Freemium Models For Video Games — Coming To Annoy At A PC Near You?
from the trade-you-virtual-guns-for-virtual-butter dept
As we’ve noted before, Electronic Arts has already tested giving away games for free and selling virtual items to players for small fees. The business model works (in South Korea, at least) — and EA’s CEO is looking to expand this ‘freemium’ model to more and more games. According to the New York Times, EA CEO John Riccitiello is ramping up the strategy with the release of ‘Battlefront Heroes’ which will introduce ads and virtual goods to subsidize the free version of this online game. And Riccitiello is quoted, saying “I’ve always envied the movie industry when they put a film out in the cinema, then they go to retail with a different business model and then to pay television and then free TV. They have the same content reaching different audiences with different models, and we could never figure out a way to do that. Now with higher broadband penetration, we can use the technology to reach a broader audience.”
Hopefully, Riccitiello isn’t too envious of the movie industry, and EA has a longer term view for the future of its game production. An easy trap to fall into would be for EA to try to charge for every little thing, hindering the enjoyment of video games with annoying reminders to buy virtual ammo. On the other hand, EA could remember to treat gamers well and charge for its games in way that keeps players happy — but if 40% margins are the goal, the temptation to squeeze gamers for every microtransaction may prevent EA from playing nicely.