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.