EA putting micro-transactions "into all of our games"

Eurogamer reports that EA is planning to include microtransactions on all its games henceforth:

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/20...

"The next and much bigger piece [of the business] is microtransactions within games," chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen said, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference (transcribed by Seeking Alpha).

"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.

"Consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business."

I will flatly refuse to play any game where I have to buy microtransactions to compete in multiplayer or progress through songle player at a reasonable rate. Cosmetic or feature-based dlc is OK, but 'to get to a higher level, buy a truck, a gun, whatever" sounds dangerously close to infecting game design to make more $$$. What do you think, is this worrying news or inevitable?

Oh good. That means all of their games will be free to play from here on out... Right?

Kidding aside microtransactions is a gray area for me. On the good side It has brought free* content to Mass Effect multiplayer for almost a full year. If they stuck to the normal buy map/character packs I wouldnt stuck around this long to play it along with many others. On the bad side is many numerous annoyances I have encounter over the years. Cheat codes going away to annoying notifications in single player games (buy the dlc to go to this area!).

*intrepret that as you will.

We should probably keep this conversation to one thread.

edit: agreed

edit: I basically repeated myself in the other thread anyway, so I will follow the example of the comments below and delete this one.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

I liked CliffyB's post and get his arguments but I still take the point of view that Jim Sterling does in this rebuttal more. "Companies exist to make money" is in my opinion, not a carte blanche justification for doing things that are not in the long-term interests of consumers who they ultimately need to survive. Perhaps these companies need to look inward and better manage and find efficiencies. I'm sorry but if Dead Space 3 needs to sell 5 million copies and have microtransactions to turn a profit when the previous two games made money with smaller sales, what is EA doing wrong?

A very good point was raised on yesterday's Bombcast about how the entire Montreal team who made Army of Two: Devil's Cartel was laid off right after the game went gold. Army of Two is a series largely lambasted by critics and which has never sold well. Yet, some executive greenlit a sequel, made the studio develop it and when it became clear it wouldn't sell again, they just canned the whole shop. Did anyone who pushed them to make a game no one ask for also get laid off? I doubt it and if so, maybe EA should look at things like that or dumping hundreds of millions into a WoW clone in a market where WoW clones don't work to figure out why they can't make more money. Ubisoft has had a very good year without microtransactions in the campaigns of Assassin's Creed 3 and Far Cry 3. Ultimately, the market will prove out whether this model has long-term viability. Given the rapid implosion of Zynga and the social market as a whole which was built on microtransactions, I'm not at all convinced yet.

I've often thought this as well. I thought it was kind of shady announcing that DS3 needed to hit a certain number in order to keep the franchise viable. Which kind of ties in to my feelings on a lot of micro-transactions out there in the industry. Granted everyone is struggling right now, but are we supporting these companies because they are genuinely struggling or are they trying to make up for bad business decisions? Listening to all the news on 38 studios and all the completely frivolous things they were auctioning off that the company either had bought or had made really leaves a sour taste in my mouth as a consumer.

**Moved from other topic**

Just to kind of feed into this whole DLC/Micro topic. I was kind of wondering what everyone thought of the GiantBomb review of Gears of War:J. Apparently a lot of the things you unlocked in previous gears (or had made available to you at start) such as skins and stages, many are purchased now. The whole only 4 multiplayer maps thing kind of irks me a tad.

This of course is obviously based on what you as a player thinks justifies your $60.

I can see it's useful for some companies, who have pledged not to sell game-changing gear (or, worse yet, game-necessary gear) as micro-transactions. POE is a good example of this. But I don't trust EA to do this in a way that benefits consumers.

There's such a wide spread of how this is done in the industry today that I have little hope that it will remain an additional source of funds. I think it will be viewed as a cash cow by the bigger firms, a way to monetize *everything* about a game. The whole thing hinges on whether games are developed to be games, or simply addictive entertainment revenue streams, to be added to or shut down based solely on how much ROI they provide the maker.

Robear wrote:

The whole thing hinges on whether games are developed to be games, or simply addictive entertainment revenue streams, to be added to or shut down based solely on how much ROI they provide the maker.

I think that's what it all boils down to. Now that I have been around the block a couple of times and don't make as much money I find myself simply waiting for games to come out before I even throw down a single dollar. Especially since Spore.

And if I can wait for the general consensus from regular people that enjoy games (instead of people paid for such services) then I can pick and choose in a more careful manner as to where I spend my money. If I can wait that long why not wait until the title goes on sale?

If I see a whole slew of DLC show up within the first few weeks it generally tells me that this game is not for me. That just smells of shady shenanigans. I want to play your game, I am even willing to pay a fair price for it. I am simply tired of these giant corporations taking direction from their stock holders instead of the people who actually make these games in an effort to squeeze more blood from that rock.

Those types of companies are one's I try to avoid when/where I can. And it isn't hard, it just sucks to see a once brilliant game series or a great gaming idea go to waste in an effort to suck you in to keep billing you over and over. No thanks, I will be spending my money elsewhere.

There are plenty of other great companies willing to make actual games that I can enjoy without the shenanigans at a decent price. Hell some of them have actively kept updating their game for free. I sure will miss some of those old IPs but that's the breaks for ya.

Robear wrote:

There's such a wide spread of how this is done in the industry today that I have little hope that it will remain an additional source of funds. I think it will be viewed as a cash cow by the bigger firms, a way to monetize *everything* about a game. The whole thing hinges on whether games are developed to be games, or simply addictive entertainment revenue streams, to be added to or shut down based solely on how much ROI they provide the maker.

I think this is a key thing, and to head off the inevitable responses at the pass, it's not automatically a bad thing.

There's a key difference between "So we're doing this thing we're going to sell for $50, what can we do with it?" and the potential for a constant flow of money. It's not so much about either one being right or wrong way of doing things, it's about the various realities and expectations that each come with.

The industry (this and others) is littered with the corpses of developers and publishers that tried to "satisfy" the consumer. Balance is the key to success and those that provide a quality product and return shareholder value will succeed. Shocking!

I believe when you have a genuinely great game, something with an amazing story, amazing game-play, and good graphics (sometimes you don't need even that) the game WILL sell well. It's all about presentation and finding that sweet spot with pricing. Granted it's not easy, which is why so many developers have gone under but is this something they've painted themselves in a corner with? You've got developers that are constantly trying to up the ante, going big budget and putting so much money into needless things, and when they fail, the business just can't take the hit. Everyone's trying to be the new "Call of Duty", they swing for the home run and nothing else.

So now many developers to make up for that loss, or at least try and hit these unrealistic projections they have, they add micro-transactions which can also cause a loss in initial sales because so many people are fed up with it. Look at all the small indie developers who seem to be able to succeed with so little while acknowledging they aren't a AAA title in any way. I believe a happy medium can be found, it's just going to take a ballsy developer/publisher to do so.

The Conformist wrote:

I believe a happy medium can be found, it's just going to take a ballsy developer/publisher to do so.

It's a depressing sign of the times when those two parts of the sentence go together.

Scratched wrote:
The Conformist wrote:

I believe a happy medium can be found, it's just going to take a ballsy developer/publisher to do so.

It's a depressing sign of the times when those two parts of the sentence go together.

Or it's a sign that the original statement is an oversimplification.

By the way, the new Sly Cooper game is $40 and a number of other games have been $30-50 in the last couple years. Not sure if any of them were an overwhelming success. As a consumer, I wish there was a bigger middle ground too, but sales history shows that I'm not in the majority at all.

TheGameguru wrote:

The industry (this and others) is littered with the corpses of developers and publishers that tried to "satisfy" the consumer. Balance is the key to success and those that provide a quality product and return shareholder value will succeed. Shocking!

Agreed. Far too few companies strike a focus on the balance aspect of this- not too far one way or the other.

I tell all our CEO's that in their title is the key to a successful company. In my world CEO stands for Customer, Employee, and Owner. You have to balance satisfying all 3 of those aspects, any of them out of whack usually will drive a company into the ground sooner than later...and in many ways they are all 3 symbiotic with each-other.

It's very easy to arm chair CEO a multinational public company. There is a reason they get paid as well as they do.. its an incredible pressure filled and difficult job to accomplish. Thats why even the bad ones are over paid

I know as much as I think I know.. theres no way I could do it.. I have enough difficulty being a CTO.