New EA Strategy 'Essentially' Charges for Demos, Analyst Claims (Updated)

By Chris Faylor, Mar 22, 2010 10:20am PDT

Update: Electronic Arts is indeed examining a "number of projects for delivering premium content to consumers before, during, and after the launch of a packaged-goods version of the game," EA VP Jeff Brown told Kotaku in response to Pachter's comments.

"None of the for charging consumers for traditionally free game demos," Brown added. However, keep in mind that Pachter suggested such paid downloads would be longer and/or more full-featured than traditional demos.

Original: As mega-publisher Electronic Arts continues to expand its presence in the paid download arena, Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter has revealed a new strategy in which EA sells what, in his words, "would essentially be a very long game demo."

As Pachter explained to Gamasutra, "I think that the plan is to release [paid downloadable content] at $15 that has 3-4 hours of gameplay, so [it has] a very high perceived value, then [EA will] take the feedback from the community (press and players) to tweak the follow-on full game that will be released at a normal packaged price point."

Battlefield 1943, a multiplayer-only download said to be indicative of the new strategy.

He provided an example in the form of the download-only multiplayer shooter Battlefield 1943, writing: "If DICE were able to follow Battlefield 1943 with a full-blown European WWII campaign game a few months later, it would have been a wild success."

He added: "EA's view is that the PDLC costs a lot less to develop (essentially, it's the first few levels of the full-blown game), and they have the opportunity to fix whatever needs to be fixed in the packaged product that is released a few months later, whether that entails doing more of what people like or doing less of what they don't."

Pachter says he learned of the strategy during a recent visit to Electronic Arts, which included presentations from various executives, including CEO John Riccitiello, CFO Eric Brown, and Visceral Games general manager Nick Earl.

According to Pachter, other tidbits to emerge from the presentations included word that Visceral's long-rumored Jack the Ripper game is to be a downloadable on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live and the unsurprising revelation that "EA intends to exploit all of its packaged games with ancillary digital revenue streams."

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35 Threads | 74 Comments
  • Charge more money for your products and you're screwing the consumer. The more you screw the consumer, the less the consumer will feel bad about screwing you. The more the consumer screws you, the more you screw the consumer. Next thing you know, you're going through your fourth divorce, paying child support for seven kids, and nobody will sleep with you because your herpes are so bad that the sores actually stretch around your ass and up your back.

    EA will continue to raise prices, lose more sales to piracy, layoff employees and close studios.

  • WRONG! You don't give $5, $10, $2 or $1 dollar for demos. That's what demos are for to test the game. That's what forums are for FEEDBACK. if customers like your game, they will praise it and you got yourself a green light. You don't charge for a demo, then charge again for the retail product.
    But if the demo is not successful, Oh, well - thanks for your money. Do the math, this is essentially free money for EA or ANY conglomerate.
    These guys are just like every other money hungry corporate raping fools. Right up there with Enron and Goldman Sachs.
    They are just as foul as pedophiles since they cant make a distinction between good business practices and sodomy.
    Put your foot down people and stop codling these sharks.
    Whats the matter here? are you suffering from Stockholm or something?

  • I think there's major opportunity for games like 1943. Take Splinter Cell's Spies vs Mercs mode. That's low hanging fruit and I think it would work perfectly as a 1943 style release. The fools at Ubisoft cut SvM from Conviction but they could put a small team to work on an updated SvM, focus on only 2-3 maps, release it as a $15 download. I'll bet it would sell. Hell they could release a a short, 3 mission Splinter Cell coop camapaign as a $10 or $15 download and I'll bet people would eat it up. Portal was only 2-3 hours but that was a good length for it. I think there's money to be made for AAA quality games that are only a few hours long.

  • Battlefield 1943 was 15$ and I played many many hours of it despite it being only 3 levels, it was not 3-4 hours.

    I would never buy a 60$ battlefield 1943 single player campaign, what is fun about that game is the multiplayer (as has been the case for every battlefield game ever)

    considering that his analysis is based on a) battlefield 1943 being a demo and b) a single player battielfied 1943 would be more successful.

    I disagree on both points, and then it's stuff he "thinks"

    oh well. if EA makes more 1943 type games on XBLA and PSN, good!