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EA: "Humans Like Free Stuff"

Matt Gardner
Business models, EA, Facebook games, Freemium, Nick Earl, Retail

EA: "Humans Like Free Stuff"

The future is freemium, according to a senior VP at EA. Nick Earl has suggested that it'sn ot impossible for freemium to expand beyond portable platforms and Facebook.

Chatting with MCV, Earl was adamant in his prediction that one-time payments would become a thing of the past.

“The future is not about one-time payments, the future is about freemium," said Earl. "A decent number of people convert to paying and they may not pay a lot but most of them actually pay more than you’d think.”

He admitted that it might take a little time before we see console manufacturers and platform holders embrace freemium with open arms, but argued that human nature is such that a shift in business model could be very advantageous.

“I don’t know if freemium gets to console but I do know that humans like free stuff. I also know humans who will pay for something if they’ve tried it out and they like it. [...] I’ve wondered if freemium expands beyond the tablet, Facebook and smartphones, and out into consoles?” Earl concluded, “I don’t think it’s impossible for that to happen.”

Add a comment7 comments
Kopite211  Jul. 30, 2012 at 16:42

I know that we don't like being ripped off with ridiculous DLC that means everyone else will have an advantage if you don't stump up the cash a la BF3 Premium, Fifa UT and to a degree SSX. Cheers you huge sack of knobs.

hurrakan  Jul. 30, 2012 at 17:00

I don't want free, I want good.

You get what you pay for. I only buy quality products. Cheap products do not last.

Breadster  Jul. 30, 2012 at 17:47

I find it a bit odd using the word "humans" instead of "people", it just has a sense of detachment about it. Like there's EA and then there's "the things that give us money".

Oh and hurrakan that's a silly attitude to have imo, especially on a site called "dealspwn". There are many many things in the world that are overpriced, most of the time you're paying for a brand name rather than quality, and it wouldn't apply anyway if all games were free, you wouldn't have "cheap" and "expensive".

davidpanik  Jul. 31, 2012 at 10:02

I'm kind of with hurrakan in that I'm still very wary of anything that's free. I went nuts in the Steam sale because things were cheap yet I haven't tried anything on Steam that's free.

In my mind, if something has a price tag on it then that's a display of investment by the developers, that they've given time, money and love to a product and therefore need to try and recoup, whereas with free, that could still be the case, or it could be something that's just quickly been knocked out.

I also like to know how much I'm paying up front. So many freemium games - particularly on mobile - are more like shareware. You can happily play away for a few levels then suddenly find you have to start paying to progress and there's no way of knowing how much you will have to invest for it to be worthwhile.

DivideByZero  Jul. 31, 2012 at 10:27

"I also like to know how much I'm paying up front" Thats why EA love this. You don't realise that you have just spent £50+ on a free game.

People will become wise to this tactic and it will go out of favor before it gets too far IMO.
This method may work in to tricking kids out of money over time, but that is not a very morally sound business ethic is it?

curzonmike  Jul. 31, 2012 at 15:41

Although I'm all for greater price point flexibility, I don't see freemium as the answer. Although it seems tailored towards consumer interests, everything is geared towards encouraging the player to spend money rather than actually enjoying the game. Let devs and pubs set their own prices if they want to. Let mid-tier, AA games retail at lower prices on consoles, and makes those platforms more accessible.

I'm loving World of Tanks, but that's because it's geared towards consumer interests, and look how it's paid off for Wargaming.

Breadster  Aug. 1, 2012 at 14:45

When you're saying that you don't trust games that are free now, it's in a market where most games have a price tag. That comparison won't be there to make if they were all free. You wouldn't have to distrust them because even AAA titles would be free and you can try them out first without paying any money. That's much better imo than spending money on a game you might not like.

Yes you will get companies like EA totally ripping people off but they do that already in the current model.

To be honest, I'm not sure it will work, but I'm willing to try something different to how it is now.


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