Wednesday, 20 June 2012 12:55
Games - Games
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Peter Moore believes that in five to ten years, every game will be free to play, with charges for add-ons and microtransactions. The existing term for this business model is "freemium", and it is a dirty word—with good reason, which I'll get into later.
By turning videogames from products into services, the Electronic Arts COO described the business model as sharing similarities with real-world retailers like The Gap.
"I think, ultimately, those microtransactions will be in every game, but the game itself or the access to the game will be free," he said in an interview with Kotaku. "I think there's an inevitability that happens five years from now, 10 years from now, that, let's call it the client, to use the term, [is free]. It is no different than…it's free to me to walk into The Gap in my local shopping mall. They don't charge me to walk in there. I can walk into The Gap, enjoy the music, look at the jeans and what have you, but if I want to buy something I have to pay for it."
It's not a good metaphor, but it's the one he used to describe freemium games.
Moore believes that $60 games will survive in the form of a few hardcore games, but the predominant business model will be along the lines of the service he described.
"Freemium" models may seem attractive to videogame publishers as they transition from being producers into service providers, but they serve no benefit to the customer, who loses the tangibility that comes with a material product. You can't copy games or share them with friends—you can only lease the service in the same way you'd rent a video. Product ownership is reduced leasing a limited license.
Even as EA and likeminded publishers embrace the service model, others like Good Old Games, prefer to offer DRM-free products over freemium services. I suggest you support them.
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