Electronic Arts Aims for Microtransactions in All of its Future Games

Posted on March 4, 2013 11:45 AM by J.D. Kane

Much to the chagrin of gamers everywhere, EA announced its intentions to expand its methods to monetize its games. Blake Jorgenson, CFO of the games publisher, spoke at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference on February 27. Jorgenson said, “The next and much bigger piece [of the business] is microtransactions within games.

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, and consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business.

SimCity 5
EA’s SimCity

Jorgenson acknowledged that EA needs to build up the proper infrastructure to be able to handle the weight of these new microtransactions. “If you’re doing microtransactions and you’re processing credit cards for every one of these microtransactions you’ll get eaten alive,” he said. Accordingly, EA will not outsource these operations to another entity. Rather, Jorgenson said “we’re bringing that all in-house now.

It remains to be seen whether or not EA is correct in saying that consumers will be “enjoying and embracing” the company’s attempts to introduce what is essentially a level of “pay to play” beyond the initial purchase of the game.

EA did not announce when it will start the new monetizing program.

  • http://twitter.com/TheFocusElf The Focus Elf

    I don’t mind micro-transactions in “free” games, when it is optional and does not effect game play. However, if I shell out 79.99 for SimCity like I may very well do tomorrow, I don’t expect to be charged for a single mother loving anything else. For that 79.99 premium I want what I’ve gotten in every previous iteration, moddability, command console, etc. I know I’m already not getting all of that in this new redesign with the new “GlassBox” engine… So “enjoying and embracing” is relative I feel. If they offer a micro-transaction model, then charge MUCH less for the game. I don’t think Jorgenson understands that consumers do keep some modicum of a running tab on what we spend on games, and that it can add up. They should offer Deluxe like they currently are, and a regular retail, and then a “lite” version which will come with the MT model… amongst other restrictions.

    • http://www.facebook.com/deathspawner Rob Williams

      I guess it depends on what micro-transactions are. If they’re things like items that don’t stick with you, that really annoys me – but not quite as much with “free” games. I’m not opposed to all DLC, either, but the problem with companies focusing on microtransactions is that they’ll begin to design games around them. They may begin to make their games harder -on purpose-, just so they can encourage you to pony up some extra dough.

      I find it funny whenever someone disses an MMO for having a monthly fee. Stand-alone games can end up costing you way, way more each month.

      • http://twitter.com/TheFocusElf The Focus Elf

        So this is the bug you put in my head. I’m with you, I would certainly agree that “free games” do pose certain curves to the player almost necessitating an in game purchase. Taking SC here as the example, I think a Micro model would be dangerous for things like Simoleans (did I spell that right!?), having more in game cash makes you more likely to buy services your city cannot yet support. So I suspect they’d be things like texture models, or similar buildings (perhaps a power plant that has a smaller footprint?) that put out less pollution put our more power, generate more cast, etc. That would be my hope.

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