According to Electronic Arts' COO Peter Moore, the future is in free-to-play, with microtransactions becoming the defacto way we buy our interactive entertainment in years to come. According to the cat-like executive, every game will feature bite-sized purchases in some way.
"I think, ultimately, those microtransactions will be in every game, but the game itself or the access to the game will be free," he told The Kortakers. "I think there's an inevitability that happens five years from now, ten years from now, that, let's call it the client, to use the term, [is free].
"It's free to me to walk into The Gap in my local shopping mall. They don't charge me to walk in there. I can walk into The Gap, enjoy the music, look at the jeans and what have you, but if I want to buy something I have to pay for it."
Moore added that $60 games may still survive in some way, but that they're due for scarcity as "billions" of users are brought into the industry and called gamers.
"It may well be that there will be games that survive and they are the $60 games, but I believe that the real growth is bringing billions of people into the industry and calling them gamers," he said. "Hardcore gamers won't like to hear this. They like to circle the wagons around what they believe is something they feel they have helped build -- and rightly so."
I don't quite have the fear of free-to-play games that some folks have, but I certainly don't like companies such as EA getting involved. As I noted earlier this week, the excessive nature of EA tends to take any business model, good or not, to extremes that render them quite anti-consumer. It's certainly not the only one, but the case of the sleazy Theme Park iOS scam is par for the course wherever it goes.
In any case, I'd rather take a real free-to-play game over what a number of games are trying now -- charging $60 to get in and still offering microstransactions. The whole "have your cake and eat it" business model is due am shake-up, and rising quality of F2P games will at least temper that bullshit.