Articles of Interest

  • EA posted a surprise quarterly net profit, sending its shares up 8%. Revenue rose 16 percent to $784M, beating the average estimate of $676M.
  • Via Joystiq, a microtransaction chart that shows how much various next-gen games would cost if you were to purchase all premium content available for them. (Top title: Need for Speed Carbon at $94.97.)

And the debate continues. It’s unfortunate that so many people continue to make the assumption that all of this downloadable content would have been created and distributed for free in the “good old days,” when it’s entirely possible that much of it would have never been created at all (or would have simply been aggregated into more costly expansion packs). Our industry needs to do a much better job of communicating with the public about this.

Of course, I’m not offering a blanket defense of microtransactions, some of which may very well step over “the line.” I’m just repeating an old (but sound) argument: that microtransactions, when applied correctly, can make the market more efficient — to the benefit of both consumers and developers.

2 responses to “Articles of Interest

  1. I think it’s ironic how the same people who complain about a lack of innovation in the games industry at the same time seem to be the most resistant to new business models that might enable the innovation that they want so much.

    To make this stuff more acceptable, maybe the same thing could be done that they did with the consoles – have 2 buying options, a more expensive version that has everything in it ($90), and a cheaper version where you just buy the stuff that you want. Faced with this choice, most people would go for the cheap/customize track, and eventually that would be the only version sold. I think that showing consumers that they’re getting a discount on what they would otherwise have to pay will be a big part of this.

  2. For Dave: EA is pissing pretty enthusiastically in the cornflakes of microtransactions. It could not be more clear that they would have made and distributed a lot of their microcontent for free in the “good old days”. Some of these things they are *currently* distributing for free on other platforms, simply because those platforms don’t have a microtransactions system to milk money out of. EA risks poisoning the entire concept of microtransactions for the rest of the industry. Actions speak louder than words, so the only way the other players in the industry can counter the EA curse is to provide valuable microcontent themselves, reliably and at a high value to the consumer.

    For jon: I doubt the two buying options worked out very well for the console makers. I suppose history will have to bear this out, but my perception is that people saw right through lower-priced console as a cheap ploy to get away with a higher price on the full package. The additional unit is decried as being ‘confusing’, and criticism is heaped on the highest price. Consoles aren’t games, so the math might work out differently in that arena, but the prospects aren’t good.

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