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EA planning free-to-play mechanics for every major franchise

EA planning free-to-play mechanics for every major franchise

Moore feels that all gamers want games that offer an online experience of some form.

Electronic Arts is planning to place free-to-play design and online connectivity in every major franchise published by the company.

Speaking to Engadget at Gamescom, EA chief operations officer Peter Moore explained how EA doesn't ship offline games anymore.

'Gamers either want to be connected so that your stats and your achievements and whatever you do certainly reflect who you are, or you want the full multiplayer experience on top of that. We don't deliver offline experiences anymore,' said Moore.

He added that the way players are able to participate in the Battlefield and FIFA franchises on a free-to-play basis is something they want to replicate in all of its other major franchises.

The plan is to get more consumers into its game worlds and Moore sees free-to-play mechanics as a method of bringing down cost, time and even device barriers for new players.

Moore's comments at Gamesocm echo those of EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen who explained back in February how micro-transactions were going to be something that the company was bringing to all of its future titles. Despite this strategy, Jorgensen did also add that the company planned on supporting the current retail model for the games industry.

EA has been experimenting with free-to-play and microtransaction mechanics for a while now. Dead Space 3 drew the ire of the series' fans with a feature that allowed players to pay for in-game upgrades, something many people found to be a cynical move for a triple-A game that already cost a standard amount to buy in the first place.

27 Comments

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DBA 27th August 2013, 10:28 Quote
What a brilliant idea for a company that is known for it's shitty servers!
Corky42 27th August 2013, 11:02 Quote
Well they must be making money from microtransaction, other wise why would they be heading down this road ?
MSHunter 27th August 2013, 11:28 Quote
wonder if it will be more Dead space 3 or NFS World Free to play?
Hustler 27th August 2013, 11:31 Quote
There will only be one winner from this move...and it won't be the consumer.
rollo 27th August 2013, 11:43 Quote
Consumer has never been EAs priority not sure how this will change that.

I dont mind free to play games, Marvel heros is awesome game and its free to play you can buy heros sure or you can earn them ingame choice is entirely yours. No content is restricted or anything everything can drop ingame that you can aquire in the store.

Look at league of legends has the most active players of any game in the world and its free to play.
greypilgers 27th August 2013, 12:06 Quote
So no offline games means a game type that isn't particularly well-suited to free-to-play online multiplayer (despite being an excellent single player offline experience) simply won't get made by EA?

Why close doors unnecessarily?
Corky42 27th August 2013, 12:28 Quote
Or it will get made, and microtransaction, stats tracking, and achievements will be shoe horned into it.
Pierre3400 27th August 2013, 13:49 Quote
If it works, all good, but personally I dont how this would work out for the better.

I play Theme Park on my iPad, crashes at least once every 20mins due to server connection error. Sim City, please dont get me started on server issues there.

Its just not a good idea for EA with the tracking history of server issues they are pulling along with them.
edzieba 27th August 2013, 14:15 Quote
"EA shoots own foot, frantically attempts to reload before other foot can escape".
mi1ez 27th August 2013, 14:17 Quote
I for one am assuming the vast majority of games will be pay-to-win since this is EA...
sotu1 27th August 2013, 15:11 Quote
Looking at the forums at the number of ppl who play World of Tanks, Hawken, LoL, DOTA.....

FIFA Ultimate team is a free to play element, can be played without MTX and people spend hundreds on that and don't bat an eyelid. I think it's fine so long as it's done right.

I suspect BF4 will be pay to get double XP or pay for battlepacks, all of which can be unlocked in game anyway.
thom804 27th August 2013, 15:27 Quote
Well thanks for completely alienating the merchant marine industry as our internet is sketchy at the absolute best!
Fizzban 27th August 2013, 15:46 Quote
EA please don't ruin Dragon Age 3...please. :(
rollo 27th August 2013, 15:48 Quote
Sim city showed EA a route it could effectively head, it sold millions despite the issues and is basically unpiratable due to most of the game been on a server.

Diablo 3 could be played offline if it was setup that way but blizzard dumped all AI and most of the maps on there servers instead. Making the game unpiratable.

The future of pc gaming maybe in this model. It may alienate a few people but the facts are people are buying the games still.

Gonna take more than a few forums for EA or any other publisher to take notice.

Free to play league or world in tanks style is fine by me and a few million others it seems.
Blademrk 27th August 2013, 16:15 Quote
Plants Vs Zombies 2 wasn't too bad, you could at least complete it without dipping into your pocket unless you really wanted those few plants (which were far to expensive at nearly £2 each) which you couldn't unlock during play.
Bluephoenix 27th August 2013, 16:30 Quote
Please don't F*** up Mirror's Edge 2.... That is all
Pookie 27th August 2013, 17:17 Quote
My dad has wanted to own BF2BC Vietnam for ages! (i let him use my steam account). Is it likely that will be free to play?
XXAOSICXX 27th August 2013, 17:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookie
My dad has wanted to own BF2BC Vietnam for ages! (i let him use my steam account). Is it likely that will be free to play?

I think you mean BFBC2 :)
sub routine 27th August 2013, 17:53 Quote
Microsoft dump always online. Ea instigate it, wonder who's pushing the marketing dynamics? Looks like a sign of things to come to me.
sotu1 27th August 2013, 20:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blademrk
Plants Vs Zombies 2 wasn't too bad, you could at least complete it without dipping into your pocket unless you really wanted those few plants (which were far to expensive at nearly £2 each) which you couldn't unlock during play.

I don't think that was too expensive...consider the game is free. You could buy 3 plants and that would be the equivalent of the same game full price.

And really....£2 is too expensive?
GravitySmacked 27th August 2013, 23:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban
EA please don't ruin Dragon Age 3...please. :(
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluephoenix
Please don't F*** up Mirror's Edge 2.... That is all

This.
mattbailey 28th August 2013, 00:28 Quote
BF4 will probably have microtransaction ammo - you run to the ingame ATM (Which will look very pretty in Frostbite3), upload some $/£/€ and then you can buy 30 rounds for your M249......
Fracture 28th August 2013, 07:04 Quote
It seems that this is yet another reason to no longer purchase EA games... I personally think Origin is enough of a reason for me to avoid their products. Combine this with their poor track record and future in-game-purchase heavy games, I can safely say that I'll be avoiding their titles for the foreseeable future.
Pookie 28th August 2013, 09:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by XXAOSICXX
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookie
My dad has wanted to own BF2BC Vietnam for ages! (i let him use my steam account). Is it likely that will be free to play?

I think you mean BFBC2 :)

Oooops! yeah that's the one ;)
xaser04 28th August 2013, 09:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattbailey
BF4 will probably have microtransaction ammo - you run to the ingame ATM (Which will look very pretty in Frostbite3), upload some $/£/€ and then you can buy 30 rounds for your M249......

That would be annoying as the M249 is belt fed.

So you would have watch as your in game character finds a nice quiet spot to carefully reload each round into the belt.

EDIT: Actually it looks like it can take M14/16 mags as well, I didn't know this.

Well that would make the queues at the ATM's shorter at least. :D
Blademrk 28th August 2013, 16:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sotu1
I don't think that was too expensive...consider the game is free. You could buy 3 plants and that would be the equivalent of the same game full price.

And really....£2 is too expensive?

If it was just £2. When you consider that the first PvZ game generally sold for £10-£15 (with all available plants), adding up all the plants and upgrades from PvZ2 knocks the game up to ~£21 and that's without adding in any coin purchases (which are only used for powering power-ups), shortcuts (level unlock costs x Stars or pay to unlock now), keys (grind levels to collect keys or pay to unlock the gates now)...

As I said, the game can be completed without paying a penny* (no pun intended) the 6 plants you can buy are not needed (unless you're OCD and must have all the plants) and all the keys and stars can be earned by playing through the levels.





*Penny is the name of Crazy Dave's time machine
Sloth 28th August 2013, 20:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blademrk
If it was just £2. When you consider that the first PvZ game generally sold for £10-£15 (with all available plants), adding up all the plants and upgrades from PvZ2 knocks the game up to ~£21 and that's without adding in any coin purchases (which are only used for powering power-ups), shortcuts (level unlock costs x Stars or pay to unlock now), keys (grind levels to collect keys or pay to unlock the gates now)...

As I said, the game can be completed without paying a penny* (no pun intended) the 6 plants you can buy are not needed (unless you're OCD and must have all the plants) and all the keys and stars can be earned by playing through the levels.





*Penny is the name of Crazy Dave's time machine
This is my concern with the free to play model. It has its benefits such a no cost entry and the freedom to only pay for what parts of the game you think are worth it, but they often end up being prohibitively expensive to buy the "whole" game.

Dota 2, for example, is an entirely free to play game. There are no items for sale which impact the gameplay in any way other than cosmetic. However, to buy all of the cosmetic items (from the in game shop, not factoring in the marketplace) would cost multiple hundreds of dollars. Even the items randomly obtained by playing don't gather fast enough to significantly impact this cost. Simply put, the $60 you could expect to pay for a AAA release title won't buy you anywhere near the "whole" game.

War Thunder, which I've recently started playing, is also free to play and uses a more typical model of dual currencies: one in game, one tied to real money. The game can technically be played for free, but there are fairly strong pressures to pay real money. Direct advancements and unlocks can be purchased, or accounts can be made "Premium" akin to a subscription model. Premium accounts aquire experience and in game currencies at a strikingly higher rate, a rate which becomes more and more essential as you progress in rank. To buy a year's subscription to Premium costs roughly $70. There are content packs that provide Premium time for cheaper which aren't taken into account for that cost, yet keep in mind there are still cash unlocks and advancements which Premium doesn't provide. For anyone looking to seriously play the game this is a subscription model game, like many other MMOs.

This isn't to say that paying money in a free to play game is a bad thing, they have to make money eventually if they want to be successful and continue adding content. Only to point out that they are not inherently cheaper than a full retail price game if you wish to have a similar experience where everything is available to you. Indeed, many "free" to play games, particularly MMO-type games, will cost more than retail due to their similarities with subscription games and the constant need to pay for new content. There's still very much a place for retail games.
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