EA Looking To Charge For "Very Long Game Demos"
Right now, Activision is in many a gamer's doghouse, but if EA pursues this idea, they may not be viewed in a very favorable light, either. But you might like it.
Not surprisingly, EA - like many other major publishers - has already dumped a lot of cash on the growing digital distribution boom and they clearly wish to continue. The huge amount of downloadable content the company has offered already is fairly massive and according to GameSpot, EA plans to push forward with "PDLC" or "Premium" content. Not only will it continue to apply to post-release add-ons but now, they might want it to apply to pre-release content, too. Like demos. In an investor's note, Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter spoke about a recent event in Redwood City, California, where group general manager Nick Earl explained EA's "pre-release PDLC initiative." Essentially, they're talking about "very long demos" of certain games, to be placed on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live services for $10 to $15. And when they say "long," they refer to Battlefield 1943, which of course is a full game by itself. Said Pachter:
"A full-blown packaged game would follow shortly after the release of the PDLC, bearing a full retail price. Mr. Earl believes that the release of the PDLC first limits the risk of completing and marketing the full packaged version, and serves as a low-cost marketing tool."
Battlefield 1943 was a huge success for EA and as of November of last year, they said DICE's solid online multiplayer game had sold around 1.2 million units on both the PS3 and 360. Furthermore, Pachter said that EA CEO John Riccitiello has acknowledged that his company hasn't performed so well during the first years of his tenure, and that a turnaround "was taking longer than he originally expected." Right now, though, he says they're about 2/3 of the way there and 1/3 of the way "towards reaching its goal of transformation into a business that distributes games through 'multiple channels.'" So the question is, would you pay for "really long demos?" Maybe for big games?
3/23/2010 10:55:34 AM Ben Dutka