From the microtransaction-laden Ultimate Team modes of Madden and FIFA, to the expansion juggernauts like the $50 season pass for Battlefront, even to the ‘all DLC should be free’ approach of Need for Speed, EA’s games run the gambit of monetary models. Weighing in on the subject at the recent UBS Global Technology Conference, via Gamespot, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen stated the publisher wants to avoid “nickel and diming” gamers.
As far as how a game settles on a DLC model, he explained what he sees as a separation between the model and actual monetization. “Our game teams are all thinking through, ‘What’s the engagement model to keep the consumer, to really entertain the consumer for a long period of time?’
“When you think about that, it’s not really the economics; the economics come afterward. There might be multiple models of ways to engage people.”
Speaking specifically to Madden’s Ultimate Team mode, a game mode that allows players to pay real money for players on a fantasy team, Jorgensen said, “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.”
Regardless of the payment model, “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.”
“I do think there’s a bit of consumer fatigue around feeling like they’re getting nickel and dimed all the time,” he admitted.
“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.”
Recently, EA detailed just what is in that unwieldy $50 season pass for Star Wars Battlefront, and the developer behind Need for Speed explained their commitment to not charging for new content. What do you think of EA’s take on ‘engagement’ and DLC? Let us know in the comments.