Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses PlayStation (Games) The Almighty Buck XBox (Games) Games

EA To Charge For Game Demos 313

Posted by Soulskill
from the gotta-stay-ahead-of-activision-as-the-most-evil-game-corp dept.
Kohato brings word of a new Electronic Arts marketing strategy that aims to start monetizing game demos. According to industry analyst Michael Patcher after an EA investor visit, the publisher will start selling "premium downloadable content" prior to a game's release for $10-$15 that is essentially a longer-than-usual demo. Patcher said, "I think that the plan is to release PDLC at $15 that has 3-4 hours of gameplay, so [it has] a very high perceived value, then [EA will] take the feedback from the community (press and players) to tweak the follow-on full game that will be released at a normal packaged price point." He also made reference to a comment from EA's CEO John Riccitiello that "the line between packaged product sales and digital revenues would soon begin to blur."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

EA To Charge For Game Demos

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 2010 @05:57PM (#31576108)

    Sounds better than $50 for 4 hours of gameplay. I'm looking at you, most games.

  • Paid Beta Program? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 2010 @05:59PM (#31576138)

    Am I reading this wrong, or is EA essentially trying to establish a paid beta program?

  • Shareware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dunezone (899268) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:02PM (#31576174) Journal

    the publisher will start selling "premium downloadable content" prior to a game's release for $10-$15 that is essentially a longer-than-usual demo

    So were going back to shareware?

  • by Werthless5 (1116649) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:04PM (#31576204)

    The point of a demo is to convince people to purchase your game. If you force people to also purchase the demo, then they'll likely not bother purchasing anything.

    The only effect this can have is a decrease in revenue for EA followed by some long-winded rants about "piracy is decreasing our revenue" when in actuality it's EA releasing poor-quality games and making boneheaded decisions like this one that are causing them to lose revenue.

  • EA as a comedian (Score:4, Insightful)

    by syousef (465911) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:05PM (#31576222) Journal

    I'm no hardcore gamer but to me the value of a demo has always been to decide whether or not I want to spend money. Am I showing my age or something? Because what is called monetising in the summary I call money grubbing. If EA are counting on this I think they'll likely implode. If they're not, well done on one of the best jokes I've heard in a long time. Bonus points if you can convince your developers that coding is a game, and get them to pay you for working 18 hour days 7 days a week.

  • Dammit, EA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:07PM (#31576256) Homepage

    You guys were doing so good...really making a turn around. You were starting to release big games without DRM (Dragon Age), You were showing that aquiring a company no longer meant dictating every facet of development (again, Dragon Age is a good example), you were gaining some great IP (Dead Space)...and then you go and do this shit.

    I was trying, EA. I really was. But this is making it very hard for me. If you take the money paid for these extended demos off the price of the full game, then ok...I'm behind you 100%. BUT. If it's just "pay for demo, pay full price for the full game"? I'm sorry EA...but I would be forced to abandon you.

    WHY CAN'T I QUIT YOU???

  • Re:Ha! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by apoc.famine (621563) <`apoc.famine' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:08PM (#31576262) Homepage Journal
    Not just that - it's getting fanboys to pay to be beta testers.

    EA has been off my list of companies to purchase from for years and years now. Shit like this does nothing to get them back on my list.
  • by mc moss (1163007) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:12PM (#31576336)

    I wonder if you actually played GT5: Prologue. It had more content than some finished racing games put out by other companies.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:13PM (#31576358) Homepage

    If it's as simple as that, then it seems ok. I fear, however, that it will be more like they'll charge you $15 for the demo, then $60 for the full game, then an additional $40 for all the DLC-- and if you were to add all of it together, you'd get the same amount of content that would have been in a $50 game 10 years ago.

    Maybe it's just paranoia, but I feel like the days of businesses being innovative to find a way to provide more to their customers is over. Now all the innovation is aimed at getting customers to pay more for less.

  • by pauls2272 (580109) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:14PM (#31576376)

    >The point of a demo is to convince people to purchase your game

    But this isn't a Demo. They are already milking the back end by selling DLC "addons" to the base product that were probably developed in tandem with the base product. Now they want to sell PDLC "addons" to the product by releasing bits of it early. I'd bet the programmers/developers won't use much if any feedback from the PDLC people as they will be too busy trying to get the base product out the door as well as the DLC content that is to be sold immediately after the base product.

    So, in some respects, it is ingenious. Prior to the DLC stuff, you had:

    "Base product" if that sold well then a lot of time later "expansion to base product"

    Now the business model is:

    "PDLC content reaps in big bucks", "base product (which gets smaller and smaller)" ,"DLC content "addons" reaps in more bucks"

    Next they will start charging you for character generation, Saves, multiplayer, etc...

  • Re:Shareware (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:17PM (#31576422)

    Someone forgot the time when you could BUY shareware in stores. Remember when the ONLY retail copy of Doom you could ever find was Episode 1?

  • by sbeckstead (555647) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:32PM (#31576610) Homepage Journal
    So they are selling the beta versions and then upping the price after you tell them how to fix it. Ok just like Microsoft's operating system strategy but with MS you don't get the cheap version first.
  • by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:33PM (#31576622) Homepage

    What happens if the DRM servers go down? I could spend 4 hours trying to activate the demo, by which the time has run out.

  • by SailorSpork (1080153) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:35PM (#31576654) Homepage

    Not paranoia, it's called "business model innovation." And if enough people wouldn't be willing to pay for it, EA wouldn't be doing it.

  • by sbeckstead (555647) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:35PM (#31576660) Homepage Journal
    It hadn't hurt Microsoft and they charge full price for their betas.
  • by Normal Dan (1053064) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:51PM (#31576848)
    Bah! I've got a marketing model that can blow both of these out of the water. I'm creating the most awesomest game in the whole wide world. It's name you ask? Well, that'll cost you $1.50. Would you like to hear more about it? That'll cost you $7.25. Wanna see the trailer?
  • Good luck! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Godji (957148) on Monday March 22, 2010 @07:09PM (#31577048) Homepage
    I believe I speak for many gamers when I say that I wouldn't play most of their finished games for free, so good luck trying to sell me a demo.
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday March 22, 2010 @09:06PM (#31578154) Homepage
    But that's the big problem isn't it. Why does it cost $50 million to create a game. It costs $50 million for a movie because some actors demand $20 million just to be in the movie. It's not like games programmers are asking for such large salaries. I've had more fun playing independant games on Wii Ware then I have playing some of the full on commercial games. Also, I think they take away a lot of the risk if they just made more $1 million games, and sold them for $10 a piece then to make a $50 million game and try to sell it for $60.
  • Re:Ha! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tsotha (720379) on Monday March 22, 2010 @09:11PM (#31578204)
    I don't think it's a fantastic idea at all. The whole point of a demo is to give people a taste of the game so they buy it. But you always risk giving them so much they have time to get tired of it. When it's free you can just give them enough to get hooked, but people paying fifteen bucks for a demo are going to expect something a bit more substantial. I think this is going to cost them sales if it does anything.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 2010 @11:26PM (#31579122)

    Sounds to me like they want to get beta testers and QA to pay them instead of the other way around. This is just as ridiculous as paying your boss for allowing you to work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 2010 @11:59PM (#31579290)

    That's four EA-hours, not four real-hours. It's kind of like the difference between [computer manufacturer] hours and real hours when discussing laptop battery life.

    Anyway, this is a dumb idea - it's sort of like trying to monetize TV commercials.

  • Re:Ha! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Schadrach (1042952) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @06:49AM (#31581194)

    Nope. This cannot and will not cost them sales in any way. Only piracy does that, and if this appears to, it just means that piracy is on the rise...

  • Re:Ha! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dfxm (1586027) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @09:52AM (#31582874)

    I don't think it's a fantastic idea at all. The whole point of a demo is to give people a taste of the game so they buy it. But you always risk giving them so much they have time to get tired of it. When it's free you can just give them enough to get hooked, but people paying fifteen bucks for a demo are going to expect something a bit more substantial. I think this is going to cost them sales if it does anything.

    I think it is fine, if, at the end of the day you can put that $10-15 toward the purchase of the full game and also use the save data from the demo in the full game. I would never replay the first few hours of a game, and I would also never pay for the same content twice.

    However, I might pay for a "try before you buy" type of deal where you really do get to try the game, and not just play 5-10 minutes.

  • Re:Dammit, EA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @10:47AM (#31583664)

    EA owns Bioware. A company can't dictate ANY terms to it's parent company. Convince them that it's a good idea to stay out of their affairs? Sure. But if EA chooses otherwise, Bioware has no choice either way.

EARTH smog | bricks AIR -- mud -- FIRE soda water | tequila WATER

Working...