Cliff Blezsinski recently voiced his opinion on the perception of EA Games as ‘the bad guy’, and how this viewpoint seems to be created by fan bias. By first examining how the industry functions, and shedding light on the use of micro-transactions by multiple companies, we are able to see that perhaps there is no true ‘bad guy’, but instead, companies simply doing all they can to remain profitable.
Blezsinski begins by reminding us all that the video game industry is exactly that, an industry. He says, “They exist to produce, market, and ship great games ultimately for one purpose. First, for money, then, for acclaim.”
This concept seems to be forgotten far too often among gamers. While all of us enjoy gaming passionately, it’s easy to lose sight of our favorite hobby’s existence as a business. Without profit there are no games, and as the industry evolves, it must uncover new ways to battle against losses from used game sales.
“Remember, if everyone bought their games used there would be no more games…understand that when faced with this issue those that fund and produce those games you love have to come up with all sorts of creative ways for the business to remain viable and yes, profitable.”
Micro-transactions, season passes, and even online activation codes are rapidly becoming ways for the industry to fight against profit loss from used gaming. These techniques are being implemented because they are successful. If these ideas were failing we would not be seeing them continue to grow, and we certainly should not expect them disappear any time soon.
Joystiq recently reported that EA CFO Blake Jorgensen fully supports the idea of micro-transactions, check out what he had to say below:
“The digital business is broken up into a couple of pieces, one is pure digital downloads of full games. The next, and much bigger piece is micro-transactions within games. So, to the extent that as EA CTO Rajat Taneja said, ‘we’re building into all of our games the ability to pay for things along the way, either to get to a higher level, to buy a new character, to buy a truck, a gun; whatever it might be. And consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business.'”
Whether gamers like it or not, the old business model of the industry has evolved to support digital content in order for companies to thrive. Blezsinski notes that, “Gamers are upset that publishers/developers are ‘nickel and diming them.’ They’re raging at ‘big and evil corporations who are clueless and trying to steal their money…I think it’s bullshit that EA has the ‘scumbag EA’ memes on Reddit and that Good Guy Valve can Do No Wrong.”
This hypocritical viewpoint of many gamers is rarely brought into the light, and through acknowledging fan bias we may be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Numerous game studios have implemented supporting their games through digital content, so placing the blame entirely on EA is unjustified and emphasizes the concept of fan bias. While I may not agree with many of EA’s decisions as a company, their support of digital content is most certainly not one of them.
Micro-transactions aren’t simply a way of ‘nickel and diming’ gamers, but rather they should be seen as a way for fans to support the games and developers they love. Many gamers continue to rage on forums and message boards at, “big and evil corporations who are clueless and trying to steal [our] money.”
Perhaps gamers should express their opinions by carefully spending their money, and thinking about where that money goes after their credit card processes. Raging online is like firing a gun with blanks, you’re going to be heard, but you have no chance of hitting your target.
“If you don’t like the games, or the sales techniques, don’t spend your money on them. You vote with your dollars.”
What are your thoughts on EA Games and micro-transactions? Are you empowering “the man” by purchasing digital content, or are you on the other side of the battle lines guarding your wallet with your life? Drop a comment below, and tell us what you think!