and industry insiders take quite seriously. What have you to say about all this?

Tags: ea, electronic arts, microtransactions, video games, gaming industry

6/20/2012 8:40:50 PM Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (47 posts)

CaptRon
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 @ 9:16:34 PM
Reply

Either make the game free or damn near close and use micro transactions, or leave it at $60. I am saddened by what this industry has turned into. I might have to pick up a new hobby in the near future.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 @ 9:25:26 PM
Reply

I will never adopt this format of gaming. Oh and btw Moore is an idiot. I'll never forgive him for the whole Dreamcast situation.

Agree with this comment 8 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 @ 10:09:12 PM

what did he do wrong with DC? I thought his efforts were admirable.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 12:07:18 AM

Yeah what happened between this man and my DC?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

LimitedVertigo
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 1:08:01 AM

Made every bad decision you could make regarding a console and its fanbase. He chose to pull the plug less than 2years into the damn things life.

Agree with this comment 6 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Qubex
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 3:37:04 AM

Must admit the DC did have a great future. Can you imagine if the DC hardware had been "pushed", the types of games we would have seen. It was ahead of its time to some extent...

Anyway... EA will lose a customer if they force micro transactions down my throat. I will pull a micro transaction on them and withdraw my money from them for good...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

xenris
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 1:50:08 PM

Dreamcast is one of my favourite consoles. I still have mine and still play Phantasy Star with my old level 102 character. Other times I will fire up Power Stones 2 when I have lots of friends over.

It was ahead of its time, but sadly the shotty hardware took to long to get right. I remember my first console blowing a fuse because the controller I plugged in was used and the cord had a nick in it. It blew the whole controller panel.

Besides that though I had soooo much fun with my DC, and I still do.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Veitsknight
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 @ 9:29:53 PM
Reply

I just hope that the microtransactions wont be pay to win. I hate those type of games. I'll take free games any day.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Axe99
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 @ 9:46:35 PM
Reply

The issue with this is that relying on microtransactions places large restrictions on game design. Some games work great with microtransactions - by all means develop them that way - but others would be terrible. Imagine deciding whether or not you do a quest in Skyrim depending on how much it cost?! That's taking a sledgehammer to the fourth wall, and will materially reduce enjoyment. I've seen the way these 'revolutionary' microtransactions work on mobile, and I can't think of one example where it didn't cheapen the experience.

And if microtransactions do cheapen the experience, then there _will_ be an alternative. EA's going 'large' on mobile and portable at the moment (ironically, though, many of their apps _aren't_ free then microtransactions, but have a paywall at the start). If microtransactions were the 'future', then Shareware (microtransactions per level for a number of games, from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s) would never have gone away!

Agree with this comment 5 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

ZettaiSeigi
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 @ 9:54:20 PM
Reply

There might be a space for games driven by microtransactions, but not on my own library. Sorry, but I'd always go for the complete games instead.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

tes37
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 @ 10:13:38 PM
Reply

I'd rather spend $60 for a full game. I don't like the use of microtransactions in gaming. I'm not a fan of constantly downloading data.

Agree with this comment 6 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

BikerSaint
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 @ 10:20:58 PM
Reply

I wouldn't even bother to step into any Gap to check on their overpriced designer jeans, I'll firmly stick to my basic biker Levi's & Wranglers.

And I've already circled all of my Conestoga's ever since those infamous words, "Digital only", were first mouthed.

Last edited by BikerSaint on 6/20/2012 10:21:24 PM

Agree with this comment 4 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 @ 10:35:22 PM
Reply

I will not partake in this madness. I'll add my wagon to that circle and defend it with my last barrage of bullets until I am run out of Gaming Town for good.

Agree with this comment 8 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ludicrous_Liam
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 3:32:49 AM

I'll bring the minigun.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 2:01:20 PM

I'll bring the materia! ;) LV can bring the GF's.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

JackDillinger89
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 @ 11:14:36 PM
Reply

Blah Blah Blah can it Moore....

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 1:04:56 AM
Reply

The "problem" with this solution is that it's just too good for them not to go for it. It will effectively put an end both to trading of used games and piracy in one go, plus the model itself has proven to be sustainable in regards to income.

It really is the obvious way forward for the business. Unfortunately.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

Axe99
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 4:34:51 AM

It's one of the ways forward, for sure, but as long as there's gamers like most of us in this thread, there'll be a market (it's the whole damn point of a free market). Unless Moore's planning a communist revolution, or to at least ridiculously regulate the gaming market, then the old-school gamers will create demand for full experiences, and where there is demand, there will be games. They might only be by small indies, but they'll be there.

I don't think it'll get that far though - they'll hit trouble with falling demand once they start applying this model to genres where it doesn't work (as the cheapened gameplay experience will mean that the freemium model games will have a competitive disadvantage versus full-price games that don't need to compromise game design to meet their revenue needs). If we gamers continue to pay for full experiences, then people will continue to make 'em.

Of course, where freemium works well with gameplay design (say Magic, the Gathering, where you get a deck at the start for free, but pay for more as you play), I'd be very surprised if it doesn't take over - but I just can't see how a freemium Bioshock or Skyrim could work without seriously cheapening the experience. It'd be like letting people walk into a movie and watch the first ten minutes, then pausing the movie and asking them to pay up for the next twenty minutes, and so on, and be just about as much fun.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 5:53:05 AM

I dunno, Axe. I just don't know. If there is one thing I've learnt over the years, it is that nothing last forever, and changes happen fast.
I've also learnt that "where there is a will there is a way". If they really want to, they *will* find a way to make it work.

And one could rightfully ask if we don't have microtransactions in most games already, in the shape of DLCs where you buy new characters, outfits, guns or hairstyles. Isn't those DLCs basically just microtransactions too, just in a smaller scale?

Basically I see this "free client" model to be a sort of advanced form of demo. And as such it's not really such a bad deal. We most likely get a much better feel for the game than you get in a very limited demo. That's the positive spin on this.


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/21/2012 5:55:55 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Lawless SXE
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 6:23:38 AM

Change is inevitable, you're right, but people are also resistant to change. If it is forced, then yes, they, oh hell, WE will acclimatise to it, but there is no feasible way for EA or any company to force us to go F2P no matter how much they want to. And if they start to shoehorn the idea into all of their games then, if the PSXE crew is any indication, consumers will walk away from their products in droves, giving their money to their competitors. Willpower is great, but in this case it works both ways.

You're not wrong on the kinds of DLC that you mention being little more than microtransactions, but they are superfluous offerings rather than full, necessary aspects of the games. They aren't missions and levels and, even though those have been done before in the form of DLC, it is beyond what people can reasonably be expected to pay just to play the game.

As an example, Pigsy's Perfect 10 (the DLC episode of Enslaved) cost ten US dollars. It acted as another chapter to a game that already has (I think) about twelve. I think most gamers would be quick to realise that, if this were the norm, they would end up paying double what they normally would, receive a piecemeal offering and rebel against the practise. Especially if they had to pay even more to unlock extra moves/story elements/weapons/whatever.

I keep forgetting that you like the more open games. For those, yeah, it could work. I mean, as frustrating as it might be for something like Skyrim or Mass Effect and even GTA, it could certainly work. You have the sandbox world and a game skeleton, but populate it by spending cash. Some people would buy into the idea, but not me.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 9:10:53 AM

But now the discussion is turning into a discussion about *how* it could be implemented, and quite frankly I think that is a tad too theoretical to really be of much interest until we see the first few games with this implemented. Also I don't have much thoughts or ideas to offer there.

But I totally agree that we *could* end up paying more than we do today for games. Indeed we might. It would be extremely typical if so.


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/21/2012 9:12:16 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Axe99
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 5:55:15 PM

I deffo agree this'll happen with many types of games, and am not suggesting it won't happen at all, but think it suits online, 'level-up' games far better than single-player experiences (particularly open-world ones).

That said, I do think free-to-play will dominate the casual market, where people are just looking to kill some time on their phones. In many ways, it already is. But the types of experiences people are looking for on console/PC/handheld are generally far more involved and structured far differently. And hitting a paywall regularly over the course of the actual game is very different from downloading extra levels or costumes (and I'm not sure a F2P game can sustain itself on costumes alone - while DOTA2 will give us some indication, it's hardly the same scale as a full AAA production, given it already had a lot of the design and codebase in existence prior to being built).

And after all my rambling, you could well be right - I'm just another punter on the internet. I just think that in this case there's room for both business models going forward, as there's a customer base for both. As for which customer base spends more money, only time will tell. But if I have to make my own games in retirement because gameplay has stagnated based on the F2P model, I will!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Friday, June 22, 2012 @ 10:23:41 AM

I fully agree that it is a bit hard to imagine how traditional, offline, linear games can implement the f2p model. Fully agree. And that is of course what most others struggle with too, and that causes the concern expressed in the comments here and other related articles.

It's just... My gut feeling tells me that they *will* find a way to do that, we've just not seen it yet. Will there be some trial and error, some failing along the way? Sure it will. But that's just a brief period.

And I can promise you this: No-one, not one single person on this site will give up gaming because of this model, regardless of what they say today.
It won't happen cause we love gaming too much, but also because the industry will play their cards so that the loss is minimal. They will find a way to make it work.


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/22/2012 10:27:07 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Axe99
Saturday, June 23, 2012 @ 7:46:33 AM

I wouldn't give up gaming per se - I've got a bad enough memory that I can go back to my PSOne faves and start all over again ;). And also can put together passably reasonable strategy games (with 'orrible visuals, of course) if push comes to shove, although prefer to let the masters run with that if they can.

Of course, if they can make F2P not break the fourth wall, and keep it fun, I'll be there. But I just can't see how it can happen - and it wouldn't be the first 'this is the future of X industry' that never came to pass. Still, I can't read the future. In 10 years time we'll know, one way or another :).

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

AshT
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 1:43:44 AM
Reply

Seriously...if that's the future, i'll stop playing games and find something else to keep me busy.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

matt99
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 2:03:12 AM
Reply

Well then, I guess my gaming hobby will be over in 10 years...

But seriously does this idiot think gamers want this system? Has he not read ANY online forums or done any research?

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Lawless SXE
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 2:08:07 AM
Reply

"I think, ultimately, those microtransactions will be in every game, but the game itself or the access to the game will be free" - isn't he contradicting himself by following this up by saying that he doesn't believe that it will completely usurp the current AAA market style? Either way, I'll address primarily the above statement.

Now would be the perfect time to quote Henry Ford, but f**k that! In this case, I do want a faster horse, not an expensive, gas-guzzling automobile. What they're seeing is the carrot being dangled in front of them by the current trend of F2P games, as well as social and mobile games. In short, games that specifically designed for this type of transaction. Applying the same methodology to a modern, linear straightforward AAA game just isn't going to work. I mean, how would Max Payne 3 work in this sort of environment?

The closest feasible method would be episodic gaming, something that I'm not entirely impartial to, if I'm being completely honest. I'm sorry Mr Moore, but you're wrong. A larger portion of games may adopt this format, but it will never become the norm. It simply can't because you can't build an engaging story-based experience around microtransactions, no matter how determined you may be to try.

And why am I so ticked off about this? LOOK WHAT THEY'VE DONE TO MY VALKYRIA CHRONICLES!!! **** the future, I'm happy in the now...

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

___________
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 5:15:11 AM
Reply

sigh, just another way for EA to milk every last dime out of their fans!
and they wonder why they were voted most hated company in america!
there starting to go back to their old ways.
they started this gen not giving a sh*t about the quality of their games or their fans, just the $$$$$.
than they finally started to change, gave much more attention to fans, started releasing awesome games, started releasing new IPs.
and now their going back to their old habits!

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

homura
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 6:48:17 AM
Reply

It will never be the future of console gaming. Take a look at the gaming industry in South Korea, many developers are in trouble because of their free to play with microtransactions games. Personally I gave up online gaming because I’ve realized that it’s tiresome and a waste of time and money playing a neverending game. (Ragnarok Online) that’s the game I’ve played. That’s one of the reason I came back to playing console games and the other reason is console games even if some are short is that they have high quality and the most important thing, a good and sometimes an epic complete story with an end. Sooner or later those free to play games and their server will shut down. And the servers in my old Ragnarok game has merged into one because of the declining online population. That’s the future of free to play online with microtransactions games.

Last edited by homura on 6/21/2012 6:52:35 AM

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Excelsior1
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 9:01:53 AM

Agreed. Free to play is almost like a last ditch effort keep gamers from bailing but I'm not convinced it's as lucrative as publishers think it is. I know some gamers who were playing the free to play DC Universe online on the PS3. When they found out you had to purchase DLC just to have voice chat enabled they just bailed on the game and deleted it. Ironically they said the were going back WWW. There is definitely a substantial population of console gamers who are adverse to microtransactions on the free to play model DC Universe.

I refused to purchase the DLC but one of my friends bought it for me so we could actually speak to one another. That has to be the lamest thing I have seen in awhile. Voice Chat ONLY if you purchase that DLC. Lame. lame, lame.

P.S.

Congradulations EA for receiving the prestigous worst American company award recently.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Clamedeus
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 3:08:30 PM

You don't need to pay to use Voice Chat, I used it as a free to play player only. The only thing you need to pay for is so people around you can hear you, all you have to do is get into a party and only you guys can talk to each other, unless of course they completely changed it.

I've done it, and it works. I didn't give a cent when it released while playing.

Last edited by Clamedeus on 6/21/2012 3:09:58 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Miggy
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 8:50:39 AM
Reply

For some reason I think that all these micro transactions will ultimately cost gamers more than the $60 for the full product. Which would make sense as to why they're pushing this so hard. That's fine if it's free to play at first but if I have to pay around $200 for all the add-ons to feel the complete experience I'd have to give up on gaming and find a cheaper hobby.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Amnesiac
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 9:46:26 AM
Reply

Of course this is the way of the future.
You can be sure EA's going to make it happen anyway they can
just as this guy says.


Last edited by Amnesiac on 6/21/2012 9:47:25 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Amnesiac
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 10:03:02 AM
Reply

Oh and one other thing..

For my entire gaming life I've felt that the entire industry has always catered to us and listened intently on what we had to say,
but now I feel that these companies are only worried about their shareholders and stockbrokers that we aren't important enough and our feedback has become unsolicited.

This is the feeling that comes to mind when an Electronic Arts COO states openly that "hardcore gamers won't like to hear this.."

Just who do think helped build this sorry company into the monster it is today?

The hardcore gamers who kept buying their shite games.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

wackazoa
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 10:45:39 AM
Reply

One needed only to look at EA's record the last few years to see that Moore would feel this way. That EA has been trying to nickle and dime games lately, is so blatently obvious, it's almost criminal. And no I dont believe he feels $60 games are gone. I think that fits his market strategy perfectly. Have the free games foir the casual person and have the bigger budget $60 games for the hardcore gamers...... then microtrans-act the HELL OUT OF ALL OF THEM !!!!!!

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

GuernicaReborn
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 12:36:46 PM
Reply

Why the hell did he just compare video games to the gap?

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 1:57:34 PM

Because that's where he shops?

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

GuernicaReborn
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 1:58:11 PM

haha... fair enough.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 12:55:24 PM
Reply

If that's the future according to Moore, then I have no future with games from Mr Moore.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

xenris
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 1:52:13 PM
Reply

His analogy with the gap is stupid. Lets translate that into gaming standards.

Your placed in a warzone and you can walk around, listen to the bullets flying at you and experience what the game has to offer. But if you want to have a gun and fight back you have to pay money. Want ammo? More money.

Hardly any F2P games are done with balance in mind. Tribes ascend I play a lot of but its F2P system is terrible, and makes most matches really unbalanced.

I think more games will be cheaper in the future buuuut the model has to be tweaked because most gamers wont put up with it.

Last edited by xenris on 6/21/2012 1:53:11 PM

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 2:02:58 PM
Reply

Yeah... cause I want to play games for free, then pay incredible amounts of money to compete with people fairly or finish a game...

Because this will finally destroy story-based gaming. And instead of console exclusivity, we'll have GAME exclusivity... where people commit to one game and one game only.

He's wrong. It will never fly as the exclusive gaming format. It just can't work for every genre or every gamer.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Comic Shaman
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 5:29:07 PM
Reply

That Gap analogy has to be one of the flimsiest I've ever seen. Cripes, Moore, make an effort. Go with some comparison that has at least a little bit of relevance to the question at hand.

MOORE: "It's kind of like space. I can walk around and look up at the sky all I want, but if I want to go there, then I have to buy a rocket. Or it's like a hospital. I can walk around and smell the antiseptic, but if I need treatment, I'd better be ready to pay for insurance. Or maybe it's like a donut. Or the color magenta. Or the Suez crisis. It's like that."

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Axe99
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 5:58:58 PM

lol - great post :).

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Nickjcal
Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 7:54:16 PM
Reply

I would be more dissapointed by this, if the quality of F2P games were what they were yesterday. A lot of F2P games are becoming very popular and a lot of people are jumping on board. Warface looks pretty fun, Hawken etc, and those are both anticipated games.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ather
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 4:18:27 PM
Reply

Analygy is off. I go itno GAP, looka round, but have to pay to ask for help, pay to use the dressing room. Pay to have the security tag removed.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Caanimal
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 8:56:01 PM
Reply

EA continues like this I'll discontinue buying their games all together, which would really piss me off cause I do enjoy more than a few of their games. Every game publisher needs to step back and take an honest look at what's going on and decide if they want to really kill video gaming...

If this continues I'll have to take up model building again, I still have about 2 dozen WWII aircraft to put together...

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

FredKang
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 11:40:05 AM
Reply

Having seen Lords of the Rings fall into this I am clearly not in favor of this. It would be one thing if the microtransactions were for cosmetics. However it has been my experience that this unbalances a game and leads to you having to buy or not be able to compete on a level playing field.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

Do you regret buying the PS4 so early?
Nope, I love it!
Not really; I still play it plenty.
A little, I was hoping for more games.
Yes, I could've waited.

Previous Poll Results