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EA Considers Service-Based Business Model For Sports Games

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the friend-or-foe-depends-on-price dept.

Businesses 64

Andrew Wilson, head of development for EA Sports, spoke at the Develop 2011 conference about an unusual business plan the company is considering for future games: "[Wilson] raised the subject of Amazon's Whispersync feature, which allows customers to download a digital book for one price and then read it on whichever format they like from PCs to smartphones and Kindle, without having to pay again for each platform. He suggested that eventually EA Sports may well move toward the same model with its own games, even providing all of its titles, from FIFA and Madden to Tiger Woods PGA Tour golf, for one fixed price on multiple platforms – all linked by the same social gaming ecosystem. 'It's about handing over control to the gamer,' he said. 'Ultimately, what we want to get to is this concept where we break down the barriers between the franchises. John Riccitiello, our CEO, says it seems like such a waste – we spend $20-40M making each of these games, but most gamers only ever play one, because the business model is an impediment. So how about we drive toward a model where every gamer can experience everything we make without paying that much more money. You've got to recognize that given the opportunity, the consumer will play and they will bring their friends.'"

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Console Manufacturers (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832922)

Wouldn't this idea be immediately squished by the console manufacturers? I'd imagine they quite like the idea that people are reluctant to drop significant money on several versions of the same game since it more or less provides a nice market lock in. I think it's a good idea, I just get the feeling greed will kill it dead in no time though.

Re:Console Manufacturers (2)

sensationull (889870) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832988)

I'd think Microsoft would be all for this as they are going to great lengths to join up Xbox, Windows Phone 7 and probably Windows 8. A unified ecosystem would be much stronger and more influential. Sony would probably be good for bleading gamers to levels just below fatal though.

Re:Console Manufacturers (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833306)

Actually Sony has been more open to developers updating their games through their own services than Microsoft has. (see: Portal 2)

Re:Console Manufacturers (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836200)

Shouldn't EA games be free or really cheap now, as they provide very little actual 'service'.

Re:Console Manufacturers (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832992)

Rockstar already did something similar with the Rockstar pass for LA Noire - buy the pass and you get all the DLC updates. EA could use a very similar model - buy a pass valid for one year and get all the content releases throughout the year, renew it next year, don't buy the pass and you can still pick and choose the DLC you want. This will succeed or fail on how well supported the titles are with updates and bonus content throughout the year - if it amounts to "pay X just to play for a year" it just won't work - a good percentage of console owners (on 360 or PSN's premium service) are already paying X per year for that.

Re:Console Manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833096)

Well, someone certainly jumped to conclusions based on the headline and didn't even bother to read TFS.

Re:Console Manufacturers (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36834176)

Well I'd say the bitch is the sports nuts are so hooked on their favorite games that EA pretty much has a free pass to do whatever they want on this and the sports guys will still buy. They are probably hoping this will let them get folks to play some of the less popular sports games in the hope of creating another Madden license to print money.

But I used to live next to one of those sports nuts and while a hell of a nice guy the devotion these guys show to their favorite sports is just a little nuts. He had a standing deal with the local GameStop to where they would automatically charge his CC and make sure he had Madden and any NASCAR game delivered on release day for his PS3 and PSP. He simply couldn't stand the thought of not having them on release and honestly EA could just change the rosters to keep them current every year and he would have shelled out the money without a second thought.

Me personally I don't get how having updated stats was worth so much but I can see why EA was willing to pay whatever it took to get the NFL license because I have no doubt Madden makes so much cash they could dive into pools of the stuff like Scrooge McDuck.

Re:Console Manufacturers (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 3 years ago | (#36834912)

I love sports, I currently play in our city football league and our 30 and over basketball league. However, I haven't purchased anything from EA since NCAA Football 2009. I simply don't see enough of a graphical difference to warrant upgrading every year, if the developers could focus on creating a compelling, and fun version of the games and simply charge a small(ish) fee at the beginning and end of each each season to update stats, rosters, and records I think they'd win the penny-pinchers like myself back over.

Re:Console Manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36834520)

Thats not what this article is about. It's about buying Madden12 for the XBOX 360 and instantly owning Madden 12 for the PS3, Wii and every console on the market.

from the article

""[Wilson] raised the subject of Amazon's Whispersync feature, which allows customers to download a digital book for one price and then read it on whichever format they like from PCs to smartphones and Kindle, without having to pay again for each platform. He suggested that eventually EA Sports may well move toward the same model with its own games,"

Re:Console Manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833000)

well, console licenses would need to be paid to everywhere where it's played, unless they make the games html5 shit. which they very well might, with core logic parts residing on their servers. the ultimate drm that would be would be something else than giving control to gamers. giving control to gamers is where you can host your own game servers, fix things in them and keep playing forever.

20-40 million per a stupid port of a fucking golfing game? they're doing something baaaaaaaadly wrong. links 386 etc which were hugely time consuming to make didn't even cost that much, for one platform.

Re:Console Manufacturers (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833060)

20-40 million per a stupid port of a fucking golfing game?

Hey corporate jets are expensive!

Console license not payable on PC or Mac (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837662)

well, console licenses would need to be paid to everywhere where it's played

Not on PC, not on Mac, not on Android, not on Caanoo.

unless they make the games html5 shit. which they very well might, with core logic parts residing on their servers.

HTML5 video games will be 2D (and therefore undesirable to visuals-addicted gamers) until web browsers are upgraded to support WebGL. Or perhaps EA plans to offer them through OnLive.

links 386 etc which were hugely time consuming to make didn't even cost that much, for one platform.

Was it endorsed by PGA Tour? The rights to use professional sport leagues and players under trademark and right of publicity law are expensive.

Re:Console Manufacturers (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833288)

Lock-in is a delicate thing. On the one hand you want to lock-in your own users, but on the other hand you want to unlock your competitors. You're assuming this threatens a console manufacturers lock-in, but it also opens up their opponents and could potentially grab a few new users.

Sometimes it isn't about grabbing a bigger piece of the pie, sometimes it's about making the pie bigger.

Subscription anyone? (3, Interesting)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832924)

Pure marketing spin on this one, what they are really trying to do is roll out a subscription-based service where you pay-to-play. Stop paying your subscription? Sorry, you don't get to play our game anymore.

No thanks EA.

Re:Subscription anyone? (3, Insightful)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832986)

Isn't that effectively the way it is anyway with the Madden and FIFA series? If you want to play the latest "content" (I refuse to call every iteration a different "game"), then you have to pay for it at almost constant intervals. All this will do is increase the "resolution" of the payments. The question to ask is: over a period of (for example) 3 years, how much would playing the latest version cost?

And yeah, they're probably going to push for pay-to-play, and they're not the only ones. Evey company would like a WoW on their hands so they can have a constant stream of revenue rather than "pulses" of cash every time they release a title (accompanied with very expensive advertisement and PR for each one). When that eventually (almost inevitably) happens, then I hope people will vote with their wallets.

Re:Subscription anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833066)

No I don't think that's the same to be honest. If you are strapped for cash and decide not to pay for these new 'iterations', you can still pay the games you already bought. But with pay-to-play, if you stop paying, you stop being able to play entirely..

Re:Subscription anyone? (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833230)

That's what I meant about people voting with their wallets in the case of pay-to-play -- I hope they won't stand for it. But in this case they're not (yet) talking about a continuous stream of cash from the player, just a Steam-like system where you buy the "option" to play the game on multiple platforms, using the same license.

Unfortunately, play-to-use seems inevitable in the entire software market. Right now the in-between cases are called "services" (online backup, for example). OnLive markets its business model as a "service". How long before the OS becomes a "service"?

At least in the gaming market you've got a strong indie sector which doesn't *solely* look at its revenue stream. Also, a one-off game will always be easier to release than maintaining an entire service (in the near-future, anyway). But I never underestimate the greed of corporations. Pay-to-play, IMO, is unavoidable.

Re:Subscription anyone? (1)

Saroful (1364377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36835144)

I think, as long as the price point is reasonable, that this business model could be great for both EA and consumers alike. The model they are describing is more akin to the Netflix model than the WoW model. Essentially, you pay some sort of fee and you have access to ALL of the their games on ANY platform. I haven't purchased any EA Sports games in years because of having to pay $180+ every year just to get the latest content for my 3 sports games of choice. Using this model, I can pick up and play my 3 favorite titles, plus any others if the mood strikes me, and I do not have to worry about paying the yearly EA tax.

Of course, this is all dependent on my original caveat: the price. In my case, the price will have to be low enough to provide some reasonable level of saving, i.e. $10-$12/mo at most. If EA is smart, and of course that's a big "if", they will pick a price point that will attract more casual players.

Side note: If this post is somewhat incoherent and disjointed, it's because I haven't had my coffee yet this morning.

Re:Subscription anyone? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837672)

At least in the gaming market you've got a strong indie sector which doesn't *solely* look at its revenue stream. [...] But I never underestimate the greed of corporations.

Including the corporations who deliberately deny the indie sector the privilege to publish a video game. Bob's Game anyone?

Re:Subscription anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833188)

They have already effectively elimanated the second-hand market on their games. I'm surprised there hasn't been any uproar regarding the fact that when you buy FIFA (Like I do on the PS3), you have to input a code from the manual to play online. All good so far...

Now, if you wanted to sell that game because it's not as good as the year before it, you have an obstacle; the fact that code is a one time code for you're account. The cost of that code? £7.50 the last time I looked. All for the ability to play your game online which is where for some of us, most of the fun is. Even games with token multiplayer like Dead Space 2 have that code on it nowadays.

How many bites of the cherry do they want? One game goes through enough hands, it would have earnt more from multiplayer tokens then the original first hand cost of the game. Where is the outcry?

Re:Subscription anyone? (2)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833342)

That's okay, for EA they kill their servers fast enough that the game will only change hands 1 or 2 times before the multiplayer is dead. ;)

Re:Subscription anyone? (1)

TheRealGrogan (1660825) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836570)

Even games with token multiplayer like Dead Space 2 have that code on it nowadays.

How many bites of the cherry do they want? One game goes through enough hands, it would have earnt more from multiplayer tokens then the original first hand cost of the game. Where is the outcry?

Coincidently, I just got bitten by that with DeadSpace 2 a few weeks ago and it affects the single player game too.

I love those DeadSpace games on my PC, so I bought a used copy of DeadSpace 2 for XBox 360 to bring over to my friend's place. It was $32 or some such, not even close to free. (so there's no "whatdyer expect for $10" factor)

We don't give a rat's ass about multiplayer for that game (I can imagine it would be rather pointless), but this unlock code also affected what items were available in the game (at the Store). I didn't realize that I had all that stuff available on my PC (game bought through Steam), because it was unlocked. So because we didn't have this code (tied to the original purchaser's xbox account, so it couldn't have been given by the seller) we spent a good portion of the game having to scrounge for weapons and ammo until schematics were collected to make them available.

They changed the single player game, because we bought it used. Yes, it does change the game when you don't have stuff. It only succeeded in pissing me off, it didn't get them any money. We just played through the first round like that, to unlock "newgame +" to start off with items available.

I'd like to say I'll never buy another game from those creeps, but EA has their hands in so many pies that it would be difficult to avoid them.

Re:Subscription anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833316)

EA would especially love this, since a lot of people have wised up to the fact that they release Madden every year to collect $60 from everyone, when it's basically just the same game with a roster update.

Re:Subscription anyone? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#36834864)

I don't think it is just the business model. Whenever I heard about software vendors asking people to pay subscriptions, I get suspicious that they are getting tired of working for their money.

Right now, the deal is that EA can release a new Madden game every couple of years, but they have to continually make improvements. I know people who spend tons of time playing Madden, and I've heard them complain, "Oh this year's version kind of sucks. I'm going to stick to last year's version." So they do still need to sell each version, make each version better. Not so with subscription fees.

Re:Subscription anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836052)

You also have to pay an extra subscription to play FIFA '11 online

Re:Subscription anyone? (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 2 years ago | (#36843698)

Hehe I always find it amusing how the magazines and tech sections of the newspapers always hype the latest FIFA as the best bla bla bla, when from the outside
I always geht the feeling that in 4 out of 5 iterations of the series they just change the textures and the names.

Re:Subscription anyone? (4, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833008)

Sports games pretty much already do work that way. For the people who play these, paying $30/year for it to play as long as they keep paying is actually a far better deal then buying the new version every year.

There's some genres of games where a subscription model actually makes a lot of sense. This is one of them.

Re:Subscription anyone? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833082)

Sports games pretty much already do work that way. For the people who play these, paying $30/year for it to play as long as they keep paying is actually a far better deal then buying the new version every year.

Yes, but what's $30/12? $2.50 a month.

Do you really see EA offering their new sports title subscription for $2.50 a month? I don't. In the end, the consumer will probably find themselves paying more per year than they were when they were just buying the titles outright. Plus, they wont be able to resell last year's title since they only paid for a license to play it on lease.

More money and the death of the used games market is (once again) what this is about.

Re:Subscription anyone? (1)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833166)

You can't really resell sports games like they're talking about anyway. Last year I went to go resell Madden and NHL 2010 in August (so it was almost the next season for both leagues) and got like 5 bucks for it. If they're talking all the games on all the platforms, up to $80 per year would be a decent enough deal that I'd take it. Since I normally only buy Madden, this gets EA/Microsoft/ whoever else $20 more bucks a year to split. And the ability to sell me DLC at what I assume to be full price.

Re:Subscription anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36835142)

That's still ~8% discount on your next game which means their subscription needs to be less than the full price of the game each year or it's not worth it IMO.

Edit: lol, the CAPTCHA answer was: income

Re:Subscription anyone? (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833204)

There's some genres of games where a subscription model actually makes a lot of sense. This is one of them.

I agree. I know a lot of people that would rather just buy a subscription to, say, an NCAA Football title, and get updates throughout the year than have to buy a new disc of what is pretty much the exact same game over and over again. They wouldn't even need to make physical discs, honestly, or if they did, they wouldn't have to make many. Most people can just pay their subscription fees and download it straight to their device, and I think a lot of people would adopt that for sports games. Certainly more than most other game genres...

Re:Subscription anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833018)

A monthly fee to have access to their entire game library across multiple platforms and you're acting like they're trying to screw you over?

I assume that you're against Netflix, public libraries and all you can eat buffets as well?

Re:Subscription anyone? (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36834034)

A monthly fee to have access to their entire game library across multiple platforms and you're acting like they're trying to screw you over?

I assume that you're against Netflix, public libraries and all you can eat buffets as well?

You're comparing two different scenarios. In the first, you're talking about paying a monthly fee to access your entire game library across multiple platforms, plus the cost of buying the games in the first place, but the second is about accessing someone else's library for a monthly fee. A monthly fee to Netflix gets me access to their collection and I don't have to pay extra when they add new movies, I don't have to pay a red cent to my local library when they get a new book, and don't have to pay extra when the buffet puts out a new tray. They all make enough money off me without double-dipping.

In a perfect world, I'd like to see this service offered free of charge but I would settle for a one-off fee of about $5, separate from the cost of the game because not everyone would use this service.

Re:Subscription anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833052)

I don't think EA care what *anyone* on slashdot thinks on this issue :-) People who like sports pay a lot of money to enjoy them on subscription TV services, so I don't think $5/10/20 per month for a bang up-to-date nerd-tastic FIFA, Tiger Woods or NBA game is that big a risk, especially if EA are upping the ante on all the competitive, connected elements.

Yuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832930)

I don't want Madden or Tiger Woods servicing me!

Re:Yuck (1)

Ailure (853833) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833002)

I heard that Tiger Woods is a great swinger!

Better Idea (1)

senorpoco (1396603) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833034)

How about making Madden games available on PC again

PC hardware compatibility and local multiplayer (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837712)

I imagine that if EA declined to make PC ports, it was due to disappointing sales that were not enough to outweigh the headache of making sure games are compatible with all variants of both homework-and-Facebook PCs (old Intel CPU, Intel graphics) and gaming PCs (newer CPU, AMD or NVIDIA GPU). Part of the problem might be that EA Sports games are intended to be enjoyed by multiple players in a single living room, and I've been told (citations available) that not enough people have a PC connected to their TV.

Are you sure it's not the price? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833090)

I seem to recall another software house doing some experimentation on price and finding that the $60 price point is pretty far from the revenue minimax point....

If most people only play your game once, then that is indication that the phrase, "fool me once..." is not working out in your favor...

Such a shame... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36833102)

After a year of being 'the good guys' in comparison to Activision, looks like EA are going back to their old ways.

Square Enix did this with FFXI (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833138)

FFXI is platform independent: once you have your codes linked to an account, you can use that same account on any platform that XI will run on at a time. That facilitated people shifting between PS2 to Xbox to PC without ever losing their characters, and also means you can pay $20 for a brand new set of codes and borrow someone else's used installation disks for the older version (very critical for PS2, where a "new" set of codes for the 9 year old game will cost $150 off eBay.) Most PC folks eventually bought another modern version of the game to avoid going through 12 hours of patches every time we installed or re installed, but that was OUR decision to give SE the extra month, and we could always give away the spare codes to a friend.

Nice.. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833144)

From the article:

John Riccitiello, our CEO, says it seems like such a waste â" we spend $20-40M making each of these games, but most gamers only ever play one, because the business model is an impediment. So how about we drive toward a model where every gamer can experience everything we make without paying that much more money.

These pieces of shit are so transparent it's not funny.

Most people will still only play on one platform, but they'll have to pay $100 instead of $60 because they'll now be part of some "social games ecosystem".

In other words, all this pretty language is about how they want to raise prices.

Re:Nice.. (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833224)

They're talking about letting you play all their games (at least all of EA Sports) for a subscription price, like Netflix does for movies. That doesn't sound like a bad deal to me, depending on price. If it was $10 month with all the benefits of online play on every platform, I'd buy it.

Re:Nice.. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837176)

They're talking about letting you play all their games (at least all of EA Sports) for a subscription price, like Netflix does for movies

That's what the summary says, and it seems to be suggested by a guy who's paraphrasing another guy, but if you read the entirety of the article that doesn't seem to be what they're saying. They don't compare this plan to Netflix, they compare it to "Amazon's Whispersync feature, which allows customers to download a digital book for one price and then read it on whichever format they like from PCs to smartphones and Kindle, without having to pay again for each platform".

That doesn't sound like Netflix at all. It sounds like you pay for FIFA and get to play FIFA on any platform.

Plus, for them to make ALL of their games available for one price, that would have to be a pretty hefty price, in fact out of the range of most gamers, especially if these games are going to cost $20-40M each to make.

$20 million to $40 million for games (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833156)

Strange. Games cost 100 times more to make than 20 years ago, yet they are not 100 times as fun to play .....

Re:$20 million to $40 million for games (1)

Shillo (64681) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833458)

Well, EA games cost 100 times more.

Games that were relatively cheap to make and are (in my subjective opinion) incredibly entertaining are not hard to find. Recent examples, off the top of my head: Terraria, Star Ruler, Chime, Eufloria, Recettear.

Re:$20 million to $40 million for games (1)

Man Eating Duck (534479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36835264)

Games that were relatively cheap to make and are (in my subjective opinion) incredibly entertaining are not hard to find. Recent examples, off the top of my head: Terraria, Star Ruler, Chime, Eufloria, Recettear.

Thanks! I can add Aquaria, Braid, Osmos, Penumbra, Gish, and Trine to that list. I play quite a lot of games in a year, but I guess that between indie games and games from a couple of years ago I spend no more than about $120 on games every year.

On a side note, can anyone recommend good indie/open source single-player FPSs which are not of the botmatch variety?

Re:$20 million to $40 million for games (1)

xhrit (915936) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837132)

I have been playing Global Agenda ever since it went f2p a few months ago and I am enjoying it quite a bit.

It is not first person, open source, or single player, but it is a small indy online 3rd person shooter rpg with some pretty solid solo and co-op content. It plays a lot like Tribes, TF2 and Enemy Territory, but there is a huge open world zone with mmo style quests and a bunch of instances that involve blasting 100s of robots into scrap with a plethora of sci fi weapons. The missions get pretty insane; at times its like some 3d bullet hell shmup with walls of fire flying in both directions and ragdoll robot parts bouncing around. It does have the typical online shooter pvp too, but they are variations on team games, like ctf and control. Visually it it is like a cross between Warhammer 40k, Star Wars, and Tron, with power armor, chain swords and glowing holographic overlays, and it is set in a post apocalyptic totalitarian police state ruled by ruthless cyborg clones.

It is free to download, and free to play, you can get it on steam, and if you do like it upgrading to an 'elite' account to get bonus features only costs 12$...

^^

Re:$20 million to $40 million for games (1)

phearless (2040630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833966)

The games might be more fun if more of the $20-40M went to the people who actually design and make the games.

The bigger games have circa 100 worker bees for 6 months, at least some of whom are contract freelancers or near/offshore (i.e., not all that well-paid), plus a few hot shots, so that's, say, $4-5M per game. Add another $1M to house and equip said workers, that's $5-6M, considerably less than EA claims to spend on each game (my estimate is rough, but not a whole order of magnitude wrong, methinks).

It's quite misleading of Mr. Riccitiello, therefore, to claim that EA spends $20-40M making each game. The truth is likely considerably less. Assuming he's not outright exaggerating, the lion's share of the $20-40M must be going to league/celebrity/etc. licensing, promotion/advertising and executive salaries, and to balance failures and mistakes; perhaps, he's including some of the debt incurred when acquiring (aka, "crushing") smaller game studios.

IMHO, Riccitiello is just trying to justify charging $30-60 retail per year on franchises that gross up to $100M a year, but cost less than $10M to make.

Re:$20 million to $40 million for games (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 2 years ago | (#36843702)

Actually the EA games of the 80s were way more fun than the streamlined shit they put out nowadays.
Can anyone remember the time when EA called itself Electronic Arts and they put out titles like Pinpall construction set,
seven cities of gold, Mule etc...
EA back then was like whatever title they put out you can buy it without any reviews.

For sports games, OK, but... (1)

suzerain (245705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833296)

I actually think this kind of model makes sense for sports games, which release new content yearly. The problem is, I can already see the game companies extending this to other genres where it doesn't make as much sense.

Re:For sports games, OK, but... (1)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36835148)

I actually think this kind of model makes sense

To you perhaps. Some of us just want to play a decent sports game and would be upset if their game stopped working once the subscription ran out.

Subscription for any "game" makes no sense at all to me.

Re:For sports games, OK, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36835878)

It doesn't have to make sense to you, it has to make sense to enough people to be profitable. WoW has already proven that this is possible, and for sports games that many people re-buy every year anyways, it's probably pretty likely.

Roster change 201X (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833512)

Even though I never played sports games I knew a lot of people in college who did. They all complained that it was just a big racket since it was just roster change 20xx. Granted every few years there would be AI or graphics updates, but it was mostly just changes in percentages, stats, and rosters.

They need to have the PC ver come back and MS (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833742)

I hope that MS says if you do this then YOU MUST MAKE A PC / Windows ver of the game.

...huh? (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36834586)

"It's about handing over control to the gamer"

Funny, most of the market seems to be heading in the opposite direction.
If EA is serious about this, I'll start buying their games they do this with just to make a point.

Re:...huh? (1)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36835164)

"It's about handing over control to the gamer"

If this is actually true then the game would be modable, roster changes etc would then be provided by the community. This is just newspeak.

Re:...huh? (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36835388)

I still prefer them at least /trying/ to act like they care over capcom's recent "fuck you customer" attitude.

EA = Monopoly (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 3 years ago | (#36834680)

EA is better off putting out roster updates. They practically own a monopoly on sports games (particularly the Madden series), and whenever they put out a new "feature", it's usually more-or-less something that benefits them and hurts the consumer. I'm sick of buying half a game, and EA is one of the biggest offenders IMO.

whispersync vs open format (1)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 3 years ago | (#36835014)

How about amazon provide ebooks in a format that works already on many more devices, then they wouldn't need to come up with a name for some technology that circumvents a barrier they themselves created?

This may be a really good thing. (1)

harl (84412) | more than 3 years ago | (#36835078)

I don't believe I'm going to say this about EA but This can be win win if done right.

Say the subscription is $10 a month. That's the same as buying two games a year. Less actually if you include tax at retail. If you play 2 or more games you break even. If you play 3 or more you come out ahead.

That's great for the player but how does it help EA?

Opponents. It's all about multiplayer. There's an old add for GEnie that was perfect and I will always remember. It had a picture of a CPU and a crazy looking gamer person. The caption under the CPU was "This opponent is programmed to beat you." The caption under the gamer was "This opponent wants to tear your heart out." Computers do not make good opponents. They're boring. Beating them is simply an algorithm. After the learning curve they never surprise you. They rely on efficiency, perfect timing, and perfect situational awareness.

With a human you get innovation. You have moments where you are genuinely surprised by something that happens. It's on the whole a richer more engaging experience.

By working the subscription they get the football people to try hockey in the off season thus exposing people to new games and providing more opponents to the players of those games.

It probably wont be nearly so easy (1)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836244)

It sounds very good for EA to be able to sell a game once and have the user able to play it on any platform. But in order to sell a game on any platforms, the platform owner tends to demand a price. There is no issue if the platform is PC or Mac or Linux. But Apple demands 30% of all iTunes store sales. There are licensing fee's to be paid for each console (Wii, Xbox360, PS3, 3DS, the PSP), the cost of which I am not sure of. Even if each platform holder was able to get its rights fees for the game, how the hell do they split it?

I also do not see Sony being all that willing to go along with a plan that can let their own users easily migrate to the Xbox.

I think that the best that they will really manage will be to allow the user to get the Console + PC version.

END COMMUNICATION
.

Next step: replacing the leagues (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836290)

Fantasy football is popular, the graphics for the sports games aren't all that bad, and the NFL is on strike. If the strike doesn't settle, EA might just broadcast their own games. They'd probably be better than the exhibition games anyway.

did this bit disturb anbody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836752)

"Amazon's Whispersync feature, which allows customers to download a digital book for one price and then read it on whichever format they like from PCs to smartphones and Kindle, without having to pay again for each platform."

That's some sort of selling point? A feature? That used to be called *copying a bloody file*, and could be done between ANY two machines of any type. That sort of copying is the *default thing*, not some new feature they developed.

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