Last month right before Dead Space 3 came out, we found out that it would be featuring micro-transactions. Despite the game still being at full-retail price, an EA representative explained that they were to help players boost themselves along if they were having troubles getting through a difficult level. Today, EA's CFO revealed plans for future Electronic Arts games to have some micro-transactions.
Blake Jorgensen explained his reasoning for the publisher's move is that "consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of business." Last I heard from hardcore gamers, they strongly disliked the fact that Visceral used this 'business model' in a survival-horror game. While we haven't gotten a chance to look at numbers for thus micro-transactions within Dead Space 3, I don't think fans of several sports franchises are going to appreciate being nickel and dimed. What will happen to Madden 25: perhaps every league that you setup, you'll have to have each player pledge $2 to enter.
Games like The Sims 3 are perfectly setup for micro-transactions as developers can create new clothes or new house items for your virtual avatar and Electronic Arts has even moved into the free-to-play realm with titles like Command and Conquer: Tiberium Alliances or Battlefield Heroes. Both of those titles have been sucessful in their current business models but why do other traditional games need to offer such?
Perhaps, Electronic Arts is looking for a way to cut down prices of games so they don't have to release a Madden game each year at $60. As much as I'd love to give Tiburion credit for their hardwork each year, for gamers like me, I don't see having value in paying for games like Madden every year that I've personally gotten to the point that I don't even purchase them anymore. Perhaps if I buy the next Madden, I'll get to pay for a $10 roster update but miss out on next year's game's additional features.
While perhaps this could be similar to the movie industry looking to 3D to boost movie sales slightly, I see micro-transactions as just giving gamers another chance to support a game they like or purchase certain in-game items to help them progress a bit faster. The fact of the matter is I don't see why FIFA or Need for Speed need micro-transactions to boost your experience when gamers are already dealing out $60 just to play the game. A move like this could push franchise publishers like Lucasfilm or Parker Brothers from continuing support for Electronic Arts as the loudest consumers usually get their ways.