EA has an atrocious reputation among the gaming community and often ridiculed for their obsession with DLC, microtransactions and pre-order exclusives. This viewpoint isn’t unwarranted when you take into account EA’s anti-consumer decision-making and treating the customer like a cash-cow. While other publishers implement similar strategies, EA is usually the main target of people’s hostility. Some critics have argued, EA’s blatant use of premium extra content will hurt their sales in the long-term.
During the UBS Global Technology Conference, EA’s Chief Financial Operator, Blake Jorgensen said:
“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,”
“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.”
“It could a subscription, a subscription that has extra content as part of it, or a sole subscription, or it could be simply an upfront payment to a game that has extra content coming over time,”
“What we want to do is give the consumer a great value for their money and keep them deeply engaged in something they love to do.”
“The fundamental way that we as an organization think about [microtransactions and subscriptions] is all around engagement,”
“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.”
Jorgensen’s comments come across as a PR exercise trying to alleviate concerns about Star Wars Battlefront’s DLC model. Furthermore, he’s certainly correct about gamer fatigue and users becoming sick of paid content just after a game’s launch window. Despite this, EA is part of the problem and consistently releases digital deluxe editions at absurd prices. Additionally, they have to take responsibility for implementing microtransactions in $60 titles. I realistically cannot see EA’s reputation changing unless they end anti-consumer measures. This isn’t going to happen anytime soon, due to the profit margins from microtransactions.
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