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EA Building Microtransactions Into All of Its Future Games 303

An anonymous reader writes "Develop reports on comments from Blake Jorgensen, Electronic Arts' Chief Financial Officer, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference. As you may have guessed from the name of the conference, the business aspect of EA was the topic. Jorgensen said, 'The next and much bigger piece [of the business] is microtransactions within games. ... 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.' This is particularly distressing given EA's recent implementation of microtransations in Dead Space 3, where you can spend money to improve your weaponry."
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EA Building Microtransactions Into All of Its Future Games

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:52PM (#43029913)

    They will soon be building microtransactions into their microtransactions, so you can pay money while you're paying money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:55PM (#43029933)

    Any time you can buy your way to victory is a quick way to lose any hardcore fan base, and most likely the audience that will keep playing your game after release-hype

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Darinbob ( 1142669 )

      Why is it bad? Is this another one of those things where everyone assumes it's a competitive multiplayer shootemup and you're worried about not keeping up? The issue in single players is irrelevant unless the base game without microtransactions is not fun.

      • by sesshomaru ( 173381 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:02PM (#43030475) Journal

        Game Tester: Wow, you know the single player mode in this game is a lot of fun even without having made even a single microtransaction.

        EA Executive: Programmer, make it not fun unless the player pays for microtransactions.

        Programmer: By your command.

      • by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:25PM (#43030615)

        Here's why it's bad:

        They're trying to maximize revenue from every game, which on the surface seems like a good thing for them as a company. Unfortunately it's incredibly shortsighted.

        Given these assumptions
          - People only have so much money to spend on entertainment.
          - Given finite resources, if you spend more money on one title you have less to spend on another.

        There are two real possibilities that I see

        1) In a market with little/no competition where gamers spend their money in fewer games because they are concentrating their resources on the games they play most. This means that there will be fewer titles produced because fewer will succeed - the blockbusters will dominate. Fewer games = bored gamers or danger of a massive investment in a blockbuster flopping (see Too Human, Kingdoms of Amulur, etc)

        2) In a market with lots of competition they will make themselves less relevant. Smaller publishers do and will offer better deals on games that are just as entertaining. The big publishers are really backing themselves into a corner by rehashing the same game over and over.

        3) The free to play trap. Certain games do very well with offering a solid game with optional purchases, but then greedy companies like EA and Microsoft twist that to offer as little as possible to get a person interested and then try to gouge them on "optional" purchases. So called micro transactions running as high as $20 when full retail games can be purchased for less.

        By doing any one of these things they alienate their customers, shrink their market (not to be confused with their revenue), and the end result is fewer people playing fewer games. This has already happened to the movie industry where prices are too high to bother, sequels dominate, big budget movies are the name of the game and there are fewer and fewer every year. End result: The demise of the rental industry, fewer people in theatres, and rampant piracy.

        Study after study has shown: the more people do something, the more they talk about it with their social circles, the more people become involved. While you may not get as much out of each person, by keeping prices as accessible as possible and a diverse product line you safeguard against major losses and increase the chances of major successes.

        • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:23PM (#43030979)

          You forgot: People don't allocate finite amounts of money to specifically spend on games. If you spend more time playing games, you may spend less money on other forms of entertainment. Spending a little more on a game to get a little more entertainment out of it doesn't mean you will spend less on games in the future. It may mean you spend less on DVD's or something EA/Activision/Blizzard/GameCompanyVendorHere doesn't sell.

          Also, if you don't release a few new games every year, you want your customers to keep spending their disposable income on your games, not your competitors.

        • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:40AM (#43031349)

          One word... Zynga!!!

          Take a good look at that company and how it fared. What EA is proposing is a social game a'la Zynga. The problem is that such a business is showing that it does not work. People get excited about things, but then quickly move away because they are being nickled and dimed to death. People are lazy and the moment you have to keep ponying up money is the moment you say, "is this worth it?" And the moment a player takes a step back and makes that thought you the game producer have lost.

          Here is how it goes:

          1) Awesome game and I will tell my friends.
          2) My friends are into this game
          3) Friends have bought feature X and they are playing much faster than I
          4) Many I need feature X as well
          5) Feature X is awesome!!!
          6) Oh wait cool Feature Y is out and I will tell my friends to get it!
          7) Now I have Feature X, and Y! Awesome game play
          8) Feature Z is out and it is way more awesome.
          9) Wait, will there be a feature AA? What is Feature Z going to cost me? How much money am I burning through playing this game?

          Step 9 is the brutal step and once your company is associated with this, its game OVER for your company. Hence why I say, look at Zynga. So how is Zynga trying to get out of the maliase? Simple online gambling! Yes the company that tried to make legal and legit games has to look at gambling and addictions that cause you to loose your money.

          When will EA, and Activision hit gambling? Earlier than you think IMO.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:01AM (#43031699)

            EA already has added "gambling" to SWTOR.

            You can spend REAL money to buy these crate things that contain RANDOM items of questionable in-game value. Now, you can't exactly turn that back into real world money, but you're essentially falling into the Pokemon style situation where you could end up paying hundreds of dollars to get that one "card" you really wanted. Another guy could get it on the first "pack" bought.

          • by jools33 ( 252092 )

            Yeah I did this iteration in my head before downloading a single Zynga title. I'd much rather pay once and get a decent game, to hell with micropayments.

      • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

        Go read any of the ten page manifestos Valve has written on the subject. Or google this. Or talk to anyone who played TF2 before 2010.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DrEldarion ( 114072 )

      Why? I can see how this would be disastrous in multiplayer, but in single player, being able to buy things to avoid having to grind for them isn't bad, assuming:

      1) The cost is reasonable.
      2) They don't screw with the game mechanics to make people more likely to want to purchase things.
      3) The same content can be unlocked with effort/talent rather than money.

      I can think of several games (JRPGs are notoriously bad with this) where to get a certain item or to get to a certain boss, the process was basically "spe

      • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:42PM (#43030709)
        You just described how people can pay to overcome crappy game design. Letting people pay to skip part of your game is openly acknowledging that your game is so crappy that people will literally pay to not play it. Even if that is just part of your game, that isn't a good thing.
      • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

        So basically you're trusting a corporation to go against its own interests by making a game where 2. doesn't apply and 3. isn't made tedious and boring to maximize profits.

        So, I'm living in 21st century. What time are you living in?

      • 3) The same content can be unlocked with effort/talent rather than money.

        Remember when the same content could be unlocked with cheatcodes?
        IDDQD, IDKFA, and IDBEHOLD want their microtransactions back

        I can think of several games (JRPGs are notoriously bad with this) where to get a certain item or to get to a certain boss, the process was basically "spend 10 hours doing mindless tasks". Currently, there are two choices: don't see the content, or spend valuable time on meaningless tasks unlocking it. Microtransactions provide a third choice.

        Cheat codes provide a 3rd choice.

      • 1) The cost is reasonable.

        I'm playing EA's Simpson's Tapped Out right now. And the problem is the "micro" transactions, aren't exactly micro. The largest payout is $100 and lets you buy one of each of the special items. But if you buy it in smaller batches you can easily spent 150 or more. That is insane. Yet it is one of the top gross games on the iPad.

    • by Skapare ( 16644 )

      But it's the only way spoiled rich kids can compete.

    • You mean like how people stopped playing Battlefield when people started buying cheats?

    • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:32PM (#43030659)

      That's not the problem. The problem is simple: Microtransactions give the game designer a monetary incentive to make the game grindy and unfun, with paid keys that unlock the grind. This is very clear in most modern games as the biggest selling items are XP boost items. Without them it can take 2 to 4 times as long to advance. What exactly is the publisher selling when they sell XP boost items?

    • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:36PM (#43030677)

      Buying your way to victory very often isn't the case. Take DOTA 2, for example. It's riddled with microtransactions for the F2P title. They don't actually *do* anything. it's still kind of gross, though. Not so much in a F2P game as in everything else, though. Nothing like having a giant "BUY DLC HERE!" or "YOU CAN GET MORE GOLD TO BUY WEAPONS IF YOU PAY REAL MONEY!" buttons in the middle of the game you paid $65 for.

      Video games are, increasingly, becoming a demonstration of what happens when a form of art and creativity is taken over completely and absolutely by business. Buy guys who don't refer to things as "games" or "movies" but as "intellectual property". That isn't to say there's anything wrong with treating it like a business, but it's a business whose product is compelling creative content and unique experiences for their customers. Instead, they're finding ways to simultaneously devalue the experience while putting a value on every single thing. It's gross.

    • Any time you can buy your way to victory is a quick way to lose any hardcore fan base, and most likely the audience that will keep playing your game after release-hype

      Buy your way to victory? Oh you silly little consumer you! You'll have the chance to buy your way to parity with all the other people who are buying their way to parity! The best race is the one where you have to run as fast as you can just to not fall behind!

  • And.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:55PM (#43029939)

    All their games will be free now right?

  • RIP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zlives ( 2009072 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:55PM (#43029943)

    Alas, poor EA! we knew thee well

    • by Elbereth ( 58257 )

      EA started to suck the minute that Trip Hawkins left.

  • $60 for the game (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:56PM (#43029945)

    $5 to unlock the start menu

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:57PM (#43029959)

    Pretty soon you will be able to tell if a person is rich by the gun they have in a game. The poor will walk around with pistole's the rich will drive tanks.

  • by Lisias ( 447563 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:58PM (#43029969) Homepage Journal

    As long you you didn't pay for the "retail" version (a.k.a. DVD / Blueray delivered ones), I don't see a problem. The developers has to be paid somehow, and if some people wants to pay for their games this way, no problem.

    But if I pay the full retail price, I expect to be able to enjoy the game in full experience. Paying twice for the privilege of playing an already paid game is not an option for me. It shouldn't even be allowed, at first place.

    • by xevioso ( 598654 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:01PM (#43029991)

      The problem with this is that it undermines the community aspect of games. SimCity 4 has 10 years worth of community-built content, all built for free. It's amazing, truly.

      But SimCity 5 most likely will not have this sort of thing, seeing as how you must be online the entire time. What developer wants to make the Empire State Building with their own spare time if EA is going to put it on their store and sell it as a micro-transaction?

      • by Lemming42 ( 931274 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:12PM (#43030543)

        The answer to your rhetorical question is "because EA gives you a cut of the sales".

        Just look at Valve's current efforts with "Steam Workshop", where the community is allowed to build items for their more popular titles.

        They recently disclosed that at least one of the people who contributes content has already made over $500,000 from sales of their items.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Same with the Battlefield franchise. No more user created mods or maps. The game is the worse for it.

        I got browbeaten by my platoon into buying 'premium' in BF3. Have been disappointed, and will be uninstalling origin in the not too distant future. I certainly won't be buying BF4.

        There are so many more indy games to play now, so it is not as if we don't have choice.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by yoshi_mon ( 172895 )

      As long you you didn't pay for the "retail" version (a.k.a. DVD / Blueray delivered ones), I don't see a problem. The developers has to be paid somehow, and if some people wants to pay for their games this way, no problem.

      So you are against the First-sale Doctrine. [] Ok. That is a common thing these days from people who don't fully understand and or have a much more right wing view of copyright.

      I assume you are looking to repeal that also so that books, movies, and all the other things that it covers are changed as well?

      • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:57PM (#43030449) Homepage Journal

        As long you you didn't pay for the "retail" version (a.k.a. DVD / Blueray delivered ones), I don't see a problem. The developers has to be paid somehow, and if some people wants to pay for their games this way, no problem.

        So you are against the First-sale Doctrine. [] Ok. That is a common thing these days from people who don't fully understand and or have a much more right wing view of copyright.

        I assume you are looking to repeal that also so that books, movies, and all the other things that it covers are changed as well?

        I don't know about the gp, but I prefer to pay full price for my software and have it all work. If I pay $60 for a title, I had better not have to buy anything extra to get 100% or to be competitive (if it is online). If someone wants the "free" version of the game, and then has to buy $100 worth of stuff, $1 at a time to play the whole game, that is fine with me. The Banks have managed to do this with "Free checking", where you actually pay more per month than if you bought the next higher level of checking (although why we have to pay someone to earn interest on my money I still can't figure out). But what I simply won't stand for is when I pay top dollar for a title and then have to pay extra just to have basic functionality. Case in Point: Quickbooks. You pay full price for the software, and then they want to charge you extra for payroll services, which were included in the cost in previous versions. They won't let you print W-2s without paying extra. I could go on and on.

    • Market Research Guy: Wow, we are making a lot of money on these free, microtransaction oriented games.

      EA Executive: Programmer, add microtransactions to our premium $60 retail games. Don't let the players see the best parts of the games unless they pay.

      Programmer: By your command.

  • by cosm ( 1072588 ) <> on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:01PM (#43029987)
    You must be a Battlefield 3 Premium Player to see this comment.
  • Consumers might be "tolerating" it, and many of them might be suckers who're going to buy this stuff, but I doubt there are really many gamers "enjoying and embracing" it.

  • Cheat codes? Or you went and downloaded a "trainer"? Seriously, what the hell is this crap where I don't own the game I bought? You want to run a freemium game? Great! I'll happily support the developers for that business model. I will not however buy "half" of a game.
  • Easy for me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:09PM (#43030081)

    I refuse to play games with microtrasactions. Erased my favorite game that I had paid for from my phone when the develop implemented them. This will make decisions in the future easier, EA logo = Bad.

  • Planetside 2 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StormyWeather ( 543593 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:09PM (#43030099) Homepage

    I personally like how ps2 does this. Weapons can be purchased or cert points can be used. Most default guns are great with some certs put into them, but the other guns are more situational sidegrades. I played a month before spending a dime and didnt feel abused, now I subscribe because I decided I enjoy the game and decided I want to support it. The developers are highly accessible yet firm on decisions. I have seen a few plqyer ideas directly impact the development course of action.

    Now, microtransactions in a full retail game? Fuck that. I wont buy it even to give it a chance.

    • Ya but sony hasn't really figured out the Micro part of the microtransactions. The only reason I bought anything in that game was because of triple SC day and then spent it on Packs, and daily sales. Doing that stuff was pretty cheap but otherwise a gun costs 7 dollars and you can only buy cash in 5 dollar increments. It's stupid and counter productive if you ask me.
      • I "purchased" a Red Dead Redemption DLC when it became free. I already paid for the game. If they want to make extra content available, that is fine, but I don't see why I should have to pay for it. Fortunately, RDR did not require you to buy any DLC to complete the game, it was all just extra missions and stuff. If the DLC provided enough extra entertainment value it might be worth it, but some of the DLC was about 1/4 the cost of the game or more. I doubt that it is really worth buying another whole 1/4 o
    • Re:Planetside 2 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Omestes ( 471991 ) <> on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:04PM (#43030501) Homepage Journal

      Weapons can be purchased or cert points can be used.

      For a RIDICULOUS amount of cert points. I still haven't really saved up enough certs to fully arm a character, much less upgrade my vehicles. You don't have to spend real money, but if you want to be competitive in under 6 months, you need to. That said, the default weapons aren't bad, and are generally pretty usable. Though if you're a VS Infiltrator you're really going to need a bolt action rifle, and upgrading AA in Max's is pretty much mandatory. I did play several months from launch, and didn't really feel the need to spend real money until I started to get serious about it.

      Now, microtransactions in a full retail game? Fuck that. I wont buy it even to give it a chance.

      Agreed. The only one I don't mind is Guild Wars 2, since microtransactions are covering server costs and their constant content updates, and don't increase power at all. I've thrown Arenanet a few bucks just because I want to support them, since I like what they are doing, and want them to keep doing it. In GW2, its optional, which is the most important thing for any game with microtransactions. The second I feel like I have to buy something, or the second I get out-competed by someone for anything other than skill, I quit.

      I generally give money to F2P games I like, and don't play the ones that try to force it one me.

      I'm really sad about TFA, since I've been trying to care about SimCity 5. Always on doesn't bug me as much as it does some, but the fact that they are going to make it like The Sims... that is probably a deal breaker. If ever a game had an annoying business model, it is The Sims.

      Damn you Maxis. You were one of the best studios, and now you're pretty much dead.

      • Blacklight: Retribution has the perfect F2P model. All items can be rented pretty cheap (1 match of in game currency), and it usually takes 5 hours to get an unlock paid for (besides back pack items that take forever). The game is super fun to play, and with the rental system, it stays away from pay 2 win.
        • Forgot to add: The only things you can't get with in game money are custom camos and certain taunts.
  • by klingers48 ( 968406 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:11PM (#43030115)
    "Moving forward we will balance and tune all our releases towards deliberately-engineered artificial resource scarcity. This will in turn incentivise you opening your wallet to get your game back towards a playable state.

    "Please form an orderly queue at the money pit."
  • by ductonius ( 705942 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:16PM (#43030151) Homepage

    EA Effectively Discouraging Me from Playing All of Its Future Games

  • by BitwizeGHC ( 145393 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:26PM (#43030225) Homepage

    ... and this is my favorite in-app purchase on the Citadel.

  • by __aaqvdr516 ( 975138 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:26PM (#43030229)

    It takes a good game developer to make a micro transaction model work for a single particular game.

    It takes an EA exec to force that model upon every game a publisher makes.

  • by Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:32PM (#43030265)
    Five years ago I was researching in game purchases by opening a browser within the game. I saw it as a way to make purchases within a game. Personally I see micro purchases as a major negative if you need those purchases are needed to actually complete a game. If where we are headed is needing to spend even more money to complete the game I just bought I will stop buying games. Enhancements are one thing but I see greed driving the sales and the in game purchases being a part of the game.
  • There's no such thing as MICRO in EA's micro-transactions. They are always in the dollars (plural) range. Micro would mean, at least to me, less than $1. But no just go compare prices. Probably 95% minimum of their digital stuff sells for more than a dollar, and I've seen plenty of "items" that would buy you an ENTIRE GAME on Steam or GoG for the same price, and I don't always mean during their 75% off sales either where games are $5 or less.

    The idiots out there can keep supporting this BS, but I won't. Not

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:34PM (#43030287)

    Because we all love getting our asses kicked by the fourteen year old with the trust fund.

  • Hollywood (Score:4, Insightful)

    by asmkm22 ( 1902712 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:43PM (#43030339)

    The game industry is mirroring Hollywood in more ways than budgets. We have 90% of the content being released by just a few very large studios, who seem averse to anything that isn't a sequel or a remake. What really sucks is that we spent the last 20 years trying to improve the gaming experience enough to really get players immersed in the game, only to have the whole concept of immersion take a back seat to shareholder earnings.

    In hindsight, it's no wonder the gaming industry has been so paranoid about piracy; I think they've purposefully been using the Hollywood model for inspiration.

    • by guises ( 2423402 )
      It's not even close to 90%. Just with the DRM free stuff from the Humble Bundle and Good Old Games I have more than I can play. Yes, the blockbusters have been compromised, but, like Hollywood, there's still plenty of good stuff out there if you're willing to put the barest effort into looking for it.

      The Hollywood analogy is a good one, but also a reason for optimism.
  • And to think I might actually have been willing to PAY for whatever comes next in the C&C franchise if it was as good as previous titles (the abomination that is Tiberian Twilight not withstanding)

    Will be interesting to see how they put micro transactions in the EA sports titles... Will people have to pay real world money to get a full set of clubs in EA Sports Golf? Or worse, real world money every time they loose a golf ball and need a new one?

    • No, you will just have to pay real world money to have a caddy and a golf cart, so you don't have to virtually walk the entire distance between every hole while pressing a button that keeps you from dropping your golf bag on the ground, and you only have to pay for a new golf ball if you don't want to do the golf-ball pixel hunt mini game! And in madden, you just have to play real world money to recruit the top players. As long as you are ok with a quarterback that you drag out of a virtual alley a few bloc

  • ... since I don't play games anymore ... but this isn't an online game where people expect a level playing field, is it? Oh wait.

  • by dexotaku ( 1136235 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:02PM (#43030479)
    I don't think that microtransactions are an inherently bad thing, but in this case - well, it's EA, so it can ONLY be bad.

    Take a look at Need For Speed World for some indication of the future.. the worst-implemented and maintained MMO that I'm aware of [noting that I know I'm not an expert on MMOs, but NFSW is truly shite].
    The game is ostensibly "free to play" and centred on multiplaying racing.. but:
    * As with most EA fare, the game is run almost entirely by the marketing department [I actually feel sorry for the devs, as it's evident that they're effectively bound & gagged by the marketing department]
    * the devs and marketing people actually stated, "You can't buy victory," despite the fact that the best of everything are available only for real money, and the best of everything totally affect gameplay and shift all advantages easily and quickly to any fool with a credit card
    * There's effectively no matchmaking most of the time, so the chances of being able to enter a public event with even remote chances of winning a round depend mostly on how much you've put into real-money-only cars that make up nearly all of the top performers
    * there's no chat system for users to communicate publicly; they had to disable it >1 year ago because the devs aren't competent enough to make anything even remotely robust or secure, script-kiddies would constantly cause the game to crash for other players with simple buffer overflows
    * EA obviously don't get what the "micro" in "microtransaction" is supposed to mean: all transactions are in dollars or greater; if you were to compare NFSW to any other NFS title and try to get the same gameplay out of it, it would cost thousands of dollars of your real money to even get close [and there are players who've put in thousands, insanely]
    * "Exclusives" cost up to $50-75CAD for things that are only special because of a repaint by the art department [exclusive monacle, anyone?]

    I could go on and on.. yeah, it's only a game, but compared to their off-the-shelf titles this "free to play" game is effectively several orders of magnitude more expensive.. which make little sense given that the real multiplayer aspects of the game are either disabled, broken, or simply not present. The game is basically, at this point, not really a multiplayer game.

    This is the future of gaming, going by EA's ethics-free "screw the customer" business plan: make the client free, but bleed players dry hundreds if not thousands of times over if they want to "achieve" the same things they can by buying last year's single-player+muliplayer title down-to-$10 at any brick&mortar store.

    I feel sorry for the smallish studios that EA keep buying up - the devs lose all freedom to determine the direction they want their games to go, and live under corporate policies that amount to "leave the customer completely in the dark while charging them as much as possible." The future of gaming, indeed.
  • by codepigeon ( 1202896 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:03PM (#43030493)
    I was lucky enough to be around for the early days of PC gaming. I remember when the manual actually told you to make a backup of the floppy. (for you young viewers, manuals were small booklets that used to come with games giving you tips, backstory, art..)

    I guess it's good that I am nearing 40 and don't get into gaming as nearly as I used to. This stuff is just turning me off completely.

    Considering the typical audience here, there are probably not a lot of you that play EA's NHL (yearly susbscription game). They have already been testing the waters for this from at least 2011 when they indroduced a mode of play called "hockey ultimate team". In this mode you build a team by using "cards". The cards actually come in foil packs that you can buy (all virtual of course). They offer a way to pay for the packs with earned in-game points or real-world money. My son plays the NHL13 version of this game and it is obvious that the system is entirely designed to get you to need to buy more packs of cards to continue paying.

    As expected the good hockey players are "rares" (and i mean really rare), and you continually need to feed contract cards and injury repair cards to keep playing. The amount of points required to get the medium and larger packs are so high it is difficult if not impossible for a weaker player to ever purchase with earned points. I'm a software engineer, I see the patterns and thresholds and how they are clearly designed to maximize the need for more "cards". it is completely obvious to me; my son however is too naive to see are probably many other people under the age of 20 or 30. And that is why these microtransactions are "popuar". Mom drops $20 into the kids account and he blows it on virtual garbage. (I refuse to allow my son to buy with real money)

    F**k EA. F**k the industry for....well...becoming an industry with the corporate greed that comes with it.

  • I'm struggling to see why people are having a problem with this? So long as these microtransactions are 100% optional, who cares? Nobody's forcing you do buy them, and in the case of Dead Space 3 and Mass Effect 3, they're attainable with in-game currency.
    • why people are having a problem with this...they're attainable with in-game currency.

      Oh...thank goodness. I was worried that when i spent $60+tax on the game, that I was going to get everything that was on the disk. Glad to know at least some of it stays locked behind a pay gate!

  • Uh-oh, I've become unstuck in time. Well, at least people can enjoy this comment on EA from 2004:

    What's going on indeed... by jayhawk88 (160512) []

    "The past is never dead. It's not even past." -- William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun

  • they've tried to treat a primarily single-player FPS like it's primarily multiplayer. I ran through DS 1 and 2 and never got much exposure to weapons because of the slow upgrade rate speed. it was like they assumed you'd play it 4-5 times through. My favorite single players I run through *maybe* 2 times. They need to scale everything back to the 1-2 runs most players will actually spend.

    I imagine that they're giong to crank up the difficulty so you have to buy stuff to finish the game.

  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:44PM (#43030733) Homepage Journal

    EA ripped off the Weapon Blueprint system from Dead Island and then made it so you could create your own custom blueprints.
    That was a good thing.

    Then EA decided that they couldn't "give away the farm", so made it so you could not give other players special parts only available as DLC, which NO ONE PAYS MONEY FOR -- they use Ration Seals, which are found in-game.

    They also decided that any Blueprint you make that references advanced parts found in-game or DLC parts CAN NOT BE SHARED with other players, regardless of whether or not they have the part themselves.

    In this greedy, short-sighted bone head move, EA crippled a much touted feature, this so called "Blue Print Sharing" to be totally useless for anyone who has spent more than a couple days playikng, because as son as you're more than half way through the game, you're building guns that use special parts -- so this feature no longer works, with no explanation to why other than a unhelpful screen that says "THIS BLUEPRINT CAN NO BE SHARED!"

    I have never seen a company so blatantly throw their core product (gameplay) out the window in what can only be seen as a short-sighted cash grab.

    The irony of it is that no one in their right mind would pay CASH for this DLC when you can spend a few ration seals (hell, I have over 1,000 ration seals and can't spend them fast enough) so they aren't making any more money by pulling this shit.

    For what it's worth, I wrote in a request through support channels that they either uncripple this feature or remove it entirely. I doubt they wil change anything and I am rather certain they will cripple other gameplay features in future games with this BS, so I've resolved myself to never buy another EA title until I hear that they have stoppe pulling this crap.

    I'm not against them making money, I'm not against micropayments. I am against crippled gameplay features for obvious and petty reasons.
    As such, I no longer see EA as a game company, they are profit hounds who seek to disguise vending machines as games.
    Gameplay should be first and foremost for any game company. If the game is good and the game play is not broken, I will happily buy DLC expansions to add to my enjoyment.

  • Considering the cheesy shit publishers have done to increase profits from sales with on-disc DLC, preorder bonuses, multiplayer passes and the like, none of which EA has any qualms about implementing into their games, I find it odd that it took this long for EA to come to this decision. Brings me back to when Activision's CEO Bobby Kotick openly fantasized about making every game subscription based.

    Honestly though, I don't mind that EA is trying this. Publishers don't exist to bring us quality games, that's

  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:16AM (#43031755)

    I played Diablo 1 and D2 and thoroughly enjoyed them. D3 came out and in the beginning I enjoyed it. Then I realized that to get better gear I had to visit the Gold Auction house.. so I would put my stuff up for auction and try to buy new/better stuff. 99% of the time I couldn't move my old stuff b/c there was always something better in the auction house....

    Which would be great if I had tons of gold... so how do you get more gold?

    1. Grind grind grind... kill the same dungeons over and over again. Pickup the gold, and whatever trash you find, sell it to the merchant for more gold. Grind grind grind.
    2. Win the lottery. Something drops that actually worth something in the gold auction house.
    3. Buy gold with real money.

    The problem here is that gold in itself in D3 is basically worthless. I can recall when certain items were 10million gold. Then a few weeks later those same items were 40million gold. Are they more rare? Nope. There's just more gold available in game. So let's say you sold that item for 10million because you couldn't use it (wrong class). And you go on vacation for a few weeks. An equivalent item for your class would now be 40million gold. So now how do you get 30 million more gold?

    Grind grind grind or hope something drops for you or say f-ck it and pay Blizzard a few bucks to get 40 million gold. Knowing that in a month's time that instead of you paying $5 to get the item, you'd need to pay $10 because you'd need 2x as much gold.

    This is why I stopped playing D3. I realized in order to continue to advance I was playing to get gold for the auction house.

    I uninstalled back in October and haven't gone back since.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @04:58AM (#43032293)

    People play for different reasons. I guess it's safe to say we all play for enjoyment.

    Much of my enjoyment comes from the "I did it!" feeling at the end. I saved the world. I beat that boss. It took me long hours, it almost made me throw that controller against the wall in frustration, but finally, finally, FINALLY, I did it. Or after long hours of playing finally the epic item that I wanted so much is finally mine. And while I'm not much into bragging usually, it gives me a little bit of satisfaction to tell myself that I did something that probably not many actually have accomplished. How many didn't make it past that half-time boss that was so hard? How many didn't have the stamina to sit through all those hordes and didn't have the patience to wait for the right time for the ambush?

    When I now can get the same by forking over some cash, I don't want it anymore. First of all, it's not mine. What did I do for it? Spent a minute at work? Erh... yeah, that's great. Woo-hoo me. I now have the awesome sword of slaying because I convinced a customer that his backup plan is flawed. The whole work-reward relationship is destroyed. And this in turn doesn't give me satisfaction.

    On the other hand, because I can already hear those replies, "but you needn't buy it", on your fingertips: No, but not buying it would be incredibly inefficient. It would bother me that I spend 5 hours to reach a goal when I could have gotten the same for 5 bucks.

    Well, that's me, and who am I to tell an EA exec what the people playing his games want, I'm sure he has done some really deep market research to come up with that conclusion. And if he really believes it himself, I have a very nice bridge with a good view of San Francisco for sale.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva