Editorial: EA’s Microtransaction Practices And Raising Future Video Game Prices

Whether you like to admit it or not, EA has affected the games industry insofar that news conglomerates have covered the gambling fiasco that is Star Wars Battlefront 2, which in turn has led to several interviews asking publishers and developers about their stance on service-type games. The thing is, will EA try to use their tarnished loot-box reputation to push for an influx on the average selling price of future video games around the globe?

It’s known that in particular regions of the world comes increased/low prices on specific things, which sometimes stands as a give or take in certain situations. On the other side of the spectrum, though, we see that some countries already pay more for games, even when prices for the same game in a different country is converted over to another country’s currency.

Furthermore, we see that the argument of video game base prices needing to increase to compensate for “the costly video game development expense” has become a growing talking point in the game development community.

The talk of loot-boxes and video game base prices rising has been in talks for a while, but due to EA and DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 drama, word on both subject matters has seemingly increased multi-fold.

Major publication sites like The Guardian, The Verge, Forbes, Washington Post, and the Rolling Stone have all covered the very drama that Star Wars Battlefront 2 has kicked-up, prompting Disney to reportedly tell EA to pull microtransactions from said game.

This also lead to different government officials having to step-in and assess the situation and determine if games-as-service are gambling, which is still ongoing.

Instead of investigating how games are being made these days and where the budget of indie, double-A and triple-A games are going and breaking it all down in layman terms for gamers and casual fans alike to understand, the most advocated for solution from studios is simply to go up on the base game price.

Now Canada and Australia already pay extra for video games, and many see the U.S. as a place to join-in and go up from the base $60, but what happens when they go up in places that already pay extra?

I say this because EA claims that making “beautiful” games takes up lot of time and money. The next Battlefield game has been said by CFO Blake Jorgensen and CEO, Andrew Wilson, to be visually stunning:

“From visually stunning, deeply immersive games like Star Wars Battlefront II and our next Battlefield, to ongoing innovation in our EA SPORTS titles, we are advancing the state of the art.”

If the supposed state-of-the-art advancement calls for a different approach than solely relying on microtransactions, will we see more people like founder of Bethesda, Christopher Weaver,  pine for game prices to hike upward?

We know for a fact that EA wants to find a new model to make money on non-sports games, while keeping microtransactions. This information comes in by EA CFO when he attended Credit Suisse Annual Technology, via gamesindustry.biz, where he stated…

“We’re not giving up on the notion of MTX. We’re learning and listening to the community in terms of how best to roll that out in the future, and there’s more to come as we learn more. But I would say we’re certainly not changing our strategy. We think the strategy of deeply engaging games, keeping the community together, and allowing people to play those games with new content coming via events over time is critical to the future of our business. We feel like we’ve nailed that in the sports games, and we’ll continue to try and find the best model that works in the non-sports games.”

With the encouragement of video game prices going up, will we see Battlefield 2018 ‘s price go up higher than usual? Will countries paying extra have to pay even more? And most importantly, should this system of games becoming more expensive for consumers be investigated before gaining more traction?


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