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Electronic Arts Plans to Make You Pay for Glorified Game Demos?

Illustration for article titled Electronic Arts Plans to Make You Pay for Glorified Game Demos?

Electronic Arts plans to grow its digital game business to become one-third of their total revenue over the next few years and that includes starting to charge for what one analyst described as very long game demos.

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The comments came during an analyst visit to Electronic Arts' Redwood City headquarters and meetings with the company's executives.

One of Electronic Arts strategies will be to release what they call "premium downloadable content" on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live for $10 to $15 and then later release the full game for a full price, EA Group General Manager Nick Earl told Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter during the recent meeting.

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Pachter writes in his report of the meeting that this premium downloadable content would "essentially be a very long game demo, along the lines of 2009's Battlefield 1943." The "full-blown packaged game" would released shortly after the download version, he writes.

Earl told Pachter that the strategy would allow the company to limit the risk of marketing the full game and would "serve as a low-cost marketing tool."

A marketing tool that it sounds like you'll be paying $10 to $15 for. We've contacted Electronic Arts for comment and clarification, but have not yet heard back. We'll update this story when and if we do.

During the same meeting at EA, John Riccitiello, the company's CEO, told Pachter that the "company had performed poorly over the first years of his tenure, and admitted that the turnaround of the company was taking longer than he originally expected."

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Riccitiello estimated that Electronic Arts was about two-thirds of the way through its turnaround, and one-third of the way through its "transformation to the distribution of intellectual property through multiple channels."

He added that he expects the company to grow its digital business to one-third of EA's revenues within the next few years.

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Another major way that EA plans to achieve that goal, Riccitiello told Pachter, is for EA to "exploit all of its packaged games with ancillary digital revenue streams."

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DISCUSSION

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Sticks Calhoun

Hey, here's an idea. Instead of venting bile at EA, for all the good that does, how about just not buy something if you don't think it's worth it.

This isn't that hard. You didn't think horse armor was worth it. You didn't buy it. You thought Assassin's Creed 2 missions were worth it. So you did.

You don't have to be the first person playing the game. You don't have to own every piece of equipment and every single mission and every single pair of fucking sunglasses. You don't have to own every single pre-order bonus and collector's edition. What are you collecting? Worthless crap? A DVD extra you'll never watch? An art book you'll shove into a closet and forget about?

Hypothetical: You buy a game. You beat it in a day. You had a blast and thought it was great.

But...the next day they announce DLC to unlock something that was already on the disk.

Were you robbed? You were happy before you found that out.

You eat a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. It was superb! You're full. It was everything you wanted it to be. At the end, your aunt pulls out a dessert that you didn't even know she had! That fucking bitch!

Was your dinner so much diminished? Does one unknown dish ruin the entire feast?

No.

You have an option.

You have the option to not buy.

And if you're concerned about buying a game and immediately getting shafted on content, I have a couple questions for you.

Are you living in 1993? Do you still subscribe to Nintendo Power?

You have the God damned internet! Look up the game! Look up the content! Look up reviews!

You don't have to own a game on Day One. If it's a good game, guess what? Your friends will still be playing it on Day Two.

You are in control here. Not the companies. How hard is this to grasp?

Until you give it to them, it is your money. Not theirs. From all the bitching here you'd think it was the other way around. You're begging EA to take your $60, and at the same time begging them to make sure it's worth it.

They do not get to determine the value of the content. You do! YOU!

They just tell you how much they think it's worth.

Your buying, or not buying, ultimately determines its value.

And that ultimately determines the success of the companies you bitch about, yet still feed.

You are their audience and their masters, God dammit, not the other way around.

Start acting like it.