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EA doing only freemium mobile gaming

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An in app purchase

EA Mobile head Frank Gibeau explains in a new interview that EA had to rebuild their mobile business. While they’re on the right track now, they will need to learn from industry leaders King and Supercell, and they’re making some universal decisions about their mobile gaming.

Speaking to Games Industry, Gibeau explains that EA was number one on feature phones two years ago thanks to the premium business model. however, he said that with smart devices and freemium, they had to rebuild their business. While he thinks that they have been successful in reclaiming their position on mobile, there is still a lot to be done and the market has changed:

If you look at how Asia operates, premium just doesn’t exist as a business model for interactive games, whether it’s on PC or mobile devices. If you look at the opportunity set, if you’re thinking globally, you want to go freemium so you can capture the widest possible audience in Japan, Korea, China, and so on… With premium games, you just don’t get the downloads you do with a free game. It’s better to get as many people into your experience and trying it. If they connect with it, that’s great, then you can carry them for very long periods of time. With premium, given that there are so many free offerings out there, it’s very difficult to break through.

While he acknowledges that Dungeon Keeper was an issue, the reality is that EA will continue to make freemium games on mobile, that it’s the future of mobile gaming. Speaking of the future, he’s looking forward to the new technology in smart phones and tablet, and the cool things that games can do with the increased power.

Personally, I’m not a fan of freemium games. I don’t mind subtle ways for people to have in-app purchases if they’re lazy and don’t want to play the game to death in order to succeed. However, I’d always rather pay a small fee upfront for a mobile game, and know that it will be quality and not bother me about giving money for features or playing some other free game as well. Nothing irritates me more than ads in a mobile game, except for ridiculous micro transactions, of course. My biggest gripe is that these same f2p and freemium models are extending into core gaming – it’s bad enough in mobile gaming, don’t push that stuff into my “real” games.

Last Updated: July 9, 2014

30 Comments

  1. Rince&pop

    July 9, 2014 at 14:38

    Hate this whole business model. Not interested.

    Reply

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      July 9, 2014 at 14:51

      In the immortal words of Peter Moore, “You’re just old and incapable of changing with the times” ๐Ÿ˜›

      Reply

      • Rince&pop

        July 9, 2014 at 14:56

        How, does, he, KNOW?!

        Reply

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          July 9, 2014 at 14:57

          Peter Moore worked for Sega once! He KNOWS EVERYTHING!!

          Reply

          • Rince&pop

            July 9, 2014 at 14:58

            Arghhh!

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          July 9, 2014 at 15:00

          He has facial hair. The universal symbol of knowledge & power.

          Reply

          • Rince&pop

            July 9, 2014 at 15:01

            So what’s your excuse? 0_O

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            July 9, 2014 at 15:05

            Precisely the point I was trying to make.

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            July 9, 2014 at 15:24

            He’s also bald. Research shows that bald or balding men are the best!

          • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

            July 9, 2014 at 15:26

            Whatever makes you sleep better at night ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    July 9, 2014 at 14:39

    EA salivating at those KING/Zynga dollahs. Hopefully, this will lead to their demise.

    Reply

    • Sith JJ

      July 9, 2014 at 14:41

      I’m right there with you. Some EA titles deserve to be with publishers who can do the games justice. But EA can go down the drain now.

      Reply

    • Kensei Seraph

      July 9, 2014 at 14:55

      Think of the games that will be lost for all eternity… yeah, there won’t be much of a change to be honest.

      Reply

      • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

        July 9, 2014 at 15:21

        EA is going down a very destructive path. The Freemium model cannot last forever or at least cannot grow beyond a point because the “casual” gamer market, while fairly large, is exceptionally saturated.

        There are only so many people who are going to fork out more cash for yet another freemium game.

        The “core” gaming market that requires AAA titles are not going to move over to freemium games. Freemium games just don’t have the same quality as what is expected of a AAA game

        Reply

      • Johan du Preez

        July 9, 2014 at 17:48

        You do realize when they go down all the IP’s go on auction ? Imagine when RSI (Cris Roberts) get his hand on the Wing Command, Crusader no Remorse, Strike commander etc IP’s.

        EA going under will be the best thing for gaming in the last 2 decades.

        Reply

  3. Alien Emperor Trevor

    July 9, 2014 at 14:44

    Oh dear, he just gave the game away… so to speak. They’re aiming for the Asian market & don’t care if their Western market is displeased. Good luck with that American company.

    Reply

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      July 9, 2014 at 14:49

      I can just see all the execs sitting at a business luncheon prepared by Don “The Jacket” Mattrick, where some MBA (from a conservative US business think-tank) prepared a powerpoint presentation filled with graphs about the Asian market and all the billions they’ll make by going mobile “Free” to Play.

      Both Microsoft and EA masturbate to Excel graphs and financial forecasts… whereas Sony sits in the back videotapping it all for lulz. Nintendo on the other hand is still high on Colombian coke… Poor Japanese bastard… will you ever get your act together?

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        July 9, 2014 at 14:51

        You know what the worst part of that is? It’s totally believable.

        Reply

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          July 9, 2014 at 15:24

          What’s funny is that you can actually see how they got to this point – with their own culpability seemingly lost on them.

          For instance, EA and others release shitty yearly games (sometimes even broken games or even half-finished titles). Gamers get upset. EA and co do the PR dance, yet release another shitty title with the same issues and problems. Usually, fans of the franchises keep on buying them, however the yearly loss of quality does have an effect. Sales take a yearly dip or in some cases, the sales rarely reach inflated targets (mostly to cover PR and Marketing costs), until some bright spark MBA decides that the real problem isn’t EA’s business practices but rather that core gamers are the problem. THEY DON’T WANT TO EMBRACE THE FUTUURREEE!!!

          Instead of fixing their broken games, they now decide that they’ll rather target casuals however…. as Nintendo and Zynga so beautifully discovered, Casual have no brand loyalty. They will move onto the next crop of grass like a bunch of locust with no care in the world.

          Reply

          • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

            July 9, 2014 at 15:31

            ” Casual have no brand loyalty”

            This. A thousand times this. They don’t see the devs or publishers. They only see a game they may or may not enjoy. The casual gamer doesn’t care about who made the game. As long as it’s fun.

            The market is so saturated that this would lead to reduced profits because everyone goes wherever their current taste leads them.

            I don’t really play casual games but when I do I rarely look at who made it. I couldn’t care less. I go through phases. Sometimes I want infinite runners. Other times I want match games such as Candy Crush. But I never am glued to one genre on mobile gaming.

            They are going to fall and suffer. It’s going to be a sad day when EA, such a powerhouse of gaming of old, falls down, never to rise again

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            July 9, 2014 at 15:42

            That’s big corporate mentality. They spend so much time blasting the “we’re the bestest!” message internally that anything that doesn’t fit it is discarded.

            PREACH IT BROTHER JIM. YOU ARE THE WISEST BANANA.

    • FoxOneZA

      July 9, 2014 at 14:55

      Makes perfect sense since Asia has overtaken the rest of the world as the largest purchaser of mobile apps. Asian’s prefer gaming on the go so much that interest in the PS4 in Japan has taken huge a dip.

      Reply

  4. Kensei Seraph

    July 9, 2014 at 14:53

    http://www.nerfnow.com/comic/image/727

    Yes, today has been very… productive. (No actually it has)

    Reply

  5. Rince&pop

    July 9, 2014 at 14:58

    So let them head off to the east, once all their games have been cracked and sold for 1% of the asking price they may want to come back…

    Reply

  6. Viking Of Science

    July 9, 2014 at 15:03

    I Can See it now: “Want to experience The Full Dungeon Keeper Experience? Please pay $0.99 to link Origin to your facebook account. With this you will experience your friends in your Dungeon…

    ……

    ……experience”

    Reply

    • Kromas

      July 9, 2014 at 15:10

      “…experience your friends in your Dungeon…” seeing as most of my friends are male and I prefer good old fashioned missionary style I can honestly say I have no interest in this. ๐Ÿ˜›

      Reply

  7. Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

    July 9, 2014 at 15:12

    They really are going all out with this “Embrace the new model change” thing. Somewhere something’s going to give. This model is simply not long term sustainable. People at some point are going to start demanding better quality for their money and when they do the entire model will collapse as they’d have to increase prices for better quality and once the prices go up people will stop paying for in-app purchases.

    Reply

  8. Hammersteyn

    July 9, 2014 at 15:25

    Just die already EA

    Reply

  9. MakeItLegal

    July 9, 2014 at 16:08

    Rarther pay upfront and get the whole experience , hate ads in games

    Reply

  10. Wyzak

    July 10, 2014 at 09:27

    Gibeau explains that EA was number one on feature phones two years ago thanks to the premium business model

    And then they switched to freemium. Great job guys! Bonuses all round! Drinks on me!

    Reply

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