Home Gaming Free-to-start and DLC are key EA policies

Free-to-start and DLC are key EA policies

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Dungeon keeper money

EA has made some unpopular decisions that have stuck in the industry. Many still blame them for the ridiculous free-to-play monetization the industry has seen in recent years. Now they have a new free-to-gouge model, although I actually think I like it.

In a post-earning conference call today, EA CEO Andrew Wilson explain that EA has embraced the idea of games-as-a-service for years. However, they recognize that it can be tricky to get people to sign up for service. As a result, they’re looking at other models in various industries.

As we look to the future, we believe a very big part of our player base will expect a free-to-start experience. When we look at film, TV, music, books, very often there is this free trial notion that actually onboards new players, new listeners, new readers, or new viewers into a service. We’re actively looking into how we could offer that type of experience to our players on console and across other platforms.

Okay, so some of you might be getting your torches and pitchforks already. Free-to-start sounds awful, but it’s actually a policy that we’ve been begging to see return. Remember the bad old days of demos? Or when games were easily exchanged so if you hated it after a few hours you can bring it back and try something else? Well, that’s what is sounds like the idea might be behind free-to-start. Some of it will be like the EA Access program on Xbox, but I think we might see more free game time from EA in a bid to get people to fall in love with their games and spend money to play more. This actually sounds… reasonable to me.

The EA earnings are way way up, sending after hours trading for EA stock up over 4%. It isn’t just that EA made more money that’s making investors happy – it’s that the source of that income is part of the buzz-word economy: online/digital revenue. With so much of that money coming from “Extra-content” (read: DLC), of course EA will be sticking with what works for them. It’s not just mobile that’s raking in the cash, it’s all those Ultimate Team packs, extra weapons for Plants vs Zombies and all those extra levels and cosmetic upgrades.

I suppose that we can only blame ourselves – buying all the cool DLC is making them money, which makes them want to release more DLC. At least we should know what we’re getting into with games thanks to the free-to-start idea. Let’s just hope that once we buy in, there aren’t as many (or preferably any) micro-transactions in the full games.

Last Updated: January 28, 2015

52 Comments

  1. Admiral Chief

    January 28, 2015 at 10:37

    *sigh*

    Reply

    • Ghost In The Rift

      January 28, 2015 at 10:38

      Agreed *sigh*

      Reply

  2. Hammersteyn

    January 28, 2015 at 10:38

    bad old days of demos? I must have missed that

    Reply

  3. Lord Chaos

    January 28, 2015 at 10:38

    Something needs to happen. Don’t know what’s worse, the state of gaming or the state of the nation.

    Reply

    • Quo Vadis?

      January 28, 2015 at 10:42

      Looking at something like Eskom only, the answer is obvious. Unfortunately.

      Reply

      • Lord Chaos

        January 28, 2015 at 10:47

        Eskom has returned Error 37

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          January 28, 2015 at 10:48

          All I got was a black screen

          Reply

          • b1nd3r

            January 28, 2015 at 15:56

            I think my screen just left in a black bmw with 4 “alpha” males.

          • Hammersteyn

            January 28, 2015 at 15:57

            lol O_o

    • Skyblue

      January 28, 2015 at 20:00

      Simple enough answer, FUCKED, both of them and we get to pay the tab

      Reply

  4. Ghost In The Rift

    January 28, 2015 at 10:40

    Well shits about to change, its gonna be nothing compared to when VR/AR gets released.:

    Reply

    • Skyblue

      January 28, 2015 at 20:07

      Virtual Rape/Actual Rape ?

      Reply

  5. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    January 28, 2015 at 10:42

    And this is why I don’t buy EA games any more – and when I do get my hands on an EA title, it’s second-hand.

    Incidentally, I got DA:I from BT Games a week ago, and for a brief second I actually thought “you know what EA has redeemed themselves with the new Dragon Age game”… well.. that’s until I went to the MP/co-op and realised it was essentially “pay-to-win”. You could fail at the map with 4 others and slowly build up your cash reserves to buy ONE box, or you could just buy platinum with real cash and get gear.

    Sigh! EA… SIGH!

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      January 28, 2015 at 10:44

      The majority has voted with their wallets. DLC and microtransactions are here to stay.

      Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        January 28, 2015 at 10:45

        A simple truth – The majority are morons (be it in politics, commerce, or games).

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          January 28, 2015 at 10:46

          Especially politics.

          Reply

      • schitsophrenic-toothbrush

        January 28, 2015 at 11:22

        Consoles and computers in general should come out standard with a coin and note slot…stupid in-apps

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          January 28, 2015 at 11:29

          Hahahaha yes!

          Reply

  6. Hammersteyn

    January 28, 2015 at 10:42

    Games as a service is coming. EA will have theirs, so will Ubisoft and the rest. Even Sony has theirs with PS Now(never) Consoles will disappear and we all will need to have smart TVs instead. When this will happen I do not know but lack of servers will spell the end of gaming for us.
    *Fires up NES emulator

    Reply

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      January 28, 2015 at 10:43

      *Fires up DOS emulator – PC MASTER RACE!!

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        January 28, 2015 at 10:45

        DosBox. Gog.com. Planetside 2. I’m coming home!

        Reply

      • HairyEwok

        January 28, 2015 at 11:04

        *Gets DDoS immediately. GG WP.

        Reply

      • Skyblue

        January 28, 2015 at 20:04

        Crusader FTW!!

        Reply

    • Blood Emperor Trevor

      January 28, 2015 at 10:44

      Fuck games-as-a-service.

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        January 28, 2015 at 10:45

        Agreed. Now how do we stop it?

        Reply

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          January 28, 2015 at 10:46

          Sacrifice millennial scum to the Dark Lord?

          Reply

          • Hammersteyn

            January 28, 2015 at 10:48

            Darryn was already sacrificed to Thanos. It angered him even more.

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            January 28, 2015 at 10:48

            One does not simply sacrifice Darryn to Thanos….

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          January 28, 2015 at 10:48

          I doubt it makes any difference, but I’m still sticking with not buying their games. Second-hand for life!

          Reply

          • Hammersteyn

            January 28, 2015 at 10:50

            Agreed

          • Skyblue

            January 28, 2015 at 20:03

            I don’t purchase new games from EA anymore either. I still have a fair amount of EA titles but I generally only purchase them after the prices drop dramatically or from a sale.

        • Blood Emperor Trevor

          January 28, 2015 at 10:49

          Nothing we can do to stop it. But I won’t support it. Don’t like the game, so I won’t play.

          Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        January 28, 2015 at 10:53

        “Fuck it in it’s eye!”

        Reply

      • Lord Chaos

        January 28, 2015 at 10:54

        Ladies of the night?

        Reply

    • Skyblue

      January 28, 2015 at 20:01

      Contra challenge! Bitch!

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        January 29, 2015 at 07:45

        Contra or Super Contra, doesn’t matter. Probably one of the two games Ive finished the most in my life.

        Reply

        • Skyblue

          January 29, 2015 at 08:08

          Now I’m nervous. Those games are still awesome to play.

          Reply

          • Hammersteyn

            January 29, 2015 at 08:09

            LOL gun FTW

          • Skyblue

            January 29, 2015 at 08:14

            Was the first game I purchased for my son’s DS. He must become wise in the ways of the old school gamer.

  7. Blood Emperor Trevor

    January 28, 2015 at 10:44

    Reply

  8. Raptor Rants A Lot:Original #7

    January 28, 2015 at 10:47

    uh huh. No. Bad idea. Just let me buy my game like I used to be able to do.

    Also, that header? Is that like an image depicting what microtransactions are doing to the industry and our wallets?

    ie: the green shards are microtransactions and the chicken is the industry. Which means too much MT’s will cause the industry to eventually collapse.

    Reply

  9. Raptor Rants A Lot:Original #7

    January 28, 2015 at 10:56

    Comparing free-to-start with demos would be great except for one thing.

    Once you buy in, it’s not a once off purchase. That’s the main issue. We sit today with an already exisiting free-to-start model in many games (MMO’s are going “free-2-play”, mobile games have had it for a long time) but the big issue is that the only way to then make money is having a constant stream of cash through microtransactions or “resource boosting with real money”.

    EA won’t give us free-to-start and then allow us to buy the additional DLC etc for a once off purchase. No. Each DLC will be charged seperately (Most likely at premiums) additional content to actually progress through the game faster (Instead of grinding) will be charged. I don’t have high hopes for this idea.

    If they want something like demos then they should do just that. Give us demos!

    Reply

    • Blood Emperor Trevor

      January 28, 2015 at 11:04

      I’ll call it now: If you want access to free-to-start you have to subscribe to EA Vault, or something similar, which isn’t free.

      Reply

      • Lord Chaos

        January 28, 2015 at 11:06

        That’s what worries me.

        Reply

    • Tosh MA

      January 28, 2015 at 12:54

      Actually, the way this sounds to be implimented is the way they currently do: 48 hours or so free time with the full game. If you want more, you buy it. If you know you want the game already, you buy it. DA:I, Sims 4 have both been on this system already.

      Reply

  10. schitsophrenic-toothbrush

    January 28, 2015 at 11:19

    I don’t trust EA…they are sneaky little hobbits.

    Reply

    • Skyblue

      January 28, 2015 at 20:07

      “Hobbitses” fixed ;-p

      Reply

  11. Rock789

    January 28, 2015 at 11:29

    “free-to-gouge”. So we get to gouge their eyes out if we not happy with the game? 😉

    Funnily enough, there’s another definition for gouge in the dictionary – “to overcharge or swindle someone”. Co-incidence? I think not!!

    Reply

  12. Gr8_Balls_o_KFM_Fire

    January 28, 2015 at 17:52

    Vote with your wallets. Don’t support MT. Don’t support DLC.

    Bring back the old days of common sense. Reasonably priced games. Playable games. Challenging games. FULL games. Fun games. Bring back GAMES.

    Reply

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