Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Is EA Crazy?

In my last post, I talked about the free third-person shooter, Battlefield Heroes, released by EA. Is EA crazy?! Why would a huge company like EA release a game for free?

Well, EA is not crazy. The game is free but they are still making money from it. The money is being made through the ads and through micro-transactions. Micro-transactions are small purchases within a game using real money. For instance, you may pay $1.00 of real money for a better weapon or some unique armor. The game industry has seen a lot of micro-transaction activity lately and it will only get bigger.

Blizzard Entertainment is a large company we see beginning to use micro-transactions. They are allowing players to spend real money on unique mounts but they also have the subscription fee in place which might stop most players from using their micro-transaction system.

On the other hand, Dungeons & Dragons Online from Turbine was a subscription based MMO but they have stopped charging a subscription fee. Instead, they have switched to a completely free game with a store where you can buy things for your characters using real money aka micro-transactions. According to the MMO Report on G4TV.com, Turbine has found that they actually make more money now using the micro-transaction system than they did when it was a subscription based game.

Facebook is another large market for games with micro-transactions. Farmville, one of the most played games on Facebook, has a micro-transaction system and it actually makes a decent amount of money. There are many other Facebook games that use a similar system. In fact, most every game I have seen on Facebook uses a similar system.

I don't think that micro-transactions with be the only thing in the future of the game industry. I do, however, think that they will become a large part of the future of the industry, and we should get used to seeing them and maybe even using them because it looks like micro-transactions will be around for a long time.

Thanks for reading. If you have any suggestions, I'm always open to ways I can improve my blog. I am still working on the design of the blog so please just give me some time. If you have any questions about anything, please feel free to leave me a comment and I will try to answer it.

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