At the UBS Global Technology Conference, EA CFO Blake Jorgenson spoke on the company’s current goals regarding monetization and live services, particularly as they relate to subscription plans like Origin Access.
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Origin Access is relatively inexpensive service that allows you to play many of EA’s games, not unlike things such as Netflix. Where EA’s plans differ, though, is their focus on live service games, which extend potential consumer spending far beyond the flat subscription fee. That’s what Jorgenson refers to as ‘uncapped’ subscriptions, according to GamesIndustry.biz.
“Give people a way to spend money on things they want to do and that they enjoy doing vs simply capping them at $9 or $10 per month and that's all they can ever spend,” says Jorgenson. “We find people play twice as many games, they spend twice as long on them, and they spend twice as much money, because you've reduced the cost of trial to close to zero.”
Essentially, a paid subscription allows EA to charge a small fee up front, and potentially continue monetizing through the live services of their games - especially with the Ultimate Team features in Madden and FIFA. “It's a great consumer offering,” says Jorgenson, “but it's also for us a much more stable business, an easier business for us to run long-term and doesn't have the same limited cap that most subscriptions would have.”
Jorgenson says that less and less of EA’s business is focused on new titles, with more revenue generated by games that offer recurrent spending, similar to what we’ve heard with Ubisoft and Take Two recently. Yet with Battlefront 2’s monetization having proven such a controversial topic, it remains to be seen how - or even if - the public outcry against these specific forms of long-term revenue will affect the game industry’s profits in the long term.