‘Player fatigue is starting to set in.’
EA is probably one of the leaders of having microtransactions in their video games – the most popular mode in their most popular franchise (Ultimate Team and FIFA, respectively) is predicated on microtransactions to begin with – but they still don’t want the player to feel exploited. Instead, they want microtransactions to feel like an organic part of the game design. Or so they say, anyway.
“Our game teams are all thinking through, ‘What’s the engagement model to keep the consumer, to really entertain the consumer for a long period of time?'”EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said at the UBS Global Technology Conference.. “When you think about that, it’s not really the economics; the economics come afterward. There might be multiple models of ways to engage people.”
“The fundamental way that we as an organization think about [microtransactions and subscriptions] is all around engagement,” he said. “How do we engage the consumer as long as possible? In the old days, people played Madden for a few months and then stopped playing. When the Super Bowl finished, they were completely gone. Today, with Ultimate Team, they engage for 12 months, all the way up until the time you start playing a new season. ”
He also talked about microtransactions in mobile games – the area where they have gotten most egregious, and where EA and their games have been guilty of most of their excesses, with games like Real Racing 3, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, and Dungeon Defender all ruined thanks to EA’s insistence on peppering them with microtransactions.
“I do think there’s a bit of consumer fatigue around feeling like they’re getting nickle and dimed all the time. And a lot of mobile games don’t allow you to have fun unless you’ve paid for it,” he said. “So we’re looking at new models of ways to try to alleviate some of that fatigue that’s going on. Some of those might come in the form of subscription-style, but some of them might simply come in different ways to play games over time so you don’t feel like you’re always getting nickel and dimed.”
Right, EA, I hear that. Those sound like good words to me. I just refuse to buy into any of that until you prove to me, over a sustained period of time, that you’re going to follow up on this, sorry.