Has EA Changed its Ways? Probably Not

Written by Micah Messer

 

As you may have heard, on April 4th 2012, Consumerist readers voted Electronic Arts the worst company in America. With the Golden Poo award under their belts, it seems as though EA might be trying to change their image. On April 10th 2012, the Resurgence multiplayer DLC pack for Mass Effect 3 was released for free, as well as the promise of additional free story-based DLC in the future. The Rebellion multiplayer DLC pack is also set to come out on May 29th for no charge. This is a massive change from EA’s standard policy on DLC releases. Whether this will be a permanent change in attitude or just a temporary “Look, we’re being nice!” remains to be seen, but my bet is on the latter.

Bioware and EA are notorious for their horrible DLC track record. The Legacy DLC for Dragon Age 2 is a perfect example of their average release. Of course, they do have their moments, but usually they try to get as much money for as little content as possible. Well, EA’s customers have voiced their opinion, and they’re sick of it. Signs point to EA listening, but there’s nothing stopping them from switching back to their old ways in a couple months. While it seems unlikely, it sure would be nice if EA turned into a company that actually gave a crap about their customers.

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5 responses to “Has EA Changed its Ways? Probably Not

  1. ElvishGoalie June 10, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    I used to support EA but lately, I have been reading news and myself experiencing them squeezing money from us, consumers, my support dwindled over time. I started to look away for other games not related to such publishers like EA.

  2. Randen Dunlap June 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I think there is a big misconception about publishers and EA specifically. Is EA inherently evil? No I don’t believe so, I think people tend to forget that this is still a business. A business that continually costs more and more to develop games for. Think about it, historically speaking games have actually gone down in price if not stayed the same. In a world when EVERYTHING drastically increases in price due to inflation. Hell I remember a time when n64 games were $70, so I think people just have incredibly short memories. On the topic of DLC, developers and publishers know statistically when a new game releases, for every month you wait to get DLC out, the odds of people buying it drastically decrease. This is part of the reason why ME3 had the day one DLC. Also if people truly understood the development process that goes into games, they’d know that a game is pretty much done LONG before it hits the shelves. So the developers set their massive teams that were used to make that AAA title, and they set them to working on DLC. Does that mean some developers or publishers aren’t milking you a little with DLC, hard to say on that. I think overall though that people need to really understand how the process works and how much it really costs to make a game. DLC is the one way a developer can make money on their hard worked title. On a traditional business model of developing a game, funding by a publisher, and shipping it to stores. If the game sells brand new at $60, the developer (whom have sunk probably 2-4 years into the title) will most likely see only about $11 of that $60. DLC on the other hand is almost ALWAYS digital so they make more money off of DLC than they do on the original title in a lot of cases.

    I know I got on a soap box there, but like I said I think there are a lot of misconceptions and unwarranted hate circulating for people in the industry. Are some of them evil? Certainly! However not to the scope and seriousness that people rage about. As for the free DLC, they could be trying a new business model, but yes they are most likely just satiating the raging fanboys because of the conflict over the ME3 ending.

    • Shawn June 26, 2012 at 8:38 am

      It’s a fine line to walk. Too much DLC and people are left wondering why they even spent money on the original game to begin with – especially when a Game of the Year edition releases with all the DLC for free that you just spent $30 on. With things like Forza and CoD with their subscription-based DLC and additional DLC (In Forza’s case) that isn’t included with their Season Pass, it almost gets to the point where the original game should have been free since you’ve already doubled the original price of the game adding 5-10% more content and the publisher is probably making more profits from the DLC than from the game sales. Too little DLC nowadays and people complain about the games not getting any support.

      It could be a dangerous precedent if games are purposely sold as unfinished and almost force you to buy DLC to fully complete them – Final Fantasy XIII-2 is pretty close to that business model. I think the best option is limited updates quarterly at best. Give people a few extra cars in a racing game for a realistic price ($3-5) or some new sides missions in another game. If people are still putting down money in mass quantity for crap, I don’t blame publishers for putting it out.

      • Randen Dunlap July 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm

        True, I can definitely see the temptation there to….. milk the market. To know for sure what a developer or publishers intentions were/are for certain titles you would ultimately have to be working there. I currently do Q/A work on free to play based models. So I definitely see it go both ways.

        I think the biggest reason is the industry knows the traditional $60 game model is going to fluctuate into the next generation. So they are attempting to experiment with new models in order to stay flexible as publishers/developers. Notice I didn’t say it will go away, just probably lose popularity as the main business model for selling a game.

  3. Micah Messer June 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I just miss the good old days of expansions. You could still work on your game after it’s finished, yet you’re not penny pinching your customers. You work on a full package, charge 30 bucks for it and everybody wins. These days, expansions are dead. You can sell tiny little bite-sized pieces of content and charge an absurd amount for it ($15 for 2 hours of content). People also realized “why charge 30 bucks for an expansion when you can charge $60 and call it a full game?” (AC Brotherhood, Revelations, Halo ODST, the list goes on.) Also, it’s kind of hard not to see a publisher like EA as greedy when when a company like Valve exists. Left 4 Dead 2 on PC now has almost triple the content it was released with and the players haven’t payed a single micro transaction penny. Team Fortress 2 is an entirely different game, and again, all new content is free. You can still make value for your costumer, support a game after it’s come out AND make money without treating your customers like crap.

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