EA’s core business model may involve building loyalty programs, expansion plans and integrating microtransactions into the vast majority of its products, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the company intends to “nickel and dime” the consumer at every turn.
Tackling the hot-button topic head on during the UBS Global Technology Conference, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen was wary of consumer fatigue with in-game purchases, stating that it’s really a question of the player’s engagement with the product.
“Our game teams are all thinking through, ‘What’s the engagement model to keep the consumer, to really entertain the consumer for a long period of time?’ When you think about that, it’s not really the economics; the economics come afterward. There might be multiple models of ways to engage people.”
According to Jorgensen, any and all conversations concerning monetization are only addressed after a game feature has been tried and tested. Using Madden‘s popular Ultimate Team game mode to demonstrate, he revealed how a system that encourages year-long engagement is tailor-made to ensure that interest in a game such as Madden remains consistent long after launch.
The fundamental way that we as an organization think about [microtransactions and subscriptions] is all around engagement. How do we engage the consumer as long as possible? In the old days, people played Madden for a few months and then stopped playing. When the Super Bowl finished, they were completely gone. Today, with Ultimate Team, they engage for 12 months, all the way up until the time you start playing a new season.
Further in the talk, Jorgensen admitted that microtransactions have become a loaded term in the industry due to exploitation. In response to consumer fatigue, the company’s CFO believes that new models will be introduced to allay some of the frustration levelled toward in-game purchases and monetization.
I do think there’s a bit of consumer fatigue around feeling like they’re getting nickle and dimed all the time. And a lot of mobile games don’t allow you to have fun unless you’ve paid for it. So we’re looking at new models of ways to try to alleviate some of that fatigue that’s going on. Some of those might come in the form of subscription-style, but some of them might simply come in different ways to play games over time so you don’t feel like you’re always getting nickel and dimed.
Where do you come down on the topic of microtransactions?