EA responds to the microtransaction frenzy

Headdesk moment of the weekA new week, a new set of weird things to talk about. We should really consider having a “Headdesk of the Week” segment just for those rather frustrating bits of news. Obviously, this isn’t happy news, and since it’s about Electronic Arts, you can be sure aliens are listening into the collective groan of every single gamer on earth right about now.

During Major Nelson‘s usual podcast, Chip Lange, Vice President of Online Commerce at EA, defended their company’s current stance on microtransactions. In this case, EA was offering people the option of just paying to unlock something than go through needless tedium of trying to get it through long hours of play. He also stated that only 20% of people actually went through the trouble of doing that.

On a more incendiary point, the podcast also talked about something we’ve discussed previously: charging for cheats. Lange’s argument was essentially along the lines of websites getting the cheats, posting it, and then getting revenue through advertising. “There are places where cheat codes are free but those are on websites and those websites are making money by selling advertising,” goes his argument. EA’s stance, therefore, is that Xbox’s Marketplace is just a new way for people to get the stuff they want from the game.

Here’s the thing: how is it a new way for people to get the stuff they want if there are no other options for them to get said stuff? One way is by going through the tedium of unlocking the content, and another is by inputting an existing cheat code for it. Of this, IGN cites the perfect example: The Xbox version of The Godfather has cheats, and these were taken out for the 360 version.

During the podcast, Lange assured people that they weren’t short-changing gamers, though he anticipates the company will be staying the course and continuing the microtransaction idea. “As the gaming industry becomes more online centric,” he says, “that’s going to provide a whole lot more choice to the consumer base provided that the basic package continues to be robust and rewarding.” Do gamers have to remind him that the choice should not be between “Pay” and “Suffer”?

Headdesk moment of the weekA new week, a new set of weird things to talk about. We should really consider having a “Headdesk of the Week” segment just for those rather frustrating bits of news. Obviously, this isn’t happy news, and since it’s about Electronic Arts, you can be sure aliens are listening into the collective groan of every single gamer on earth right about now.

During Major Nelson‘s usual podcast, Chip Lange, Vice President of Online Commerce at EA, defended their company’s current stance on microtransactions. In this case, EA was offering people the option of just paying to unlock something than go through needless tedium of trying to get it through long hours of play. He also stated that only 20% of people actually went through the trouble of doing that.

On a more incendiary point, the podcast also talked about something we’ve discussed previously: charging for cheats. Lange’s argument was essentially along the lines of websites getting the cheats, posting it, and then getting revenue through advertising. “There are places where cheat codes are free but those are on websites and those websites are making money by selling advertising,” goes his argument. EA’s stance, therefore, is that Xbox’s Marketplace is just a new way for people to get the stuff they want from the game.

Here’s the thing: how is it a new way for people to get the stuff they want if there are no other options for them to get said stuff? One way is by going through the tedium of unlocking the content, and another is by inputting an existing cheat code for it. Of this, IGN cites the perfect example: The Xbox version of The Godfather has cheats, and these were taken out for the 360 version.

During the podcast, Lange assured people that they weren’t short-changing gamers, though he anticipates the company will be staying the course and continuing the microtransaction idea. “As the gaming industry becomes more online centric,” he says, “that’s going to provide a whole lot more choice to the consumer base provided that the basic package continues to be robust and rewarding.” Do gamers have to remind him that the choice should not be between “Pay” and “Suffer”?

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