In The Grim Darkness Of EA’s Future, There Are Only IAPs

Ed Balls

(I know we call ’em microtransactions not in-app purchases on PC, but John will almost definitely shout at me if I let the headline run onto two lines).

This doesn’t come as much suprise in light of what EA did to Dead Space 3, but there’s still a certain amount of gastric churn to be felt in response to an EA bossman’s public declaration that microtransactions will be a fixed feature of “all our games” from now on.

At a recent business conference (as reported by Develop, but the full transcript is available here), EA’s Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen revealed that “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.”

Obviously there’s a a large degree of generalisation in there, and thus there might well be exceptions and certainly variations, but yeah, that’s the course they’re sticking to. And while you might not be “enjoying and embracing that way of the business”, the trouble is this stuff is making money – and more than likely that’s EA’s interest far above and beyond making the best games possible.

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.

Take, for example, the earlier claim that “Last quarter, we did over $25 million in Simpsons business alone.” EA’s Simpsons business essentially consists of free-to-play mobile title The Simpsons: Tapped Out. So we can shout and stamp all we like, but we’re not going to turn that particular ship around.

Unless, of course, it turns out to be a fad, as were the Facebook games EA also invested heavily in. I suspect not, though. The option to acquire games for free will hold a long-lasting appeal to a lot of people, even if your and my preferred means of delivery is the up-front fee for a complete product.

The questions, I think, are two-fold – 1) to what extent will other publishers follow suit? 2) Will we see something like Dead Space 4 or FIFA 2014 be launched as free-to-play? Probably yes, given they’re already doing that with Command & Conquer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for multiplayer – TF2, Tribes Ascend and League of Legends do a decent job of it after all, relatively speaking  – hopefully lessons can be learned from those, and not merely from overtly cynical stuff like Tapped Out. The trouble really arises when microtransaction shenanigans play a major role in singleplayer games/modes.

By which I mean that if you thought EndingGate was bad, you should probably brace yourself for what happens in the event EA pull this kind of stunt in Mass Effect 4.


  1. DanPryce says:

    “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.”

    I hope I can buy a truck in the next Madden game.

    • chewbaccasdad says:

      My defensive line will consist entirely of heavy goods vehicles, and I’ll have a unicycle as my wide receiver.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        You wouldn’t download a car
        Wait. Yes we would, apparently.
        Piracy is a crime.
        Microtransactions, which probably should be, aren’t. Lets STAMP THEM OUT.

        • Azdeus says:


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        • transientmind says:

          I wish I could get a friend to burn me a copy of their car.

          I imagine that if that were possible, car piracy would be way, way up. On the plus side, car theft would be super low to non-existent.

          Car manufacturers would hate it though. They don’t care about car theft, see. If someone’s car got stolen, they already bought one, see? And the odds are pretty good they’re likely to buy another one soon. Winnah!

          • smb says:

            They do care, apparently. To the point where getting an extra key requires special programming by some manufacturers (for a fee, of course) so that the key will actually work with the car. I believe there’s a similar system for replacing some car stereos too.

            Just you wait, soon enough you’ll be required to swipe your driver’s license to even start it, let alone sell it used or for parts.

    • frenz0rz says:

      I hope I can buy a gun in the next Madden game.

  2. nimzy says:

    Color me surprised, after the title I was expecting some sort of announcement that the new Warhammer game is going to have microtransactions. Which it probably will, if Dawn of War and Space Marine are any indication.

    • Josh04 says:

      “Microtransactions” wouldn’t exactly be a new direction for a Warhammer game though, would it?

    • Werthead says:

      I thought Sega had now bought the WARHAMMER licence and the next WARHAMMER game was going to be a title from Creative Assembly? Or does EA still have the rights to do something WARHAMMER-related?

      • Grey Ganado says:

        I think Sega bought the Warhammer 40k License when they bought Relic.
        And the next Warhammer game is supposed to be by Sega and Creative Assembly if Wikipedia is to be believed.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          Nope. The W40k license rights was bought by THQ, not Relic. So, while SEGA have secured the rights for Warhammer: Fantasy Battle, they do not have the rights for W40k. It would make sense for them to acquire the 40k rights, though.

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        Warhammer and Warhammer 40K are separate licenses.

    • rokahef says:

      Considering the average price of a Games Workshop miniature, they certainly wouldn’t be “Micro” transactions.

  3. sinister agent says:

    Uh oh. This is going to be a messy one. Nothing else for it.

    Come, friends. Join your friendly local agent in the comment bunker. Here we shall be safe, unflamed, and we shall outlive the very earth.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      I take offense to your comment, and your bunker

      • fnkstr says:

        thank you gentlemen for giving evidence to the prolonged existence of internet comments worth the paper on which they are not printed.

        to the matter at hand: shall we bury then what little hope there ever was for the comeback of W&Z with a worth-while gun-totery?

      • transientmind says:

        The outrage is coming… from inside the bunker!

    • solidsquid says:

      ‘scuse me, just stocking up the bunker. Mind if I put this can of petrol next to the blowtorch and fire lighters?

      • SuicideKing says:

        That’ll be £1, please, for the blow-torch. Another £2 if you want more petrol.

  4. Dowson says:

    Well this is great, because I assume the games will be highly discounted on release to around the £15 mark and as a non-casual gamer I won’t have need for these optional mechanics.


    • Gargenville says:

      I’m sure they wouldn’t pull some dick move like requiring hundreds of hours of your time to unlock things or remind you of exciting new deals during every loading screen and select cinematics!

      • DeVadder says:

        Maybe you should just not play games you do not enjoy then?
        Personally, i am not opposed to MT if done well, like SMITE, LoL, T:A and many others. It allows me to play with friends who do not enjoy the game enough to buy it upfront while in those games i can spend less than i would normally pay for a AAA title to be perfectly on par with everyone.
        However i absolutely despise games where you can actually buy advantage and where more money means more advantage even after having spent like 10€. And i would just not play them…
        Last example of the second kind i actually touched (before it was implemented) was Battlefield Heroes.

        edit: Hmm, was the post edited while i typed? Can i not read? Anyways, no offense intended.

        • Corb says:

          here’s the problem, they’re going to probably get rid of dlc and instead take every new map/gun/character/object that they can possibly turn into a $10 purchase per item that would have been a full $10 dlc pack and call them “microtransactions”, and put them into a game you already paid $60..but wait! There’s more! They’ll probably add unneccessary gear grinds to everything to give you “motivation” to purchase stuff already in the game!
          tl;dr; so yeah, we are going to get screwed by MT’s being in $60 games (or w/e new gen price) where they shouldn’t be. Now if only the world would boycott EA or somehow make EA stock kill itself.

        • mmalove says:

          I’m on the fence with that whole “buy an advantage” bit. I guess I’m ok with it when there’s a reasonable alternative in game mechanism to reach an equal power level, and not so much when it’s a case of “gold ammo” so to speak, outperforming any reward from actually playing the game and inevitably rendering all in game resources as meaningless. I think the best implementation of a payment system is like guild wars 2 did, where you can buy gems with gold, or gold with gems, with a conversion fee. Thus nothing is out of reach of in game resources for players that want to play for free, and the game developers can maximize their return on the profitable market for virtual good purchasing, which otherwise ends up filled by 3rd parties (IE gold sellers).

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        EA is the Ryanair of gaming

    • Nim says:

      Nope, let’s just monetize fan made trainers and hacks.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      From the talk, the games are going to be even more expensive for “Next Gen” (i.e. next gen marketing and graphics). Apparently $69 for a new game (bog-standard edition) is going to be the new $60.

  5. DK says:

    Fuck you EA. And don’t you fucking dare buying Lot 2 of the THQ-is-dead sale.

    • Njordsk says:

      Don’t wanna pay a buck or two for a new harvester?


      • Hoaxfish says:

        Stop being silly, EA knows Homeworld is ripe to be rebooted as a bald spacemarine FPS.

        • The Random One says:

          Like they did with Syndicate, which didn’t make a lot of money because it didn’t have microtransactions.

        • transientmind says:

          Why all the hate for bald space marines? Most of them look like (somewhat roided up versions of) me (especially the bald part), and I really fancy fantasizing about myself as a space marine! Moar bald space marines, please. Roight up my alley.

          • aepervius says:

            Because bald space marine hunk with wide shoulder and the uncanny ability to stomp on everything is so 1980. In the mean time we moved on (we are more into the normal-person-put-in-a-bad-stituation-and -barely-get-out-alive, or even in the normal person meet wizard/caster/sparkly vampire/aliens phase), and 30 years later the games did not. They are still stuck in the mega testosterone hyper soldier space marine phase.

      • omicron1 says:

        Don’t worry; I’m building a “spiritual successor.”
        It shall be set in the near future and feature Battlestar-style crew interaction alongside a heavy focus on emergent narrative, long-term faction customization, and the way even the best of sociopolitical ideals fall prey to human greed and anger.
        Oh, and probably a spaceship or two.

        But… I don’t think EA will take Homeworld. They haven’t touched space strategy in ever. I think it’ll either be Stardock (where Ironclad will take it over) or Sega (to give back to poor orphaned Relic).

      • Corb says:

        ….for the honor of my childhood I would begin going old school agent 47 on every employee of EA starting from the top management down.

  6. chewbaccasdad says:

    And the only suitable response is to not buy into it. Don’t play the games that have ridiculous pay-to-win aspects, and don’t buy ‘in app’ for those that don’t.

    Which is definitely something that will happen…

    • Dowson says:

      Not that hard, I think I bought 2 EA games since 2010, they don’t produce many interesting games any more.

      Though even if they were found out to be the actual puppet masters behind North Korea, and also ran by Hitler, I’d still break any boycott for Mirrors Edge 2.

      • StranaMente says:

        Mirror’s edge 2 announced, pay 5$ for the Run pack! and 12$ for jumping!
        Rolling is on-disc dlc.
        The game is a third person shooter.

        • Hoaxfish says:

          $20 for in-game Air Jordan shoes.

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          And Faith is now a trained marine. No more shoddy weapon skills and having to pull off disarms!

        • Premium User Badge

          particlese says:

          Preorder now for an exclusive falling cutscene.

          • transientmind says:

            As preorders come in and hit nebulous, undefined promotional targets, we’ll gradually unlock extra ‘rewards’ for our preorders! A new skin for the courier bag. TF2’s scout will get arm and eye tattoos, and a Mirror’s Edge courier bag. ‘Faith’ skin for use in DICE’s other game: BF4 (no parkour skills included). And the penultimate reward… a free copy of Mirror’s Edge 1!

      • lijenstina says:

        Pay to win the right to pay again for something you’ve paid only once in the past.
        And, of course, Mirror’s edge.

  7. goldrunout says:

    It all depends on what is sold. If it’s just esthetics (look at tf2 and dota2) than it’s fine, if it’s pay to win or pay to play somewhere (maps..) than it’s not.
    I wonder how they wanna add IAPs to BF.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Given they way EA are implementing microtransactions in their current games, the chances of them being limited to aesthetic items is slim to none.

      Microtransactions are simply an excuse to cut material from vanilla versions of games in order to make even more money. They provide no meaningful benefit to anyone but the publishers.

      • GiantPotato says:

        Microtransactions are a way to monetize game assets, so they can rely less on the success of the games themselves. I see it less as an attempt to make money (although it also does that) and more as an attempt to make the games market less volatile for large publishers.

        So I can see why the CFO of EA would interpret a few promising signs as buyers “enjoying and embracing” microtransactions. But that’s such a suspect statement to make at this point that you can just see EA overplaying this whole thing in the near future.

    • Koozer says:

      *fills Mr. Fusion with broken dreams*

      My god, we gotta do something about these in-app purchases! I have seen the future, on these ‘iPad’ devices, and it is terrible!

    • Corb says:

      Look at Dead Space 3, BF3, and look at their mutated babies…there, is where you will find your answer.

    • Sam says:

      There’s already some degree of microtransactions in BF3, as they allow you to pay to unlock all the piles of things that you are constantly unlocking when playing multiplayer. Importantly they didn’t activate the pay to unlock until the game had been out for a while, so there wasn’t a time where only people who paid extra had certain guns.
      ..except there were various retailer-specific preorder bonuses which gave early access to some stuff.

      Ah, video games. If one thing’s for certain, they’re sold in more convoluted ways than washing powder (reference to the wrong Big Corporation, but oh well).

  8. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    Your headline is incorrect because there will be up front costs AS WELL as IAPs.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      Don’t forget a monthly “premium” service option, so that they can pull “we only give a fuck about our investors” trifecta.

      • BooleanBob says:

        … as well as retailer-exclusive DLC, platform-exclusive DLC, and retailer-exclusive platform-exclusive DLC.

        All of which has exclusive IAP.

  9. InternetBatman says:

    They can try it. They’ll constantly be competing for eyes though, so they best have good enough games to back up the increased hassle.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Personally I think BF3 is a great game and I had a lot of fun playing it, but even the beginnings of these sort of economics soured it for me. I don’t even miss the game at this point.
      I am hoping this strategy fails.

  10. Gargenville says:

    Oh EA, you want the title of most reviled publisher back from Activision that badly?

  11. Borklund says:

    Alright people, it’s real fucking simple.

    Do. Not. Buy. Anything. In-game.

    • x1501 says:

      I see we’ve got a real consumer advocate here. What would be your advice on dealing with a used Band-Aid or a severed finger found in some chain-restaurant food? “Just. Spit. It. Out.”?

      • Chris D says:

        We find consumers appreciate and are excited about the opportunity to ingest unidentified human tissue as part of their meal.

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          NO ONE eats food without human parts in it anymore. We revolutionised The Dinner Time Meal by removing the need for non-cannibalistic ingredients, and now no one eats without them.

        • Deadite says:

          Mmm soylent green

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            In the movie, John Walker will be played by Charlton Heston, and the sad denouement of the picture will be the moment when our hero is contemptuously ignored as he screams “MOUSE AND KEYBOARD. THEY’RE USING MOUSE AND KEYBOARD”

        • MrLebanon says:

          it’s comments like these that remind me not to read RPS comments at work. I just laughed ridiculously loud

    • Phantoon says:

      I’ll make it even more simple.

      Do not buy or play EA games.

      • pupsikaso says:

        I’ve been doing that for the past 6 years. I don’t think it’s made even a dent.

      • MrLebanon says:

        which will lead EA to believe the PC is a dead market :P

        • Corb says:

          good, it’ll make room for a new PC only publisher to step in.

        • Berious says:

          With the zillions of indies pumping out interesting games these days one big publisher flouting with their gold plated crap wouldn’t be a huge loss. Better to punish the trend for P2P + microtransactions than see it infect everywhere with pay for crippled titles and pay again to unlock the fun that’s inevitable without consumer pushback.

      • solidsquid says:

        If the games are free but with micropayments then play them, but don’t buy the MP content. That way they’re seeing people playing games and adding to server loads, but the micropayments aren’t making them money, so (hopefully) they switch back to the old model

    • TormDK says:

      I just purchased 1600 BioWare points that I’ll spend on Premium Spectre Packs in Mass Effect 3 multiplayer out of spite for that comment.

      Unless you are my mother, and I’m consider a minor at the age of 33 in the country where I live, then you do not get to tell me what I can and cannot spend my Money on.

      If EA does IAP like in Mass Effect 3, or Dead Space 3 – where the content is completely optional and where we can play the game to get the same effect. Then I have no problem what so ever with it happening, and will likely actively use that option.

      Money I have, time to grind I do not. Deal with it if EA wants to cater to my segment.

  12. TheApologist says:

    Stop complaining! Don’t turn on poor old EA. If you don’t like micro-transactions, don’t use the in-game shop!

    (And at the same time, learn to ignore design choices like more grinding, balancing levels to create difficulty spikes conveniently near a shop etc. etc.)

  13. Narzhul says:

    I’ve long suspected BF3 would be my last EA game, and it doesn’t seem like I’ll be proven wrong anytime soon.

    • King_Rocket says:

      With the knowledge that bf4 was just around the corner I had been on the fence on if i should consider buying it when it comes out as a longtime fan, now its a no sale for sure. series has been going backwards since bf2 anyway.

      • Premium User Badge

        Nathan says:

        You’ve been put off by what news? That there’s a company wide policy to include microtransactions in every game, or just that BF4 in particular will? BF3 included microtransactions from launch, and it doesn’t seem to have wrecked that.

      • Premium User Badge

        Joshua says:

        … But BF4 is not coming out for another year. It’s release date is now March 2014.

        And yeah, BF3 had microtransactions (Physical warfare pack anyone?). The fact that you have forgotten this is a good indicator on how much they actually mattered.

  14. SominiTheCommenter says:

    Why the big quote, why?

    OT, just business as usual for EA. Zynga is going down the drain, but EA believes it’s better than them. Poor sods.

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      I hope RPS doesnt starting putting these in as standard. I think they really break the flow of things, are distracting, and the information in them is already contained in the article.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        Maybe RPS should take out the quotes and allow us to purchase them if we want them.

        • Phendron says:

          You got it backwards, RPS needs to charge us to remove them.

          In the next Madden, EA will have the crowd throw rocks at your team unless you buy the ‘Placid Crowd’ DLC.

    • Ricc says:

      I don’t see a point in the quotes either, except for people that just want to skim the article and jump straight to the comments section… Which is not a great thing, is it?

      Well, all the popular sites are doing it, but I don’t think the quotes fit very well with the RPS layout or style of writing. Just my opinion.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        Yep, they’d need a wider design if they really want floating quotes like that.

    • Core says:

      I am only surprised that it took this long for them to start implementing microtransactions in all their titles. Since Riccitello already made clear in 2011, that he want’s to charge people money if they want to reload their guns in games or such like. link to

      • Premium User Badge

        Nathan says:

        It hasn’t taken them this long, they’ve already been doing microtransactions for years across various titles and franchises (Sims 3, BF3, FIFA, NFS…)

    • solidsquid says:

      I don’t mind the quotes, but the drop shadow on them just completely breaks the flow of the article

  15. Brosepholis says:

    Well now, it’s an EA flamebait article. I will certainly be reading all of the well-reasoned, balanced comments sure to be found in this thread.

    • LintMan says:

      Well, if you think that EA is smart and doing the right thing, why don’t you say why, instead of expecting others to do so for you?

  16. Wisq says:

    This is excellent news. Blizzard will finally have some company in my “do not buy” list. Plus I guess it turns out I’ll never actually have to give in and install Origin after all.

  17. Spinks says:

    I feel my enthusiasm for DA3 kind of waning.

  18. Splynter says:

    I have the image of Mr. Jorgensen as a wrestler in the WWE, where his catch-phrase whenever he beats an opponent is “You shoulda payed to win, bitch”! I’m, uh, unsure why that’s where my mind went.

    On topic, why would anybody be surprised? This is the company that also stated they would not be making any pure singleplayer games anymore. They’re a business, not a group of people interested in advancing the ‘art’ of videogames, whatever that may mean. I don’t like it, but hey, EA making a decision based only on business is nothing shocking.

  19. BrianEvol says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. I recently purchased Battlefield 3 for my PC after playing it extensively on my 360. Starting over kind of sucks, so I was happy to be able to pay a few bucks to unlock the CO-OP weapons shortcut.
    Microtransactions can be really well done (Battlefield where it is entirely optional, you’ll unlock the things anyway. Or Dawn of War where you pay for special army customizations) or be really awful.

    Also, McDUCKFACE?

  20. MOKKA says:

    The biggest problems I have with ingame microtransactions is that, to some degree, you have to design your game around them to give people an incentive to use them. This of course turns those game more and more into being just ‘products’ instead of creative works. Which is a bad thing for everyone involved building these things, as their talents get flushed down the toilet for some kind of soulles piece of crap. But this was the road EA and other AAA Publishers were going down anyway for the last couple of years so it’s not that suprising.

    • captain nemo says:

      (best comment so far)

    • Arglebargle says:

      EA has become the Michael Bay of game companies: They produce lots of flash and bang, but the best you can hope for their games is that they scale the heights of mediocre.

      They’ve also fired so many of my friends and acquaintences that I don’t want to give them even a red cent. Given the quality of their on-going productions, that’s getting easier and easier to do.

    • Zarunil says:

      Spot on! This is exactly why games saddled with microtransactions usually stink.

    • solidsquid says:

      Couple of years?

  21. Snargelfargen says:

    It’d be interesting to see what kind of profits EA is aiming for. If the Mass Effect series is any indication, they expect their customers to spend about $100 after dlc.

    Considering EA’s habit of pumping out sequels and discontinuing multiplayer for older games, I don’t think we’ll see anything resembling League of Legends where the microtransactions are tailored to retaining a large playerbase. They’re operating on the assumption that it’s ultimately more profitable to push out successive games featuring enough microtransactions to bring the game’s “real” price up to a certain point.

    • TormDK says:

      If anything EA needs to do MORE like ME3 multiplayer, where IAP is completely optional, and where the content you buy can be gotten by playing the game.

      In fact, EA needs to do more like ME3 multiplayer period. It’s been getting free maps, classes and weapons for a full year and is still pretty popular. If other titles got that kind of support I’d be a happy camper.

  22. Froztwolf says:

    “By which I mean that if you thought EndingGate was bad, you should probably brace yourself for what happens in the event EA pull this kind of stunt in Mass Effect 4.”

    I’d just like to point out that they already did this in Mass Effect 3. The multiplayer is very heavy on consumables and random loot crates, which can be obtained either through gameplay or microtransactions.

    It’s actually a good example of how a good implementation can be good for a game, rather than detract from it.

    • Phantoon says:

      It’s strange when we’ve entered the era when moving things away from simplicity and not actively punishing new people.

      Quake Arena never punished you for being new. The other players sure as hell could, though.

    • LintMan says:

      “It’s actually a good example of how a good implementation can be good for a game, rather than detract from it.”

      Personally, I thought EA screwing single player ME3 players by halving their “war readiness” or whatever that was called, unless they played online MP, in order to expose more people to their microtransaction model, was a heaping pile of bullshit. Definitely not a benefit for the game.

  23. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    So it’s ok to forget about the holy achievements when it comes to microtransactions, but not when you want to change difficulty mid-game?

    And I’ll say it again, why on Earth can’t they just give us cheats in a single-player game?

    • LintMan says:

      Well, clearly, modern gamers enjoy and embrace paying for ites in-game and expect to be able to do so. Getting those items for free with a cheat code just wouldn’t be the same. (It wouldn’t be the same, in the sense that EA wouldn’t be making any money off it, then.)

      • Corb says:

        Get your cheats here! $10 for a 3-day use infinite ammo! $50 for god mode!!!!!! Act now and we’ll give you a 25% discount making our automatic-beat level cheat only $90!! (that’s a whole whopping $30 savings!)

        • solidsquid says:

          And as a special treat, for today only at the low low price of $299.95, we’re offering you a downloadable save game file with saves just before all relevant plot cutscenes. Play your game just like a movie!

  24. The Sombrero Kid says:

    The day EA stopped making money.

  25. bleeters says:

    Welp, I guess I’m still not buying any of EA’s games for the considerable future.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I stopped after Crysis 2, and have no desire to really go back unless Crysis 3 comes out discounted on Steam.

  26. Tuor says:

    Since I have a policy of never buying incomplete games (where they remove/withhold things from the released product), it looks like I won’t be buying anymore games from EA.

    A pity.

  27. MeatMan says:

    “Will we see something like Dead Space 4 or FIFA 2014 be launched as free-to-play? Probably yes, given they’re already doing that with Command & Conquer.”

    I seriously doubt it. Judging by the direct quote, it sounds like more of what they did with Dead Space 3, i.e. microtransactions in $60 games. I don’t see EA converting their profitable franchises into free-to-play games with microtransactions.

    In other words, your choice of image to use on this article is quite appropriate.

  28. Premium User Badge

    Nathan says:

    What games recently haven’t allowed transactions in some form?

    Either way, this is something that I struggle to care about: microtransactions are either attached to a good game or a poor one, I don’t think they intrinsically effect the quality of the product. (of course, they can be poorly implemented, but it seems regressive to argue against a feature because it could be implemented poorly).

    Sports games like FIFA are arguably those that would benefit most from microtransactions if they could turn the games into a platform and deprecate the yearly releases (they won’t, of course, and FIFA’s stuff is already incredibly popular).

    • LintMan says:

      “I don’t think they intrinsically effect the quality of the product”

      They absolutely effect the quality of the product. They do so because previously things like game difficulty and balance, speed of leveling/advancement, item acquisition rate , and many other game mechanics were all just purely “game fun” considerations by the developer. Now, all of those things are part of the monetization scheme. If the publisher makes money on people paying to avoid level grinding in the game, what do you want to bet there will be a whole lot of level grinding in the game. In Banner Saga Factions, it turns out that you can’t even earn renown points (their grind currency) if you’re playing in private/friends matches; that would apparently make it too easy to avoid paying for them.

      And the same with all the other microtransaction and monetization stuff. Why do you have to grind to earn your weapons in every shooter these days? Why is it so much more rewarding to just buy the item you need at the aution house in D3, instead of adventuring for it?

      • cliffski says:

        Exactly. The rate at which weapons and abilities are unlocked in battlefield 3 is laughably slow. I’ve played over 100 hours of that game and still haven’t unlocked everything, and I’m not a total FPS n00b by any standards.
        There is no doubt the game was made deliberately ‘grindy’ to allow them to sell the option to skip the grind.
        Imagine novelists deliberately adding boring chapters to books which you could pay extra to ship. it sounds insane, and it is, and it shouldn’t be considered less insane in a game.

        • Premium User Badge

          Nathan says:

          Then I guess I just don’t agree with you in the same way that BF3’s pay-to-unlock stuff is wholly bad. As long as I don’t feel disadvantaged without those unlocks, this isn’t something that bothers me. This has been my experience in both TF2 and BF3, both games which feel fair and balanced regardless of what load-out I’m running with (I haven’t been at BF3 for 100 hours, so perhaps issues can rear their head at that level of familiarity, but it doesn’t have issues on the scale of Tribes’).

          I’m not even sure if BF3’s grindy unlocks can necessarily be ascribed to microtransactions; didn’t the trend begin to emerge before the sale of unlock bundles as a cheap attempt by the developer to extend the life of the game’s multiplayer by giving the player a better sense of progression?

  29. downgrade says:

    If things are unreasonably priced I have always found it easy to ignore them in games. Be it full-on DLC packs or smaller MT-items. Just let me play my single player in peace without the need to buy extra stuff.

    I really hope they just stick to the Dead Space 3 scheme. Pay for a lazy advantage, play and get everything anyway.

    Sim City is probably going to be a really bad DLC- fest, though.

    • Corb says:

      They’ll probably force ad billboards for other EA products into your city and make you pay $5 dollars to get rid of them.

  30. Fox89 says:

    If this were something I could happily ignore in game without any in-game penalty, I would not care one jot about this. Unfortunately, the chances of me being to ignore this in-game are basically non-existent.

    When you introduce micro-transactions into things like resource gathering mechanics, the aim of the game balance design moves away from “giving the player just enough”, to “not giving the player quite enough”. In a free-to-play game I accept this because – hey, it’s free, if I want the properly paced experience I can fork out for some resources/XP boosts and so on. In a full price game, however, I have already paid for my fun. And every second I am frustrated by that boss who is just a “bit too hard” without paying for that new gun, or bored by ten minutes of resource farming because I just don’t have “quite enough” to build that thing I need, is a second that the game has failed in its purpose to entertain me.

    Some developers will be able to dodge all the mines in this here field and create well paced, well balanced game where you genuinely don’t notice or care about the mico-transactions. But do EA own any studios skilled enough to walk that line? Hmm…

  31. RedViv says:

    I don’t mind DLC, I don’t mind expansions, as long as they are quality stuff – but “microtransactions” of this manner have, at least as far as I’ve seen, only been used to really cash in on the people who already used their money to buy a product.
    So this can turn out ME3, or Dead Space 3. Let’s hope for the former.

    • Ruffian says:

      ?? I may be missing something but the micro-transactions in DS3, at least in my experience, (on like chapter 7) are something you literally never have to see once.

      • RedViv says:

        It’s certainly not the worst use of microtransactions ever, but the stalling method (as known from browser construction games) seems to me, while not yet really bad but still very much flow breaking, a sounding of the player acceptance, with likely worse things to come.

  32. DickSocrates says:

    As predicted by Nostradamus, EA killed video gaming in pursuit of a fast buck.

    It’s run by people with no soul, no heart, no compassion, no empathy, nothing good about them at all. Evil corporate assholes who are my diametric opposite. Even if they somehow produced a game I really wanted, I wouldn’t buy it, in the same way I wouldn’t buy a movie made by members of the KKK (though there is admittedly less chance of them making something I’d be interested in). It’s easy to not support something when you’ve worked out why and you put your principles above your short term gratification. Assuming you have any principles.

    Most of you who claim to be angry will go ahead and lap up their next serving of hot **** anyway. Have some bottle, some resolve next time and boycott. The only power they have over us is the power we give them. And we seem to be giving them infinite power to **** us up our collective ********. Maybe we shouldn’t be doing that? They won’t stop pushing and taking the maximum piss out of us until we stand up to them. So that’s never.

  33. pupsikaso says:

    You know, back in the day we had “cheats” for games, or “trainers” to do all this kind of stuff like increasing your level or what not. Those things were free (unless you bought those Playstation memory cards that had cheats on them). And seeing as how the average player is unable to finish the game on easy mode cheats are pretty popular… no wonder EA decided to try and sell the cheats =/

    But what happens when someone makes a trainer for an EA game that has micro-transactions in it? Are they going to be facing legal action from EA? And what about players that just exploit bugs or simple game design (farming certain content to get rich quickly, for example), would the players also be somehow punished?

    • Ruffian says:

      This is my real worry with this issue as well.

      • LintMan says:

        I’ve thought about this, too. My guess is EA will move as much of it online as possible and put in all sorts of cheat detection, to make the hacking more difficult.

    • Azdeus says:

      There are already people selling trainers, you can get a freebie unlimited ammo one, but have to pay for everything else. There are even MMO trainers from what I can tell, that are sold.

  34. slerbal says:

    Great! I’d already decided that I didn’t really want to install Origin on my computer, nor play always-on single player games, though there was always the chance that I might be tempted, but IAP/Microtransactions make me sure that I won’t be buying any EA games.

    IAPs pretty much killed Android gaming for me, I won’t let it do the same to PC gaming, though of course I realise that I am not exactly representative. In fact according to the games industry (which I used to be part of) I am an outlier.

    I like games that are considered “commercial failures” like System Shock 2, Homeworlds 1& 2, Silent Storm, SWAT 4, Jagged Alliance 2, Thief & Thief 2 the list goes on and on. There are of course mainstream “successful” games I like, but sometimes I get the feeling that the mere act of me liking a game is a death knell :D

    So I am actually genuinely pleased as my resolve won’t waver. My bank account will thank me for it. I’m an outlier and proud! :)

  35. Cytrom says:

    It just boggles my mind how can theese monster publishers survive in the market with theese terrible anti-consumer practices.
    In any other business the participants would try compete with each other by trying to make better quality base products, more extras, better marketing. But the gaming industry can not only survive, but flourish doing just the opposite: Who can cut the base product slimmer, who can sell more cut content, who can restrict their consumers more, and just extract as much money as possible without even caring to try and hide their real motives. EA can shit on its customers face in broad daylight and the peons keep on paying happily. It makes no sense.

    • Azdeus says:

      You just made me think of drug users. Congratulations, you’ve finally converted me to thinking games are addictive!

      A heroin user will keep on crawling back to you for more of your diluted product, for the same or higher price. And they’ll bitch slap you aswell while selling you your dope! And you’ll like it!

  36. SuperNashwanPower says:

    £6.50 to access Graphics Settings

    • x1501 says:

      Stop giving them ideas, man…

    • Cytrom says:

      According to ‘fake made up statistics by some console developers who make terrible console ports for pc’ only about 5 percent of “gamers” actually look into the options menu or acknowledge its existence.. so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if one of theese bastards would pull a move like this within 1-2 years, selling a more expensive “pro edition” of a game for “power users” that has an options menu as a priviledge.

      Scarily realistic possibility.

      • TormDK says:

        Why do you think Nvidia made a whole new program to help customers with optimising games? (link to

        You and I are a vocal minority, nothing more. Our way of gaming is not the norm.

    • c-Row says:

      Plus 99p each time you click on “Apply”.

      • solidsquid says:

        Only after you purchase an “Apply” button for $20, otherwise you need to manually edit the config files, start the game so it can upload the config file and verify with the EA servers that you only edited the sections your permitted to and block your access to the game if you edited anything else

        edit: also, bullets have a base cost of 1p and use the caliber and rate of fire for the gun as multipliers

  37. domogrue says:

    They should’ve done this during their run with the Sims 3, gotten it out of their system, then moved on.

    I don’t know if the game industry has always had these levels of self-delusion, or if its a new thing. But I feel like this is a buzzword at its most dangerous: “_______ IS MAKING US $25 MILLION SO WE MUST PUT IT IN EVERYTHING SO EVERYTHING CAN MAKE $25 MILLION”.


  38. Adekan says:

    Haven’t bought any EA games since Origin came out. Will continue to not buy any EA games. Not really a hard choice for me, given they make very little that interests me.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      The great thing about PC is that its open platform, and so many other developers are producing quality, inventive titles that we don’t really lose much by counting EA out of our list. Especially with Greenlight and Kickstarter, its a platform that is growing and evolving, giving PC gamers access to a massive, diverse choice.

      Yes, EA have probably placed themselves out of the affections of many, but we haven’t really lost that much. Old popular IP’s have already been milked and dried up, there are hundreds of new ones to be invented. So yes the loss of EA as a publisher for me is no big thing at all.

  39. Vinraith says:

    That’s a shame. EA (or rather, the developers they’ve got chained in their basement) still make some excellent games, but it’s getting harder and harder to wade through all the bullshit to get to them.

  40. Azhrarn says:

    Well, that significantly reduces the odds of me purchasing an EA game in the future. :)

    Not that I’d boycott them entirely, in a good enough game I can probably look past it, but won’t be picking up much in sales on impulse. That much is certain.

  41. El_MUERkO says:

    I’ve bought the last few FIFA games in sales, they’re OK but forgettable, bought BF3 but ditched it once premium killed the non-premium owning player-base.

    ARMA3 is far more interesting to me than BF4, Sim City looks nice in motion but sounds more like a Facebook ‘Sim Small-Town’ knock-off on paper and there’s noting else I care about in their future.

    So, no money earned from me. No doubt they’ll blame piracy for any reduction in sales.

  42. Dariune says:

    Well, it’s a shame but I can honestly say I havent bought a game published by EA since 2009 (Except Dragon Age:Origins and ME2) and am still boycotting them. This announcement just reinforces my personal belief that EA are doing their best to taint my hobby.

    I have heard the arguments that disagree with boycotting a company but I honestly feel that EA is a stain in what is otherwise a great way to have fun. I understand people’s reasons for buying EA games, I even respect them but in this instance, I do wish more people agreed with me and didn’t buy their games.

    • hlm2 says:

      Do you understand how nonsensical that first sentence is? YOU CANNOT HONESTLY SAY YOU HAVEN’T BOUGHT AN EA GAME SINCE 2009, BECAUSE YOU BOUGHT TWO EA GAMES SINCE 2009….

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Everyone who boycotts a company does so until that company makes something they really, really want. Good example:

        “There is no way Origin is going on my compOH MY GOD BATTLEFIELD 3 IS OUT”

        • Azdeus says:

          I really would like a like button like now. Reminds me of the people that were “boycotting” Modern Warfare 2. On releaseday more than half of them were playing… MW2.

      • Dariune says:

        Your right. I should have read that back to myself before posting. Anyway, the point remains. And no, I don’t think I will buy another EA game. When I bought the two aforementioned games, I wasn’t boycotting their games, I just didn’t like most of what they release.

        The last couple of years, I have been going out of my way to leave their games alone. In my mind there are plenty of games to play (Depending on how much time you spend playing) so I don’t NEED to play their games.

        And it doesn’t take much willpower to not buy something.

  43. skalpadda says:

    How about if, for the sake of headline space and everyone’s sanity, we stop calling them “in-app purchases” or “microtransactions” and come up with something more succinct, descriptive and to the point? Like the C-word?

  44. noodlecake says:

    If Mass Effect goes totally the way of microtransactions then I wont buy it. I loved the Mass Effect series, regardless of some rather obtuse people’s opinions on aspects of the series but I won’t support this kind of business practice.

  45. Koozer says:

    If anyone wants to know what future EA games will be like, direct your iDevice to Theme Park on the app store. WARNING: only do this if you are sound of mind and not already suffering from depression.

    • SpiceTheCat says:

      Or the brand new Real Racing 3. Although a racing game where you can pay real money to have your car serviced does have some kind of genius to it. A dark twisted genius, admittedly.

  46. sabasNL says:

    I tolerate full-priced games and DLC purchases, but this is becoming ridiculous….

  47. Strangerator says:

    “Attention moronic customers. It has come to our attention that you continually buy our products, despite how blatantly we insult your intelligence. We’d just like to inform you that the trend of decreasing quality with increasing cost will continue, since we are making tons of money from this practice. We appreciate you dedicating your remaining two brain cells to playing our games, and we promise never to make our games something you cannot enjoy.”

  48. MacTheGeek says:

    Coming from EA in 2014: Johnny LongTorso, The Game.