EA: micro-transactions will be built into "all of our games"

By on February 28, 2013, 1:30 PM

It appears micro-transactions -- those enticing in-game unlocks and premium items that typically cost a litte extra cash -- will possibly make their way into every Electronic Arts game in the not-so-distant future. EA says it plans to add in-game purchases to all platforms, including PC, mobile and console games.

"We're building into all of our games the ability to pay for things along the way," EA CFO Blake Jorgensen stated during an investor conference. "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."

Additionally, EA has built its own micro-transaction back-end. In the past, EA has outsourced its in-game purchase operations to third-party companies; however, the game publisher is now taking ownership of its micro-transaction business. By moving the operation in-house, EA presumes it can maximize profits from future pint-sized puchases -- a business which generates far more than pint-sized profits.

Jorgenson told investors that "The Simpsons", for example -- a game that is free to play -- racked up about $25 million in micro-purchases during Q4 2012. 

Dead Space 3 is a prime example of a AAA game title featuring micro-transactions. EA's inclusion of in-game purchases wasn't without criticism though, sparking debates over the potential for conflicts of interest  (e.g. placing "brick walls" to lure gamers into paying to surmount near-impossible scenarios) and the integrity of a company who releases a $60 title with the foregone conclusion of gamers spending even more. And, If you'll excuse the pedantry, there's also the philosophical matter of a $50 DLC pack being considered a "micro" transaction.

In its Dead Space 3 review, Eurogamer reviewer Dan Whitehead had this to say about micro-transactions: "It's not about crudely forcing the player to spend extra with brick wall obstacles, but a more subtle psychological invitation, leaving the option out in the open, like a box of chocolates tantalisingly within reach". Whitehead continued, "I managed to complete the game without spending any extra and never felt like I'd been held back, but by the same token there were plenty of moments where I fell just short of what was needed."

"It's easy to see how the temptation would be hard to resist, especially when certain resources are conspicuously less common than others." he added.

How do you feel about microtransactions becoming a mandatory feature in EA's upcoming games?




User Comments: 44

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2 people like this | Littleczr Littleczr said:

We will vote with our wallets.

3 people like this | Sniped_Ash said:

But EA, your games are not available on my chosen digital distribution platform. Sorry!

Guest said:

And your activation/validation code will now be your credit card number. :)

as for the micro-transactions, in my case, they will be infinitesimally-micro transactions.

2 people like this | Timonius Timonius said:

Micro-transactions are the new cheat code. Only this time you 'pay' to win.

<yes, I know I am oversimplifying >

1 person liked this | Guest said:

How do you feel about microtransactions becoming a mandatory feature in EA's upcoming games?

It means nothing if you don't buy the game. Pay-2-Win is complete crap.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Micro-transactions are the new cheat code. Only this time you 'pay' to win.

<yes, I know I am oversimplifying >

Well... not really... if they don't do it right, free-to-play becomes pay-to-win pretty quickly. Done right I think micro-transactions are a great idea. So long as they give you enough game off the bat to have fun, people will think spending a little on an extra item is money well spent.

However, I think the model is more suited to smartphone games where small transactions could easily equal the cost of the app. Call of Duty might very well stink if you had to start buying stuff one level in.

Ravik Ravik said:

+1 to Sniped_Ash.

cmbjive said:

I think this is a more plausible model for the gaming industry than free-to-play. Perhaps the game companies can lower the price of the game in exchange for introducing microtransactions into the game.

1 person liked this | killeriii said:

Sooo....

I buy a game...just to find out it's an elaborate advertising ploy...to buy things in the game....

I don't get it. What's fun about that?

1 person liked this | m4a4 m4a4 said:

But EA, your games are not available on my chosen digital distribution platform. Sorry!

Ahahaha! Pretty much sums up most people :P

But anyways, they can suck it. Unless they forgot to say "all casual games" (and even then I can't see it), then goodbye EA!

1 person liked this | ikesmasher said:

Sooo....

I buy a game...just to find out it's an elaborate advertising ploy...to buy things in the game....

I don't get it. What's fun about that?

Absolutely nothing. Its basically spending money so you can spend more money later on.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Terrible idea! Also, what happens if you want to play the game again, do you have to pay for the goodies again, or are they yours to keep after the first ingame purchase?

2 people like this | Guest said:

This stinks! (On many levels). It also takes away the incentive to play real well in the game in order to earn the game money to buy better weapons, like in Far Cry 2 and 3. If all you have to do is shell out some more real money to get the better weapon, like some spoiled rich kid who doesn't have to work), then why play the game in the first place? The challenge is gone! If Crysis 3 were built on this model, I wouldn't be planning to build a new more powerful computer to play it, because I will lose all interest in playing these type of games. Get your greedy head straight EA!

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Money, money, money. Games are mostly a waste of this precious human birth anyhow. The more they make it suck, the less I'll feel compelled to waste my mortal time limit.

Win!

cmbjive said:

Absolutely nothing. Its basically spending money so you can spend more money later on.

Don't you already do this when you want to buy downloadable content?

mevans336 mevans336 said:

We will vote with our wallets.

Indeed we will. And as a mildly affluent middle-aged guy, I'll happily pay $10-$20 bucks extra along the way to make a game easier.

If we weren't the majority, they wouldn't be pursuing this.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

But EA, your games are not available on your chosen digital distribution platform. Sorry!

Fixed. (Referring to my inability to buy off Origin Store due to EA's EPIC incompetence - they can't process payments from MANY users' credit cards!).

Google "Payment authorization failed" for more info.

JC713 JC713 said:

If they implement this into Battlefield 4, I am not getting it.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

I just won't buy EA games that's pretty easy to do, quality keeps decreasing...good going EA!

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Indeed we will. And as a mildly affluent middle-aged guy, I'll happily pay $10-$20 bucks extra along the way to make a game easier.
I feel as if you are dreaming, if you think 10 or 20 bucks will get you anything. Multiply that by 10 and you will be closer to what the gaming industry wants out of it consumers. Here I am waiting tor Skyrim to come down in price. If they start this in-game crap, I never will buy their games.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

That's cool 'cause I wasn't planning on spending any money with EA.

wcbert said:

EA CFO Blake Jorgensen stated during an investor conference. "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."

When I read the above statement is consumers want this and enjoy it.

Is there anyone that enjoys this game model, I like to know the reasons?

javierkaiser javierkaiser said:

Sooo....

I buy a game...just to find out it's an elaborate advertising ploy...to buy things in the game....

I don't get it. What's fun about that?

Must agree with you ... If you pay $60 bucks for a game, the least thing to hope is not having to waste/invest more money to enjoy that game.

The move only make sense if all the EA game will be Free-to-play (and not pay-to-win) ...

If not the case, then, bye bye EA

RmandsDC RmandsDC said:

Dear EA, just go bankrupt, it will be better for everyone...

Guest said:

EA is destroying gaming. Folks, if we want this to change we have to vote with our wallets. Join the boycott. I know it is painful as EA releases a lot of games I want to play. But they are ruining the experience. It's time to just say no.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Not really sure what makes people want to shoot themselves in both feet. You think you'd learn after the first foot. Oh well, guess they'll get another golden turd this year.

Sniped_Ash said:

EA CFO Blake Jorgensen stated during an investor conference. "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."

When I read the above statement is consumers want this and enjoy it.

Is there anyone that enjoys this game model, I like to know the reasons?

The quote really is pretty disgusting if true. It really is pay to win and it's an utter debasement of the entire concept of playing games. Hell it's pretty damn close to enabling an addiction. Look at the crafting packs in Dead Space 3 or the multiplayer packs in Mass Effect 3. Buying either of those is straight up gambling and even though you can use the fake money gained while playing to buy them, it's still gross.

But like I said, I use Steam exclusively so ~~fly away EA~~

Timonius Timonius said:

...it's pretty damn close to enabling an addiction... is straight up gambling and even though you can use the fake money gained while playing to buy them, it's still gross.

I've been wondering about this trend in modern video gaming myself. A gambling addiction plus a gaming addiction can be doubly hazardous. My favourite MMO, SWTOR, just included what they call, Cartel Packs, which is essentially a pay for random digital items scenario. Not necessarily pay to win but there are some pretty rare items that some people will stop at nothing to get. These things, though really just a bunch of ones and zeroes, cost real money (though there are 'alternative methods' . I wonder at what point, if at all, this would be classified as gambling, and at what point a government will step in and say 'we will regulate this....oh and by the way, we want our cut.'

I think the overall concept of the micro-transaction is the new cash cow and companies like EA will attempt to exploit it to the max while appearing to not cross the line. Gamers will vote with their pockets, but a 'gamers got to game' right? I personally drew the line at every Tom, ****, and EA wanting to make their own exclusive and custom DRM. Not happening, they shot themselves in the foot. But that's alright, thanks to better distribution models I have a nice back catalog of legally owned games that I'll enjoy and probably never finish in my life time. Everyone has to evaluate what is the most important factor in this shifting video games market.

ikesmasher said:

Don't you already do this when you want to buy downloadable content?

No, buying DLC is an optional way of expanding your previous purchase. With microtransactions, its nearly impossible to compete unless you spending some more.

Rippleman Rippleman said:

Cry cry cry, when is it their duty to satisfy everyone? If you don't like it, don't buy it. I "don't" buy things I don't like EVERYDAY. With some practice, you too can learn this easy trick.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Cry cry cry, when is it their duty to satisfy everyone? If you don't like it, don't buy it. I "don't" buy things I don't like EVERYDAY. With some practice, you too can learn this easy trick.

Before long I'm sure you will learn to completely do without. I detest anyone that classifies speaking out against something as crying.

1 person liked this | Buster Keaton Buster Keaton said:

I have a "free" shooter game on my phone that wants $9.99 to add extra lives! Otherwise you just wait until the lives fill back up by waiting. If they think that I would EVER pay, they are nuts.

Rippleman Rippleman said:

Its a game, some people get up in arms. That's crying to me.

Cry cry cry, when is it their duty to satisfy everyone? If you don't like it, don't buy it. I "don't" buy things I don't like EVERYDAY. With some practice, you too can learn this easy trick.

Before long I'm sure you will learn to completely do without. I detest anyone that classifies speaking out against something as crying.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Its a game, some people get up in arms. That's crying to me.

But we are not just talking about one game, we are talking about the evolution of how all games will be.

Rippleman Rippleman said:

Do something about it then. Create a game company and show them how its done. IF everyone hates it so much, it should be very easy for you to gain EA's past disgruntled customers. You could make billions, what you waiting for?

But we are not just talking about one game, we are talking about the evolution of how all games will be.

cmbjive said:

No, buying DLC is an optional way of expanding your previous purchase. With microtransactions, its nearly impossible to compete unless you spending some more.

I don't follow this logic. In either case you're spending money after the original game has been released. Microtransactions can be structured to where you buy additional in-game quests similar to what you need to do with DLC. As it stands now, there is DLC that is nothing but weapon and/or skin packs - something that fit perfectly under the rubric of microtransactions.

I don't see the big issue with microtransactions. After all EA is not saying that you are required to buy them. In fact, in Dead Space 3 there is a cheat that allows gamers to to pick up infinite scavenger parts and, when brought to EA's attention, the company declined to fix it.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Do something about it then. Create a game company and show them how its done.
Geez, how narrow minded can anyone possibly be?

  • I suppose you think everyone has the power and knowledge to fix their own problems. If this is the case why does anyone pay to have things they don't understand done.
  • I'm also guessing you think everyone has the power to make change without voicing their opinions. Good luck in your efforts making change to suit your needs or desires.

Believe it or not, I don't blame the gaming industry for making these changes. I blame each and everyone that is actually willing to pay these prices. So in essence there is no way for me to show the gaming industry, how to keep pricing fair for those who are not willing to pay a fortune for nice game-play experience. You see this goes outside the scope of one mans capabilities.

Guest said:

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

I don't know anyone that 'enjoys' paying for something they've already paid for. Just shows how far removed from their customers EA actually are.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Cry cry cry, when is it their duty to satisfy everyone? If you don't like it, don't buy it. I "don't" buy things I don't like EVERYDAY. With some practice, you too can learn this easy trick.

They don't have to satisfy everyone but they certainly want to satisfy more rather than less. After all that is how you make that funny thing called MONEY which is all they care about.

ikesmasher said:

I don't follow this logic. In either case you're spending money after the original game has been released. Microtransactions can be structured to where you buy additional in-game quests similar to what you need to do with DLC. As it stands now, there is DLC that is nothing but weapon and/or skin packs - something that fit perfectly under the rubric of microtransactions.

I don't see the big issue with microtransactions. After all EA is not saying that you are required to buy them. In fact, in Dead Space 3 there is a cheat that allows gamers to to pick up infinite scavenger parts and, when brought to EA's attention, the company declined to fix it.

DLC is meant to expand the game experience and are very large. Developers dont need to persuade people to buy DLC more then once. DLC simply need enough content to justify the price. However, developers need micro transactions to sell over and over. The only way to do that easily is to give people who spend on micro transactions a distinct advantage.

DriverJ said:

I like being offered additional content for games, and on console I really don't mind paying for QUALITY extra DLC (IE adding time or replayability to the game). However this is seeming more and more rare from EA. While I LOVE Dead Space 3, and did purchase the DLC pack with some of the weapons. However, I wasn't all that impressed with the DLC pack that I paid for. Yeah they were some nifty ideas, but most of it I could have built with in game parts already... Sure it was a nifty weapon to have right away, but honestly. I'd rather have paid the money for more content.

Once having been a PC gamer paying for "Map Packs" for MP games is ridiculous to me. Maps used to be free for anyone who wanted to download them. It was a community thing. I loved Quake 2 and still regularly play it because of the amount of content available. Now if I wanted anything even similar in scale map wise to what I have for Quake 2, I'd be paying hundreds or thousands (I had something like 5,000 different MP maps, and some add on single player content).

Sure the face of gaming may be evolving, but I for one say for the worse.

Mass Effect was a good example of good DLC, extra story, some more game play. I don't mind paying for house developed story content that gives me more game hours, but for a multiplayer map please.

I like getting additional in game weapons or what not if I purchase a collectors edition, but to have to purchase those items after the price of the game? Get real.

Guest said:

Just an example Bioware was one of the finest RPG developers some time ago, then EA bought Bioware and now Dragon Age, Mass Effect, SWTOR ( it should be Kotor 3 -standalone game) all changed to accommodate the greed of EA ( DLC, micro transactions, over simplified rpg game logic) and the quality of the games went downhill. I hope the rest of game developers companies resist the urge of being bought by EA.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

The sad thing is that this will probably turn out to be a great business strategy. Gaming is so mainstream now that there are a lot of hardcore gamers that will just keep paying. Do you and your wallet a favor and go outside or choose another brand.

P.S. - I hate you, EA. I just got into BF and now you are taking it away from me :-/

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