Has EA Shot Itself In The Foot?
(Or Is It Pure Genius?)
I have the most sinister smile on my face right now.
You know, for a very long time I have defended Electronic Arts and their practices, sometimes opting to look the other way in favour of all the good they’ve done for gaming. (You may laugh now.) Then a few things occurred to me, a few more transgressions were made that were slightly less forgivable, and of course, a certain statement about DRM was made, and I finally gave up trying.
Like the bad parts of a person you have feelings for, sometimes it’s difficult to see them or admit to them being there. But once you do, then the floodgates open and suddenly everything they do begins to irritate or annoy and nothing is ever the same any more.
Hi Electronic Arts.
You broke my heart.
But my beloved EA, there are some things that I just cannot forgive. I still blame you for Dragon Age II. I still blame you for BioWare’s co-founders retiring. I still blame you for Mass Effect 3’s endings. I still blame you for putting unrealistic pressure on Visceral and Crytek to perform, resulting in poorer experiences by the iteration. I still blame you for defending always-online practices as “not DRM” when it abso-fucking-lutely is DRM. And I still blame you for online passes.
How ironic then that you fall to your own actions. So Dead Space 3 and Crysis 3 haven’t sold well this year, and those are your only two titles released thus far? Well now. That’s not looking so great, is it? Why is that, do you think? Maybe it’s because the games are so ridiculously dumbed down for mass appeal? No, that can’t be right, how can appealing to the masses not appeal to the masses? It must be something else, right? Maybe it’s the microtransactions and DLC policies of the games that have put people off? But then you’d be making more money per sale, effectively upping your profits, so it can’t be that, right? What could it possib– Oh, that’s right. Gamers have wisened up to something.
Allow me to share:
Ever since the introduction of online passes, the resale value of EA games has plummeted. I dare say if you own an Electronic Arts game that’s more than two years old and requires an online pass, you’re better off using it as a coaster because nobody will want to pay you actual money for it.
Dead Space 3 released brand new for R600, internationally. Crysis 3, for R500, locally. Today I can get both of these games for sub-R300 or less if I look hard enough. And it’s what, three months later?
No wonder publishers have gone to war with the gaming resale market. It’s the very same market that they have now empowered. And I believe they’ve finally realised it. Games with online passes have a horrid resale value, meaning that gamers are tempted to rather not buy them brand new because they cannot resell them, and retailers are forced to drop prices quickly to compete with the resale market since those who did buy the game brand new are selling it for next to nothing.
And so we have entered a time when Electronic Arts, in all its efforts to extort (and that’s really what online passes are) gamers for all they’re worth, have actually encouraged (smarter) gamers to hold off on pre-ordering or purchasing games at retail because why would they, if in a few months they can get the game for half the price?
But then I start to think a little more about it and wonder: What if the game sales are not as representative of total sales as they claim? What if, in fact, their ridiculously high sales expectations are just a means for them to confess losses, using the extra money that comes in to ‘recuperate those losses’ if you know what I’m getting at, here. It wouldn’t be the first time a large firm has done such a thing. And it certainly won’t be the last.
Further, what if they are making all of their money back with the sale of online passes? What if, say, a million people purchase online passes. Sure it’s not as much as the game itself, but it’s still pure profit and it’s undeclared profit, insofar as, nobody’s writing articles about it. They’re not telling you sales figures for DLC or anything online-related, are they? No. Just retail sales, and we know there are other channels for income now. I’d like to know, for example, how much EA made on micro-transactions in Dead Space 3.
Mostly though, I just hope that EA are making genuine losses. It won’t last long, of course, later this year they’ll put out another Battlefield DLC or something, and FIFA 14, together with the rest of their sporting title lineup, and they will make all the profit.
Oh well… I’ll take this as a small victory. After all, I just acquired Dead Space 3 for next to nothing, I have no plans to purchase an online pass nor partake in micro-transactions either. And it’s all thanks to EA and their ridiculous money-grubbing schemes.
The things you do to me, EA…