Many of us have fond memories of our golden years on the PS2 and the memorable quote, “EA Sports. It’s in the game.” Most of us loved EA as a company during those days. Even the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series were amazing (for the first two installments anyway.) This, of course, was before they became the pickpocketing, purchase-incentivising, scheming publisher they are now, a veritable Mr. Krabs in the gaming space.
Because of the ongoing Battlefront II controversy, many gamers find themselves asking ‘Why, EA? Why do you love micro-transactions so much?’ Well, there’s a pretty simple answer for that. Just look at their live service earnings below.
Live service means anything sold to players of their games that isn’t the game itself, so not just micro-transactions, but also DLC and season passes. As you can see above in the slide from EA’s investor earning call, they made $2.035 billion just from live services! This accounts for 60% of all profits from the entirety of 2017. So to EA, shoving micro-transactions into every franchise they get their hands on makes perfect sense.
But what does this mean for the players? In short, nothing good. You can expect to see many more micro-transactions in any EA products on their way. hopefully they will swap to a more acceptable method worthwhile DLC. However, This practice isn’t limited to EA. Other publishers are catching on to this trend like Rockstar, with their egregious level of micro-transactions in Grand Theft Auto V, which will likely get worse in Red Dead Redemption 2.
‘What can I do to stop this plague on the gaming industry?’ you might ask. Well unfortunately there isn’t much. Even the commonly spouted reply, ‘vote with your wallet’ doesn’t really work since publishers like EA don’t need everyone to buy the game, just those with big bank accounts and little time. However, if you’re lucky enough to live in Washington or Hawaii, try and get them outlawed, maybe then gaming giants like EA will go back to making games worth the coin they ask for.
What’re your thoughts? What does this mean for EA and other gaming giants going forward? I’d be happy to see what you have to say in the comments.