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EA Building Microtransactions Into All of Its Future Games

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the do-not-want dept.

Businesses 303

An anonymous reader writes "Develop reports on comments from Blake Jorgensen, Electronic Arts' Chief Financial Officer, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference. As you may have guessed from the name of the conference, the business aspect of EA was the topic. Jorgensen said, 'The next and much bigger piece [of the business] is microtransactions within games. ... We're building into all of our games the ability to pay for things along the way, either to get to a higher level to buy a new character, to buy a truck, a gun, whatever it might be, and consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business.' This is particularly distressing given EA's recent implementation of microtransations in Dead Space 3, where you can spend money to improve your weaponry."

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And in a nod to Xzibit (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029913)

They will soon be building microtransactions into their microtransactions, so you can pay money while you're paying money.

Microtransactions that modify gameplay is bad (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029933)

Any time you can buy your way to victory is a quick way to lose any hardcore fan base, and most likely the audience that will keep playing your game after release-hype

Where are you going to go? (0)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029973)

If you like big budget titles? Activision's just going to do the same thing you know. Heck, Blizzard already does. I remember watching the 40k players complain about the massive price increases from the last year, but they kept right on buying...

Re:Where are you going to go? (2, Informative)

murdocj (543661) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030037)

Blizzard does not do this. The stuff you buy from Blizzard is cosmetic, it doesn't affect gameplay.

Re:Where are you going to go? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030121)

The stuff you buy from Blizzard is cosmetic, it doesn't affect gameplay.

I guess you haven't played Diablo 3.

Re:Where are you going to go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030245)

You are not buying things from Blizzard, you are buying things from other players and Blizzard get's a cut of the action.

Re:Where are you going to go? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030407)

You are not buying things from Blizzard, you are buying things from other players and Blizzard get's a cut of the action.

You are not buying things from other players, you are buying things from Blizzard and they give the players a cut of the action so someone plays their shitty game.

Re:Where are you going to go? (-1, Flamebait)

sheetsda (230887) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030545)

You are not buying things from Blizzard

You're fooling yourself. Blizzard is a publicly traded company. It is under no obligation to provide you with any more of a game experience beyond what is necessary to increase its share holders bottom line.

Until you can tie an item back to a players name (not character name - Blizzard holds the keys to that too) there is zero accountability. Bits in a database are cheap for Blizzard to flip.

Low risk, high reward, and really simple math.

Re:Where are you going to go? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030199)

See the second part [penny-arcade.com] of this article as to how Blizzard chased away a lot of their old D2 fanbase from Diablo 3. Note that although the real money auction house transactions are between players, Blizzard does take a significant cut.

Re:Where are you going to go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030337)

Not in Diablo III, you can buy the Codpiece of Everlasting Stamina from the realmoney auction house and drastically affect gameplay.

Re:Where are you going to go? (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030363)

Nah, instead they just force you to play online even in their so-called "singleplayer" mode.

Re:Where are you going to go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030665)

why does that matter? you don't HAVE to buy it. the items for sale in dead space were nothing more than regular powerups you could otherwise obtain in the game by putting the time into it (playing through multiple times, etc). so you can just ignore the shop if you want and play dead space exactly the same as always.

Re:Microtransactions that modify gameplay is bad (1, Interesting)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030173)

Why is it bad? Is this another one of those things where everyone assumes it's a competitive multiplayer shootemup and you're worried about not keeping up? The issue in single players is irrelevant unless the base game without microtransactions is not fun.

Re:Microtransactions that modify gameplay is bad (5, Insightful)

sesshomaru (173381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030475)

Game Tester: Wow, you know the single player mode in this game is a lot of fun even without having made even a single microtransaction.

EA Executive: Programmer, make it not fun unless the player pays for microtransactions.

Programmer: By your command.

Re:Microtransactions that modify gameplay is bad (5, Insightful)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030615)

Here's why it's bad:

They're trying to maximize revenue from every game, which on the surface seems like a good thing for them as a company. Unfortunately it's incredibly shortsighted.

Given these assumptions
  - People only have so much money to spend on entertainment.
  - Given finite resources, if you spend more money on one title you have less to spend on another.

There are two real possibilities that I see

1) In a market with little/no competition where gamers spend their money in fewer games because they are concentrating their resources on the games they play most. This means that there will be fewer titles produced because fewer will succeed - the blockbusters will dominate. Fewer games = bored gamers or danger of a massive investment in a blockbuster flopping (see Too Human, Kingdoms of Amulur, etc)

2) In a market with lots of competition they will make themselves less relevant. Smaller publishers do and will offer better deals on games that are just as entertaining. The big publishers are really backing themselves into a corner by rehashing the same game over and over.

3) The free to play trap. Certain games do very well with offering a solid game with optional purchases, but then greedy companies like EA and Microsoft twist that to offer as little as possible to get a person interested and then try to gouge them on "optional" purchases. So called micro transactions running as high as $20 when full retail games can be purchased for less.

By doing any one of these things they alienate their customers, shrink their market (not to be confused with their revenue), and the end result is fewer people playing fewer games. This has already happened to the movie industry where prices are too high to bother, sequels dominate, big budget movies are the name of the game and there are fewer and fewer every year. End result: The demise of the rental industry, fewer people in theatres, and rampant piracy.

Study after study has shown: the more people do something, the more they talk about it with their social circles, the more people become involved. While you may not get as much out of each person, by keeping prices as accessible as possible and a diverse product line you safeguard against major losses and increase the chances of major successes.

Re:Microtransactions that modify gameplay is bad (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030635)

Go read any of the ten page manifestos Valve has written on the subject. Or google this. Or talk to anyone who played TF2 before 2010.

Re:Microtransactions that modify gameplay is bad (2, Interesting)

DrEldarion (114072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030313)

Why? I can see how this would be disastrous in multiplayer, but in single player, being able to buy things to avoid having to grind for them isn't bad, assuming:

1) The cost is reasonable.
2) They don't screw with the game mechanics to make people more likely to want to purchase things.
3) The same content can be unlocked with effort/talent rather than money.

I can think of several games (JRPGs are notoriously bad with this) where to get a certain item or to get to a certain boss, the process was basically "spend 10 hours doing mindless tasks". Currently, there are two choices: don't see the content, or spend valuable time on meaningless tasks unlocking it. Microtransactions provide a third choice.

Again, I want to reiterate that this should always be OPTIONAL, and that the mechanics of the game shouldn't be changed to force people into it. Traditional games should not be turned into Zynga abusefests.

Re:Microtransactions that modify gameplay is bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030651)

The problem is that even if it's only the option of paying for better equipment the the people who aren't paying will feel like they are using an inferior product that they still payed AAA pricing for.

Games so bad you will pay cash not to play them. (5, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030709)

You just described how people can pay to overcome crappy game design. Letting people pay to skip part of your game is openly acknowledging that your game is so crappy that people will literally pay to not play it. Even if that is just part of your game, that isn't a good thing.

Re:Microtransactions that modify gameplay is bad (2)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030389)

But it's the only way spoiled rich kids can compete.

Re:Microtransactions that modify gameplay is bad (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030531)

You mean like how people stopped playing Battlefield when people started buying cheats?

Re:Microtransactions that modify gameplay is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030575)

EA doesn't have "hardcore fan base" to lose, it's been all-casuals for a long long time.

Re:Microtransactions that modify gameplay is bad (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030659)

That's not the problem. The problem is simple: Microtransactions give the game designer a monetary incentive to make the game grindy and unfun, with paid keys that unlock the grind. This is very clear in most modern games as the biggest selling items are XP boost items. Without them it can take 2 to 4 times as long to advance. What exactly is the publisher selling when they sell XP boost items?

Re:Microtransactions that modify gameplay is bad (4, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030717)

They are telling you that their game is so crappy that you will pay them cash to not play it.

Re:Microtransactions that modify gameplay is bad (5, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030677)

Buying your way to victory very often isn't the case. Take DOTA 2, for example. It's riddled with microtransactions for the F2P title. They don't actually *do* anything. it's still kind of gross, though. Not so much in a F2P game as in everything else, though. Nothing like having a giant "BUY DLC HERE!" or "YOU CAN GET MORE GOLD TO BUY WEAPONS IF YOU PAY REAL MONEY!" buttons in the middle of the game you paid $65 for.

Video games are, increasingly, becoming a demonstration of what happens when a form of art and creativity is taken over completely and absolutely by business. Buy guys who don't refer to things as "games" or "movies" but as "intellectual property". That isn't to say there's anything wrong with treating it like a business, but it's a business whose product is compelling creative content and unique experiences for their customers. Instead, they're finding ways to simultaneously devalue the experience while putting a value on every single thing. It's gross.

And.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029939)

All their games will be free now right?

Re:And.. (5, Interesting)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030113)

Course not.

Oh and in 6 months time they will add advertising to their games as well.
No the retail price won't change with that either.

Re:And.. (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030539)

Actually I like the way ads are added ingame to titles like Battlefield 2142 with the real billboards and posters.

Re:And.. (4, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030649)

Oh that must mean its a free easily downloadable game then......huh no it isnt.

You are paying to see ads. Its supposed to be the other way around.

Re:And.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030683)

They are for me.

*cough*

RIP (5, Insightful)

zlives (2009072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029943)

Alas, poor EA! we knew thee well

Re:RIP (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030013)

Rot In Pieces.

EA are bastards, and I for one, will not miss then if they die.

Re:RIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030141)

Alas, poor EA! we knew thee well

Yeah, yeah, we've been hearing that "Rest In Peace [INSERT TRIPLE-A DEVELOPER HERE]" shtick for years now, including for EA repeatedly. Just give it up and accept that you're no longer a part of the lucrative video game market you once were when you were a kid. It'll save you all sorts of disappointment.

Re:RIP (5, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030367)

Just give it up and accept that you're no longer a part of the lucrative video game market you once were when you were a kid.

Despite the fact that I now have a disposable income? When I was a kid I had to beg for game cartridges, and I might have, if I was lucky, gotten one for Xmas and one on my birthday. For the PC I generally only got them from the bargain bin, or used from places like EB (before they were bought by Gamestop). I remember saving like hell for Blizzard and Interplay titles, then beg the remainder from my parents.

Now I might buy a $60 game a month (I generally don't, since there isn't that many good games coming out each month), it isn't that big of a deal. I don't even want to know what I spend on cheap games at GoG and Steam. I can spend money now, I couldn't as a kid. I don't have as much time for bullshit, but I have more money to reward good developers and publishers with. I'm not alone in this, most of the people I know in my age group still play games, tons of them, and now have money. Further, they control the purchases of their children now.

I'd say I'm still very much part of the market.

Re:RIP (1)

Elbereth (58257) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030375)

EA started to suck the minute that Trip Hawkins left.

$60 for the game (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029945)

$5 to unlock the start menu

This is replacing cheat codes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029951)

This is replacing cheat codes in every game. Paid cheat codes. And eliminating the old market for "selling your character" on E-Bay by cutting out the middleman and directly funding the game company.

Class system in games (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029959)

Pretty soon you will be able to tell if a person is rich by the gun they have in a game. The poor will walk around with pistole's the rich will drive tanks.

Re:Class system in games (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030027)

so its a reality sim?

Re:Class system in games (4, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030297)

so its a reality sim?

No. In a reality the poor drive around in tanks at the direction of the rich who are too busy playing with pistols at an exclusive game reserve.

Re:Class system in games (1)

Kenja (541830) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030697)

The difference between this and a class system is I can just say to hell with them and play something else. Not that EA isn't already on my "do not buy" list.

Including retail games? (5, Interesting)

Lisias (447563) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029969)

As long you you didn't pay for the "retail" version (a.k.a. DVD / Blueray delivered ones), I don't see a problem. The developers has to be paid somehow, and if some people wants to pay for their games this way, no problem.

But if I pay the full retail price, I expect to be able to enjoy the game in full experience. Paying twice for the privilege of playing an already paid game is not an option for me. It shouldn't even be allowed, at first place.

Re:Including retail games? (4, Insightful)

xevioso (598654) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029991)

The problem with this is that it undermines the community aspect of games. SimCity 4 has 10 years worth of community-built content, all built for free. It's amazing, truly.

But SimCity 5 most likely will not have this sort of thing, seeing as how you must be online the entire time. What developer wants to make the Empire State Building with their own spare time if EA is going to put it on their store and sell it as a micro-transaction?

Re:Including retail games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030123)

More to the point, why would EA let the community develop and share their own Empire State Building, when EA could sell it to them each for $6.99 a pop?

Re:Including retail games? (5, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030349)

More likely, EA would let community developers create an Empire State Building, then sell it via EA's microtransaction site for $6.99, with EA taking a $2 cut.

Then, with huge records showing what items sell best, EA can create their own version of the Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building and Lolcat Statue, etc., ban the third-party "copies" from the marketplace, and take all the money then on for themselves for those items, all while letting the community developers make pennies on the rarer stuff to keep the "marketplace thriving".

Re:Including retail games? (4, Informative)

Lemming42 (931274) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030543)

The answer to your rhetorical question is "because EA gives you a cut of the sales".

Just look at Valve's current efforts with "Steam Workshop", where the community is allowed to build items for their more popular titles.

They recently disclosed that at least one of the people who contributes content has already made over $500,000 from sales of their items.

Re:Including retail games? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030593)

Same with the Battlefield franchise. No more user created mods or maps. The game is the worse for it.

I got browbeaten by my platoon into buying 'premium' in BF3. Have been disappointed, and will be uninstalling origin in the not too distant future. I certainly won't be buying BF4.

There are so many more indy games to play now, so it is not as if we don't have choice.

Re:Including retail games? (1, Interesting)

yoshi_mon (172895) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030329)

As long you you didn't pay for the "retail" version (a.k.a. DVD / Blueray delivered ones), I don't see a problem. The developers has to be paid somehow, and if some people wants to pay for their games this way, no problem.

So you are against the First-sale Doctrine. [wikipedia.org] Ok. That is a common thing these days from people who don't fully understand and or have a much more right wing view of copyright.

I assume you are looking to repeal that also so that books, movies, and all the other things that it covers are changed as well?

Re:Including retail games? (4, Interesting)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030449)

As long you you didn't pay for the "retail" version (a.k.a. DVD / Blueray delivered ones), I don't see a problem. The developers has to be paid somehow, and if some people wants to pay for their games this way, no problem.

So you are against the First-sale Doctrine. [wikipedia.org] Ok. That is a common thing these days from people who don't fully understand and or have a much more right wing view of copyright.

I assume you are looking to repeal that also so that books, movies, and all the other things that it covers are changed as well?

I don't know about the gp, but I prefer to pay full price for my software and have it all work. If I pay $60 for a title, I had better not have to buy anything extra to get 100% or to be competitive (if it is online). If someone wants the "free" version of the game, and then has to buy $100 worth of stuff, $1 at a time to play the whole game, that is fine with me. The Banks have managed to do this with "Free checking", where you actually pay more per month than if you bought the next higher level of checking (although why we have to pay someone to earn interest on my money I still can't figure out). But what I simply won't stand for is when I pay top dollar for a title and then have to pay extra just to have basic functionality. Case in Point: Quickbooks. You pay full price for the software, and then they want to charge you extra for payroll services, which were included in the cost in previous versions. They won't let you print W-2s without paying extra. I could go on and on.

Re:Including retail games? (2)

sesshomaru (173381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030533)

Market Research Guy: Wow, we are making a lot of money on these free, microtransaction oriented games.

EA Executive: Programmer, add microtransactions to our premium $60 retail games. Don't let the players see the best parts of the games unless they pay.

Programmer: By your command.

Micropayment logistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029975)

Fine. Charge me micropayments I consent to. Concatenate them monthly or quarterly based on volume. >$15, then bill. Less than that defer to the next cycle or let me opt to prepay with a credit balance. I don't want transaction charges to approximate actual revenues.

JJ

The future of gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029985)

If this is the future of gaming I'll probably retire. I tried Tapped Out (a Simpsons city building type of game) for the Android, and to have a "complete" building set you'd have to spend something like $100 for what's very simplistic gameplay.

Facebook Gold Account (5, Funny)

cosm (1072588) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029987)

You must be a Battlefield 3 Premium Player to see this comment.

doubtful that consumers are enjoying it (2)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029999)

Consumers might be "tolerating" it, and many of them might be suckers who're going to buy this stuff, but I doubt there are really many gamers "enjoying and embracing" it.

Didn't they use to call this.... (2)

MasseKid (1294554) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030015)

Cheat codes? Or you went and downloaded a "trainer"? Seriously, what the hell is this crap where I don't own the game I bought? You want to run a freemium game? Great! I'll happily support the developers for that business model. I will not however buy "half" of a game.

Easy for me (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030081)

I refuse to play games with microtrasactions. Erased my favorite game that I had paid for from my phone when the develop implemented them. This will make decisions in the future easier, EA logo = Bad.

Planetside 2 (3, Interesting)

StormyWeather (543593) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030099)

I personally like how ps2 does this. Weapons can be purchased or cert points can be used. Most default guns are great with some certs put into them, but the other guns are more situational sidegrades. I played a month before spending a dime and didnt feel abused, now I subscribe because I decided I enjoy the game and decided I want to support it. The developers are highly accessible yet firm on decisions. I have seen a few plqyer ideas directly impact the development course of action.

Now, microtransactions in a full retail game? Fuck that. I wont buy it even to give it a chance.

Re:Planetside 2 (2)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030143)

Ya but sony hasn't really figured out the Micro part of the microtransactions. The only reason I bought anything in that game was because of triple SC day and then spent it on Packs, and daily sales. Doing that stuff was pretty cheap but otherwise a gun costs 7 dollars and you can only buy cash in 5 dollar increments. It's stupid and counter productive if you ask me.

Re:Planetside 2 (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030483)

I "purchased" a Red Dead Redemption DLC when it became free. I already paid for the game. If they want to make extra content available, that is fine, but I don't see why I should have to pay for it. Fortunately, RDR did not require you to buy any DLC to complete the game, it was all just extra missions and stuff. If the DLC provided enough extra entertainment value it might be worth it, but some of the DLC was about 1/4 the cost of the game or more. I doubt that it is really worth buying another whole 1/4 of the games price. Maybe if they had enough new missions to where it extended your playability time by 25%, but I doubt it.

Re:Planetside 2 (4, Interesting)

Omestes (471991) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030501)

Weapons can be purchased or cert points can be used.

For a RIDICULOUS amount of cert points. I still haven't really saved up enough certs to fully arm a character, much less upgrade my vehicles. You don't have to spend real money, but if you want to be competitive in under 6 months, you need to. That said, the default weapons aren't bad, and are generally pretty usable. Though if you're a VS Infiltrator you're really going to need a bolt action rifle, and upgrading AA in Max's is pretty much mandatory. I did play several months from launch, and didn't really feel the need to spend real money until I started to get serious about it.

Now, microtransactions in a full retail game? Fuck that. I wont buy it even to give it a chance.

Agreed. The only one I don't mind is Guild Wars 2, since microtransactions are covering server costs and their constant content updates, and don't increase power at all. I've thrown Arenanet a few bucks just because I want to support them, since I like what they are doing, and want them to keep doing it. In GW2, its optional, which is the most important thing for any game with microtransactions. The second I feel like I have to buy something, or the second I get out-competed by someone for anything other than skill, I quit.

I generally give money to F2P games I like, and don't play the ones that try to force it one me.

I'm really sad about TFA, since I've been trying to care about SimCity 5. Always on doesn't bug me as much as it does some, but the fact that they are going to make it like The Sims... that is probably a deal breaker. If ever a game had an annoying business model, it is The Sims.

Damn you Maxis. You were one of the best studios, and now you're pretty much dead.

Re:Planetside 2 (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030689)

Blacklight: Retribution has the perfect F2P model. All items can be rented pretty cheap (1 match of in game currency), and it usually takes 5 hours to get an unlock paid for (besides back pack items that take forever). The game is super fun to play, and with the rental system, it stays away from pay 2 win.

Re:Planetside 2 (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030715)

Forgot to add: The only things you can't get with in game money are custom camos and certain taunts.

Re:Planetside 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030513)

I have declared you a foe. YOU are part of the problem by contributing to this awful business model. You should feel much shame, but I doubt you do. Your transgressions harm us all.

Or, another way to look at it... (3, Interesting)

klingers48 (968406) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030115)

"Moving forward we will balance and tune all our releases towards deliberately-engineered artificial resource scarcity. This will in turn incentivise you opening your wallet to get your game back towards a playable state.

"Please form an orderly queue at the money pit."

Pet Rock & Carbon Credits (1)

CncRobot (2849261) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030131)

I often feel stupid when I hear about the dumb things people sell and my initial reaction is "that has got to be so stupid no one would buy it". Yet over and over again I am proven wrong. Pet rocks are nearly the ultimate of this, along with the green painted ones that were Kryptonite. That was until carbon offset cards were first sold and I was trying to figure out what you were buying with them. As bad of an idea as this is, I already know it will work like gangbusters even when I don't participate.

One day I too will come up with something so stupid and easy to make that everyone will rush out to buy. The only problem is I will think its so dumb I won't bother doing it.

Congratulations EA.

Re:Pet Rock & Carbon Credits (1)

penix1 (722987) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030301)

It is simply what all software companies want. A subscription based platform where they can nickle and dime you to death. And you know what? It works. Just look at the thousands of apps for phones that do just that with recurring charges. I have a crap ton of apps on my Nokia (yeah, I know but it works for what I need it to do) that are subscription based. Worse, they are considered a part of the system and cannot be removed. So yeah, a sucker and his money are soon parted.

Or, to put it another way: (3, Insightful)

ductonius (705942) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030151)

EA Effectively Discouraging Me from Playing All of Its Future Games

Re:Or, to put it another way: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030281)

For starters, if you weren't discouraged from buying EA games, I have no idea what will discourage you.

Further on, if it does discourage you, you are not their targetted market, EAs targetted market has for a long time been suckers with money that will take any possible abuse. Kinda like pc gamers that were pissed off at COD:MW2 for not having dedicated servers and still bought the game (like my brother, the good thing is you get to see how bad online multiplayer on console can be without even owning a console). If you are among those kind of people, you are exactly who they target.

And lastly, its not like all of their past games have been that great.

Re:Or, to put it another way: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030703)

Already happened for me when they started making games Origin exclusive

Gah more freemium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030185)

I sure hope not. EA has had a bad trot lately and to go the way of Gameloft and Zynga is going to leave me with a road rash I will long to forget.

The good 'ol days.

RIP EA

EA can suck it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030191)

So many games turned to total crap after they touch it...
Warhammer aor is a good example...

The Sims 3 (1)

perlith (1133671) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030217)

started this a LONG time ago with SimPoints. There is a good bit of fun to be had in the base version of the game. However, if you want a laundry basket in your bathroom you have to pay for it!

P.S. I have an alternate suggestion for EA: Season passes. For the Sims3, sell me a season pass for $25/year. You will probably get the same total amount of money out of me over time with this method vs. selling each expansions/stuff packs individually. However, you will have a continuous revenue stream from a flagship game ... something every gaming company desperately wants but has difficulty pulling off after initial release.

I'm Commander Shepard... (4, Funny)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030225)

... and this is my favorite in-app purchase on the Citadel.

That's some executive decision at its finest (4, Insightful)

Jaktar (975138) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030229)

It takes a good game developer to make a micro transaction model work for a single particular game.

It takes an EA exec to force that model upon every game a publisher makes.

Very different than what I envisioned (3, Insightful)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030265)

Five years ago I was researching in game purchases by opening a browser within the game. I saw it as a way to make purchases within a game. Personally I see micro purchases as a major negative if you need those purchases are needed to actually complete a game. If where we are headed is needing to spend even more money to complete the game I just bought I will stop buying games. Enhancements are one thing but I see greed driving the sales and the in game purchases being a part of the game.

Misleading Title - EA doesn't do MICROtransactions (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030279)

There's no such thing as MICRO in EA's micro-transactions. They are always in the dollars (plural) range. Micro would mean, at least to me, less than $1. But no just go compare prices. Probably 95% minimum of their digital stuff sells for more than a dollar, and I've seen plenty of "items" that would buy you an ENTIRE GAME on Steam or GoG for the same price, and I don't always mean during their 75% off sales either where games are $5 or less.

The idiots out there can keep supporting this BS, but I won't. Not ever. And you really need to stop calling them micro transactions when they're anything but micro.

captcha: reproach

Kills the fun (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030287)

Because we all love getting our asses kicked by the fourteen year old with the trust fund.

Not good enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030323)

Hasn't EA reported nothing but millions in losses and declining revenue the last few quarters? It would seem not enough people are enjoying their new revenue models.

Hollywood (3, Insightful)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030339)

The game industry is mirroring Hollywood in more ways than budgets. We have 90% of the content being released by just a few very large studios, who seem averse to anything that isn't a sequel or a remake. What really sucks is that we spent the last 20 years trying to improve the gaming experience enough to really get players immersed in the game, only to have the whole concept of immersion take a back seat to shareholder earnings.

In hindsight, it's no wonder the gaming industry has been so paranoid about piracy; I think they've purposefully been using the Hollywood model for inspiration.

Re:Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030613)

The game industry is mirroring Hollywood in more ways than budgets. We have 90% of the content being released by just a few very large studios, who seem averse to anything that isn't a sequel or a remake. What really sucks is that we spent the last 20 years trying to improve the gaming experience enough to really get players immersed in the game, only to have the whole concept of immersion take a back seat to shareholder earnings.

In hindsight, it's no wonder the gaming industry has been so paranoid about piracy; I think they've purposefully been using the Hollywood model for inspiration.

Let those bastards die under their own microtransaction crap.
Go indie all the way, and readjust your expectations graphics wise. You'll find much more enjoyment and you won't be bled dry.
I started playing in the early ninties, and for me the pinnacle of gaming was 1998-2000. After that it went all downhill with the death of simulations. Nowadays I play freeware games (orbiter for instance an excellent space sim, what Microsoft Space Simulator would have been if Microsoft hadn't drop the ball after the first iteration), old Janes simulators, Falcon 4 (and its various off springs) as well as Dwarf Fortress (this one is hell to get into). I enjoy what I have, and for the rest only indie games. May the big publishers (including Valve) die in flame. They'll never ever get another cent from me. They've taken all the fun out of games.
The day when AAA developers would cherish the player base is all but gone.

Re:Hollywood (1)

guises (2423402) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030633)

It's not even close to 90%. Just with the DRM free stuff from the Humble Bundle and Good Old Games I have more than I can play. Yes, the blockbusters have been compromised, but, like Hollywood, there's still plenty of good stuff out there if you're willing to put the barest effort into looking for it.

The Hollywood analogy is a good one, but also a reason for optimism.

Plants vs. Zombies 2? Get off my lawn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030345)

"PopCap is pleased to announce that, in a strategic partnership between EA and Monsanto Corp., all of our future releases will contain virtual genetic use restrictor technology. We're confident that gamers will love purchasing new and interesting plants between levels at reasonable prices. We're also adding an auction house, exciting multiplayer and hats. Please note that, due to the multiplayer features, a constant connection to the internet is required. Pre-order at GameStop for the sunny day bundle, Best Buy for the pea pack or Amazon for the potato sack and get exclusive plants you won't find anywhere else! Season passes will be available and we'll be announcing the announcement of the contents of the Digital Deluxe version at E3!"

Last time I buy any EA product then... (1)

jonwil (467024) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030365)

And to think I might actually have been willing to PAY for whatever comes next in the C&C franchise if it was as good as previous titles (the abomination that is Tiberian Twilight not withstanding)

Will be interesting to see how they put micro transactions in the EA sports titles... Will people have to pay real world money to get a full set of clubs in EA Sports Golf? Or worse, real world money every time they loose a golf ball and need a new one?

Re:Last time I buy any EA product then... (1)

stfvon007 (632997) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030485)

No, you will just have to pay real world money to have a caddy and a golf cart, so you don't have to virtually walk the entire distance between every hole while pressing a button that keeps you from dropping your golf bag on the ground, and you only have to pay for a new golf ball if you don't want to do the golf-ball pixel hunt mini game! And in madden, you just have to play real world money to recruit the top players. As long as you are ok with a quarterback that you drag out of a virtual alley a few blocks from the stadium with a severe drinking problem (all realistically simulated in game), you don't have to pay a cent!

Re:Last time I buy any EA product then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030663)

I stopped buying EA products many years ago. This concept isn't entirely new, but they have always been the ones to screw the game developers and its fanbase. They buy dev companies and fire most of the staff. I can't tell you how many people I know who's been through all of this. I won't go into detail but they screw both the customer and their staff.

Nothing is sacred anymore, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030405)

I'm really sick and tired of this kind of crap.

I don't want things like Facebook and Twitter integration. I don't want things like micro-transactions and always-online "DRM" (which, in fact, isn't DRM at all- all the game logic runs server side in SimCity and Diablo 3, what you've got on your computer is just a dumb client- this kind of thing is a design decision, not a DRM system tacked on after the fact).

Is it too much to ask for a nice local offline only experience these days? I just want to enjoy the universe the developer has spent so much time and effort on creating, without being constantly reminded that I don't own the full product ("Oh sorry you clicked on that button by mistake did you? That'll be $5 please to unlock this functionality") or that I should sign into some lame online account for the benefit of someone other then me. The only thing any of this stuff serves to do is remind me that I shouldn't buy anymore games in the future because I'm tired of being repeatedly let down by lacklustre entertainment compacted by the forced inclusion of DLC and micro-transactions.

I'm sure most companies would tell me I'm being anti-social by saying this and that I should embrace their newfound principals for disrespecting my offline privacy, but frankly, fuck them. I'll happily vote with my wallet as I've been doing so for the past 6 months when I passed up the numerous chances to buy several games I'd previously been eyeing up.

If we took any of the modern day games we've got today and stuffed them in a time machine and sent it back to 1996, I have no doubt that the games would pop right back out again in the future with a hand-written note (given that people still remembered how to write back then) that says "No thanks, we're good". Nobody in their right mind would ever put up with this sort of thing, and I'm kind of surprised that I feel like the only person who remembers a time when this sort of behaviour would have been considered evil and unthinkable.

Pardon me for being a game idiot ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030413)

... since I don't play games anymore ... but this isn't an online game where people expect a level playing field, is it? Oh wait.

This doesn't *have* to be a bad thing..but it's EA (3, Informative)

dexotaku (1136235) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030479)

I don't think that microtransactions are an inherently bad thing, but in this case - well, it's EA, so it can ONLY be bad.

Take a look at Need For Speed World for some indication of the future.. the worst-implemented and maintained MMO that I'm aware of [noting that I know I'm not an expert on MMOs, but NFSW is truly shite].
The game is ostensibly "free to play" and centred on multiplaying racing.. but:
* As with most EA fare, the game is run almost entirely by the marketing department [I actually feel sorry for the devs, as it's evident that they're effectively bound & gagged by the marketing department]
* the devs and marketing people actually stated, "You can't buy victory," despite the fact that the best of everything are available only for real money, and the best of everything totally affect gameplay and shift all advantages easily and quickly to any fool with a credit card
* There's effectively no matchmaking most of the time, so the chances of being able to enter a public event with even remote chances of winning a round depend mostly on how much you've put into real-money-only cars that make up nearly all of the top performers
* there's no chat system for users to communicate publicly; they had to disable it >1 year ago because the devs aren't competent enough to make anything even remotely robust or secure, script-kiddies would constantly cause the game to crash for other players with simple buffer overflows
* EA obviously don't get what the "micro" in "microtransaction" is supposed to mean: all transactions are in dollars or greater; if you were to compare NFSW to any other NFS title and try to get the same gameplay out of it, it would cost thousands of dollars of your real money to even get close [and there are players who've put in thousands, insanely]
* "Exclusives" cost up to $50-75CAD for things that are only special because of a repaint by the art department [exclusive monacle, anyone?]

I could go on and on.. yeah, it's only a game, but compared to their off-the-shelf titles this "free to play" game is effectively several orders of magnitude more expensive.. which make little sense given that the real multiplayer aspects of the game are either disabled, broken, or simply not present. The game is basically, at this point, not really a multiplayer game.

This is the future of gaming, going by EA's ethics-free "screw the customer" business plan: make the client free, but bleed players dry hundreds if not thousands of times over if they want to "achieve" the same things they can by buying last year's single-player+muliplayer title down-to-$10 at any brick&mortar store.

I feel sorry for the smallish studios that EA keep buying up - the devs lose all freedom to determine the direction they want their games to go, and live under corporate policies that amount to "leave the customer completely in the dark while charging them as much as possible." The future of gaming, indeed.

Guess its good i'm getting old (3, Insightful)

codepigeon (1202896) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030493)

I was lucky enough to be around for the early days of PC gaming. I remember when the manual actually told you to make a backup of the floppy. (for you young viewers, manuals were small booklets that used to come with games giving you tips, backstory, art..)

I guess it's good that I am nearing 40 and don't get into gaming as nearly as I used to. This stuff is just turning me off completely.

Considering the typical audience here, there are probably not a lot of you that play EA's NHL (yearly susbscription game). They have already been testing the waters for this from at least 2011 when they indroduced a mode of play called "hockey ultimate team". In this mode you build a team by using "cards". The cards actually come in foil packs that you can buy (all virtual of course). They offer a way to pay for the packs with earned in-game points or real-world money. My son plays the NHL13 version of this game and it is obvious that the system is entirely designed to get you to need to buy more packs of cards to continue paying.

As expected the good hockey players are "rares" (and i mean really rare), and you continually need to feed contract cards and injury repair cards to keep playing. The amount of points required to get the medium and larger packs are so high it is difficult if not impossible for a weaker player to ever purchase with earned points. I'm a software engineer, I see the patterns and thresholds and how they are clearly designed to maximize the need for more "cards". it is completely obvious to me; my son however is too naive to see this....as are probably many other people under the age of 20 or 30. And that is why these microtransactions are "popuar". Mom drops $20 into the kids account and he blows it on virtual garbage. (I refuse to allow my son to buy with real money)

F**k EA. F**k the industry for....well...becoming an industry with the corporate greed that comes with it.

\end-rant

and now I'm done with EA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030507)

I haven't felt good about buying EA games for a while now, but now the greed has gone too far, and they need to go out of business.

Yay, more reason to buy EA games (1)

locater16 (2326718) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030517)

Because hit titles like Dragon Age 2 and Dead Space 3 are just what I w- oh no wait I don't care.

Still, I'm SURE this will do it. Yes EA, this will save your continuous quarterly disappointments. Just like every game you make having multiplayer, or desperately chasing such growing franchises as Call of Duty (declining year over year for two years straight) or companies like Zynga (desperately cutting studios and employees to remain in business).

Yes EA, your recent history of brilliant strategies will save you this time. "Let's make people who seem uninterested in paying in first place for games like Warfighter, PAY MORE FOR THEM!"

Umm... Ok. (2)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030535)

I'm struggling to see why people are having a problem with this? So long as these microtransactions are 100% optional, who cares? Nobody's forcing you do buy them, and in the case of Dead Space 3 and Mass Effect 3, they're attainable with in-game currency.

Re:Umm... Ok. (1)

codepigeon (1202896) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030605)

why people are having a problem with this...they're attainable with in-game currency.

Oh...thank goodness. I was worried that when i spent $60+tax on the game, that I was going to get everything that was on the disk. Glad to know at least some of it stays locked behind a pay gate!

Re:Umm... Ok. (1)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030627)

You're forgetting that this is a modern age of licensing.. Just because you've paid 60$ for the game license and disc, that doesn't mean the license you bought covers everything on that disc. It sucks, but that's what we've gotten ourselves into with the coming of the digital age.

EA talking to investors ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030553)

... first it was yes, we'll develop for the Wii U .... it will save the industry .... then it was, no no ... Wii U isn't where we are at ... quick, look over thee .. it's a PS4 ... we'll build for that ....now it is .... see investors we have micro transactions.

All this is complete EA bullcrap that they are feeding to investors. I don't even have to look to suspect that over the past year their stock has been sinking. Am I right?!

pay-to-win+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030559)

"Buy it and pay-even-more-to-win"

Unstuck in time... (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030563)

Uh-oh, I've become unstuck in time. Well, at least people can enjoy this comment on EA from 2004:

What's going on indeed... by jayhawk88 (160512) [slashdot.org]

"The past is never dead. It's not even past." -- William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun

The weird move by EA with deadspace... (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030589)

...how they've tried to treat a primarily single-player FPS like it's primarily multiplayer. I ran through DS 1 and 2 and never got much exposure to weapons because of the slow upgrade rate speed. it was like they assumed you'd play it 4-5 times through. My favorite single players I run through *maybe* 2 times. They need to scale everything back to the 1-2 runs most players will actually spend.

I imagine that they're giong to crank up the difficulty so you have to buy stuff to finish the game.

Go to hell EA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030599)

I hate EA I haven't bought any of their games and never will especially after they start this crap. People who support this are nuts, let them drown, stop buying their games!

Don't buy from EA/Origin (1)

morian97 (1325925) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030725)

I don't care what they plan to build into their games, they are on downward spiral. They false advertise and fail to honor the deals. EA customer support is horrible, and attitude towards customers degrading. Good luck EA, good luck!
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