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EA To Stuff Microtransactions Into ALL Of Their Games Going Forward

Matt Gardner
Dead Space 3, EA, Fee-to-Play, Microtransactions

EA To Stuff Microtransactions Into ALL Of Their Games Going Forward

What's that? You like payments? Well how about some payments on top of your payments.

Just when you thought the word 'microtransactions' could be saved from inequity by the positive efforts of free-to-play games such as Planetside 2, EA reveals that they're going to be trying to implement microtransactions in all of their games going forward. Especially fully-priced retail titles.

Just in case you thought that you can't fit a free-to-play model onto a £50 game, EA are out to prove you wrong!

This really is all Dead Space 3's fault, and we might have to shoulder some of the blame for that. After all, we members of the media gave it perfectly respectable scores (TL:DR  version - Solid and shiny, but ultimately soulless), and noted that the microtransactions model can be safely ignored.

This is also your fault, consumers. Because presumably some of you must have actually made in-game purchases to help lead EA to the conclusion that we really really want to be increasingly monetised. Apparently it's ok to have a shiny-yet-bland game so long as you have backwards-thinking financial innovation(?) in there.

"The next and much bigger piece [of the business] is microtransactions within games," outlined EA's CFO Blake Jorgensen, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference [via Seeking Alpha]. "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."

Jim Sterling has helpfully coined a new phrase for this phenomenon of stacked payments: Fee-to-Play. However, Jorgensen also noted that you need to have a strong arse back-end for all of this corporate f***ing mass-market microtransacting, telling listeners that although EA had previously outsourced all of the number crunching, they'll be bringing it all in-house to manage things "much more profitably".

"We've got to have a very strong back-end to make sure that we can operate a business like that. If you're doing microtransactions and you're processing credit cards for every one of those microtransactions, you'll get eaten alive. And so Rajat's [Taneja, EA Global CTO] team has built an amazing back-end to be able to manage that and manage it much more profitably. We've outsourced a lot of that stuff, historically. We're bringing that all in-house now."

I'm now going to eat half a brick of Camel blues.

Add a comment11 comments
Tsung  Feb. 27, 2013 at 16:30

Ahhh Micro transactions a true way to hide the real cost of the game. Like the Sims 3, £30, for a limited "version" then to unlock more cities / towns to play in = money micro transaction money. I've held off pre-ordering Sim City as I fear this will also become micro transaction hell.

You buy it (at full price) you think your getting the full game, but no, wait, there is a ton of extra content to purchase.

However, micro transactions in games like DOTA 2 work. You get the game and the vast majority of the content for free. If you want to buy hats, go ahead, it isn't going to change the game other than cosmetically. I've clocked up 300hrs in DOTA2 and yes I've bought the odd item from the store (to support the game), I have no problem with that micro transaction model.

Quietus  Feb. 27, 2013 at 18:33

Tsung: I agree that that always sounds like the better way to manage microtransactions. Many MMORPGs have been like that for years: Free to play - IN FULL - with cosmetic items / skins as optional extras that you can buy.

If EA truly decide to follow this route, then they deserve all of the boycotting they receive.

Late  Feb. 27, 2013 at 18:46

It's a natural (and awful) progression, unfortunately, that started with dlc. I'm with tsung in that I don't mind if there's an option to buy your character a new outfit, and I don't mind if there's an option to buy something that you'd ordinarily not get until later in the game. If you want to pay extra to make your character look a bit different or to make the game a bit easier then more fool you.
If the game is incomplete, though, and you need to pay extra to play properly then they're taking the p1ss.

I don't buy many games on release these days. It's too much of a gamble. There's always been the possibility the game might not be as good as expected, of course, but when you combine that with games dropping in price fairly quickly and each game tending to get two or three pieces of dlc then I find it often makes more sense to wait for a GOTY edition. Unfortunately I fear that option will eventually be squeezed out as essential parts of games become paid additional content and are not included in the GOTY version a few months later. :(

JonLester  Feb. 27, 2013 at 19:40

Sounds alright to me, since EA will naturally be keen to slash their RRPs to sub-£25 or free to maximise the install base and compensate for the gated/delayed content... right?


Grab your ankles, fellow gamers.

Korma  Feb. 27, 2013 at 22:18

EA forming an exclusivity partnership with Microsoft.

Monetisation x Monetisation.

A match made in hell.

Was it here I read the Gears game will have a perma XP doubler if you buy the season pass? What that really means is you only earn half XP unless you pony up for a coin doubler.

Breadster  Feb. 27, 2013 at 23:28

Er, haven't they already been doing this for a while? Fifa, Battlefield, Mass Effect and Dead Space all have micro transactions. Let's just hope other companies don't follow suit.

Anarchist  Feb. 28, 2013 at 09:18

As much as I hate this stupid microtransaction system that is becoming increasingly popular, it is going to be here to stay. There are just too many kids/idiots/people who can't take being bad at a game that feel like they have to spend money so they can just complete games as quickly as possible.

Trying to complete games as quickly as possible. Why? So many people brag "oh yeah, I completed halo reach in five hours!" "Yeah I completed MW3 in four!" And so on. Wy is that a good thing? I love taking my time on games, looking around every nook to experience all the developers have created for me to play with. It gets me into a lot of trouble sometimes (eg character getting stuck on skyrim and losing half an hours play) but so what? I'm getting what I've paid for.

When I started playing borderlands 2, I had two kids on my friends list (can't remember where they came from, since deleted!) who immediately joined my level 11 game with their level 50 characters, killed every **** thing in site then proceeded to try and give me millions of credits to help me get through the game quickly. Then they were shocked as I kicked them from the game.

Let me take my time, let me explore, and enjoy my games as they were meant to be enjoyed.

Late  Feb. 28, 2013 at 09:42

Well said, Anarchist. :D

Unfortunately people are in such a rush that if a game came out that had an option on the menu screen "pay £14.99 and all achievements/trophies will be marked complete" there'd probably be thousands of people who'd take that option.

"Woohoo - I got 100% completion".
"Great game, isn't it. What did you think when that thing happened?!"

I hope EA aren't reading this.

(Actually, go ahead, EA. I'm claiming copyright, and will be happy for my cut!)

Ilium  Feb. 28, 2013 at 11:39

@Breadster - You're right. Ultimate Team is all about microtransactions. I guess it's just never quite been so overt before Dead Space 3.

I really hope Tsung isn't right about SimCity. That would be a crushing shame. Definitely going to need to check reviews for all EA games going forward now, just to see if the microtransactions ruin the games in question.

Korma  Feb. 28, 2013 at 13:41

Unfortunately people are in such a rush that if a game came out that had an option on the menu screen "pay £14.99 and all achievements/trophies will be marked complete" there'd probably be thousands of people who'd take that option.

I hope EA aren't reading this.

Hate to be the bEArer of bad news but

"Need for Speed™ Most Wanted Premium Timesavers Pack"
Released as day 1 DLC or maybe Day 3 at worst.

"Get ahead of your friends and rivals with the Premium Timesavers Pack. You’ll unlock nearly every car in-game. You’ll also instantly own Pro Mods for every car in both singleplayer and multiplayer."

"Save time and get instant access to all the cars for multiplayer mode, plus all but the Most Wanted cars and all Jack Spots in the single-player campaign. You’ll have to earn access to the exclusive Most Wanted cars with your driving skills, but this awesome lineup of customizable road chewing speed machines will give you a great head start. The Time Saver Pack includes instant access to more than 30 cars."

That from a game whose whole marketing pushed USP was the fact you could just drive to any car in the game right away and start driving it, and not be constrained by a progression of unlocking slightly faster cars each time until you could reach the best ones.

Last edited by Korma, Feb. 28, 2013 at 13:43
Late  Feb. 28, 2013 at 13:44

Damnit. These guys are way ahead of me.


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