Well EA want to move into the low cost high return field of freemium gaming and social gaming. Iím not a huge social gamer, sure Iíve dabbled in a selection of facebook ďgamesĒ but I donít think many have ever kept me over a week and those that have I quit within a month. Now I barely play any of them because they just seem like giant time sinks, which is what they really are. The idea of them is a time sink with the option to skip ahead a bit and save time by using real money. Sure some games I do consider still playable like Zynga poker as its just online poker but free and giving you enough chips free each day for me to not want to spend huge sums on virtual chips.
EA have had a hit with their Simpsons Tapped out IOS game. The question is what made it a success ? The simple fact is the Simpsons sells, so can EA make a success in a crowded market with a game that isnít using a licence ?
At present EA have an issue of wanting their cake and eating it too when it come to gaming, with Secret world being a subscription MMO with micro transactions on top entering a crowded MMO market. The question I seem to consistently being dragged back too is, are EA late to the freemium party, so late theyíre going to be left dancing alone without the nice embrace of being slightly too drunk to care about being alone ?
With most Freemium / Social games being designed as time sinks and there already being a huge market, what can EA bring to the table now ?
Money ? Well no because they wonít want to invest large amounts as they want to invest low and get high returns unless of course they want to become the next Popcap (Who I still respect thanks to my DRM free copy of Plants vs Zombies)
Ethics ? OK even I canít see that happening.
Quality ? Maybe but then can a quality freemium game still work to get money off players as while LOL and others can make their vast sums off skin sales but they arenít quite the low investment social games they are more full games in their own right, with Uber and SMNC being a free to play / freemium version of the XBLA(&PC) Monday Night Combat.
Licences ? Ok possibly the one thing EA can bring are franchise licences to the table, the question is how far will brand recognition get them and will they really be able to cover generic social gaming in a branded skin to make money or will consumers see through this after the first couple of times.
Personally I can see this move backfiring badly on EA due to the present nature of Social gaming as by this point you really have to do something different to pull in and keep consumers. EA will end up as the new Zynga the issue is as most people know Zynga is rapidly falling apart now and entering nose dive. People only have so much time, patience and money and with the market EA is trying to crack being very overcrowded already with many more established games which consumers will have invested in already. EA are in for a real battle to try and pull people away from their present choices and the question is, in the club of social gaming with EA coming in late in the night, is EA attractive enough to pull consumers away ? Or has EA left it too late, has ďThe Magic hour passedĒ and everyone who will do has already paired up for the night leaving EA with nothing but broken hope and not enough drinking time to make up for knowing, theyíre leaving alone ?