Electronic Arts has been in the centre of criticism for a while. After closing down Visceral Games, the publisher claimed that its new Star Wars game was not an experience that players would want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come. As such, the publisher decided to completely cancel that version and start from the beginning. And during the UBS Global Technology Conference 2017, Electronic Arts chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen revealed what most of us already suspected from that cancellation; that EA will now invest on live services.
According to Jorgensen, Electronic Arts is trying to build a live service that will constantly add content to the game, giving people new ways to play. This live service will be all about constantly watching, listening to, and reacting to the community to try to develop great gameplay. Or at least that’s what Jorgensen claims.
Jorgensen believes that the gaming industry is moving towards a ‘play the service‘ instead of a ‘play the game‘ model. And EA will definitely be a part of it. After all, this is evident from the cancellation of Visceral’s Star Wars game. EA believed that there weren’t many ways via which players could ‘play the experience‘. And that’s the reason why the game got cancelled.
Now the problem with this model is that it’s an excuse for microtransactions. Because I still remember those days when we had level editors and proper modding tools to further extend a game’s ‘experience.’ Doom is a prime example of this as we are still getting numerous mods for it. Hell, even
DICE started as a modding team for Battlefield 2 the Battlefield series wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for the Desert Combat mod for BF1942 (which was used as a baseline for Battlefield 2).
And if you still don’t believe that this model is an excuse for injecting microtransactions to games, here is what Jorgensen said about the live service on existing games.
“If Battlefield 4 had a live service on it, they (EA) could keep people engaged, give them even more to play with, and they’d also most likely be able to monetize them over time.”
So there you have it. Even though EA claims that the live service will benefit players, we all know that they are simply trying to inject microtransactions to their triple-A games. And this does not surprise us at all. Take Two, another big publisher, stated that all of its future games will feature microtransactions. However, it’s completely different stating the obvious, and lying about doing such a thing so you can provide a better experience for the players.
While it’s not clear yet whether EA will inject live services on existing games, it will certainly try to. Whether it succeeds in such a thing remains to be seen!