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EA: The Future Of Gaming Is Freemium

The gaming industry may change dramatically in the coming generation, especially if some execs are correct about the near future.

Digital specialists at EA and the BBC have informed MCV that in fact, free is the only price gamers are willing to pay for their entertainment. So the "Freemium" - i.e., free-to-play - construct will start to hold sway, even in the console realm. Said EA interactive senior vice-president Nick Earl:

"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.

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? I don’t think it’s impossible for that to happen."

BBC Worldwide EVP of digital entertainment Robert Nashak was stronger, saying "free is the price point people want to pay for games" and the freemium model will actually increase the overall quality of games. He says it "changes the landscape" and should have a positive effect in general, and BioWare Mythic studio boss Eugene Evans further cites rental firms like Blockbuster as proof that freemium works.

Of course, I had to pay to rent those games, but that apparently got lost in the analysis. When Eugene rented those ten games a night, he was dropping a good $50 or $60, if I remember Blockbuster's pricing correctly. ...seems expensive. But anyway, they're probably right about one thing: the current trend is definitely "we don't really want to pay for anything," so the experts in this case are probably right.

Tags: freemium, video games, gaming industry, free to play

7/30/2012 8:42:30 PM Ben Dutka

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (19 posts)

Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 9:40:25 PM

This human likes to pay for a well made product, not bits and pieces of something that may or may not come out well later on.

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Thursday, August 02, 2012 @ 3:35:11 PM

I second this whole heartedly. I want a good COMPLETE game for a reasonable price ($60 is very reasonable to me considering the prices it costs to produce games now), and I mean a COMPLETE f***ing game, not a "Here's our "complete" game, but please buy this DLC, and this DLC, and THIS DLC down the road"... I look at the main company putting this type of "research" out and can't help but wonder, just how greedy is EA.... This ranks right up there w/ the "Digital Download will be the only way to play video games in the near future" BS...

When either of these 2 models become common place I'm switching hobbies...

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Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 9:45:28 PM

Well I see a bit of truth in this but at the same time call BS. The 17 billion made in 2011 screams use are wrong, wrong, wrong! It would be one thing if say 51% of that money came from the free-to-play model games but I guarantee that is not the case.

There is a consumer base for FTP games there is no doubting that, however the normal say 60 dollar price point for current gen games isn't crippling the gaming industry either, contrary to what some people might try and say.

Not only that but if this was true, then why do people have a problem with Gamestop selling used games? People are willing to pay for games and not just the FTP kind either. This kind of crap is getting tiresome quick.

Last edited by Rogueagent01 on 7/30/2012 9:49:39 PM

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Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 9:46:15 PM

As a former MMOgamer, freemium just doesn't sit well with me. While it opens up the game to a bigger audience, freemium usually means pay-to-win. And that just sucks.

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Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 10:46:04 PM

Oh, freemium or better known as Pay to Win it's a developer's cash dream.
In extreme cases I have heard of one user who spend 5,000 in a single game. Yep, that much, though most spend around $200 and $500 per game, that's way higher then the regular $60.

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Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 11:54:01 PM

One word : Zynga

It seems that EA wishes to suicide itself much like Zynga.

Seriously, if Freemium is the way ahead, why is the poster child of freemium games having such difficulty?

Oh, and I have to add that I loathe freemium games. They are like selling drugs. You give the consumer just enough to tempt them into more, and keep on doing it until they have a) committed tons of money, and b) tones of time invested, and are thereby hooked by the sense that quitting now would waste all that time and money invested in the game. The freemium model is just like selling drugs, give samples away for free, and sell dime bags on the corner forever. I call BS on the entire concept.

Last edited by TheHighlander on 7/30/2012 11:56:54 PM

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Killa Tequilla
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 3:06:09 AM

I hope the future is Steam. Not freemium.

Last edited by Killa Tequilla on 7/31/2012 3:06:57 AM

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 4:57:43 AM

oh GOD no!
if steam is the future of games then im going onto dells website and cancelling my order for my alienware laptop!
every single time i go to use steam i have issues!
from registering keys saying there invalid, to really slow updates, to account issues, to server relayed issues.
so many times i boot up steam and select a game to play but get a error message saying sorry steams servers are busy at the moment please come back later.
no i wont come back later, i paid good money for my games so i will choose when to play them not you!
not to mention games are still ridcliously expensive on steam!
skyrim steam sale 60 dollars.
EB games not on sale 48!
right, so DD, which is suppose to be cheaper, and has a sale on, is 12 bucks more expensive than EB which is suppose to be THE most expensive place to purchase games!
and does not have a sale.
steam is the reason why PC gaming almost died!

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Thursday, August 02, 2012 @ 6:28:00 PM

You are just an outright liar thats what you are. Skyrim was 33 dollars on sale on steam before. Steam didnt almost kill PC gaming your a complete retard if thats what you think. Steam revived it, and opened the gateway for many many indies devs to flourish.

All of the issues you said you have with steam I am willing to go out on a limb and say your just lying. I have not once in my years of using steam and I have been using it since it was in beta, have I encountered most of those problems. Keys have NEVER been invalid if they are you did something wrong, update speed is 2 mb a is that slow if your internet sucks then its an invalid argument. I have only gotten sorry steams servers are busy a handful of times, and it has always been fixed quickly, or I try again right after and it works.

This proves that you are indeed just someone who complains and dare I say trolls as there is no truth to anything in your post. If it someone is all true, which it can't be because skyrim on sale is not 60 bucks, then you have the worst luck/computer/internet/house on earth.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 3:11:15 AM

How does Freemium work for Single Player games?

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 5:21:48 AM

Let just say for example if Uncharted 4 is free to play, from start to finish, that would be great. For the developer to make money, they will offer costumes for 1 dollar. Now the question is how many will buy the costumes? Will it be more profitable? Let just say that every ps3 owner has Uncharted 4, because it's free. How many bought the costumes? Me, I think i'll buy one or two costumes.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 3:01:59 PM

Never cared for them costumes or DLC and whatnot. So I guess it'll be good for me cause I'll be getting single player games for free ^.^

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 9:14:52 PM

cmon, don't be that cheap, at least buy 1 costume to support Naughty Dog or we will never have a new game from them. it's only a dollar. it's not a rip off like the others. hehe.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 4:53:20 AM

a future option definitely, but theres no way in hell they will replace how we pay for games today!
allot of people are reluctant to spend money on games because there not sure if they will enjoy the game, or get their moneys worth so they steer clear.
but freemium would take care of that issue, and if they like the game then they can choose to pay full price to unlock everything, or pay x dollars to unlock x content.
as ive said a billion times before though the important part about this is choice.
i HATE it when things make me pay for something i wont use.
i never play games online so why should i pay 100 bucks for a game when i only play 50% of it, and someone else pays the same 100 bucks but plays 100% of the game?
freemium will help fix that.
free to play the first x levels, than if you like the game you can pay x dollars to unlock x more levels, or pay x dollars to unlock the whole campaign, or pay x dollars to unlock just the MP, or pay x dollars to unlock everything.
that way everybody wins!
those like me who only play the SP are only paying for what they will use, and they have spare cash left over which they can spend on other games.
even better free entry into games will have people playing games they would never play in the first place because they have to pay.
than those who only play MP, same thing, and those who play everything the same thing again.
its win, win!
benefits the customer because there saving money, and get to try games they otherwise would not.
and it benefits the developer because there getting their product into the hands of allot more people!

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Thursday, August 02, 2012 @ 11:50:27 AM

I like the concept you're onto here. I always download a demo before buying when I have the option. Games that don't offer that can sit on the shelf until I find them in the discount bin.
What you've proposed would change that.
I still prefer having the game on a shelf to admire though. Not going to like the digital only future.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 8:35:04 AM

Freemium is a short sited business model that only works sometimes. Seeing as EA is a short sited company it makes sense they are saying this. Plus they probably know by now that F2P or Freemium games can easily be the most lucrative business model for a game, when you build the game to pray on human psychology which most F2P games do in some way or another.

There are some F2P MMOs that are wildly successful doing this, but they have to do a couple of things right. Get a large free fan base by offering a generous amount of totally free content. If you have a large fan base then the chances of getting people to buy your cash shop stuff goes up. Also if the game is good people will support you, if they think you deserve it.

But after playing EAs battlefield heroes, they definitely don't know how to do the model right. Its a cash grab plain and simple and there are some huge pay to win guns in there.

Sadly I do think the future is close to freemium. I think the cost of entry is going to go down, and then we are going to get bombarded with "optional" DLC which actually isn't that optional but people will end up spending 200$ or more on a game without realizing it.

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Thursday, August 02, 2012 @ 11:57:10 AM

Time too go back to fishing and diving and other activities outside...Im sick of paying for add ons that are already on the disk.

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Thursday, August 02, 2012 @ 12:49:24 PM

Am I the only one old enough to remember Wolfenstien 3D and Doom? Same model. The first 10 levels were shareware, download anywhere for free then you paid for the full game. After 10 levels you HAD to finish it.

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Thursday, August 02, 2012 @ 1:44:46 PM

Maybe people don't want to pay for the same game over and over again? The fact that on the xbox they've made 3 Gears of War games, and are now making another one soon to be coming out. The same with Halo and Mass Effect (Although I did enjoy all 3 ME's). We also have Darksiders 2 coming out soon. Maybe game developers should be making bigger and longer games instead of producing the same game 3 times but with tweaked graphics, an editted story and slight diffrences in gameplay.

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