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Consumers have spoken and they want more freemium games, EA All Play senior vice president and general manager Nick Earl has told GamesIndustry.

"The market has spoken very loudly that that's the model they like," Earl told the industry website at GDC last week. "Even though there's some vocal minority that don't like it, ultimately the numbers would show that they and others all support the freemium model better."

Real Racing 3 caused some anger amongst the gaming community because of its heavy emphasis on in-app purchases, but Earl says you can't please everyone.

"I think initially they were a little bit annoyed because the all-you-can-eat model makes sense for them," Earl said. "That's the kind of people they are. But at the end of the day, they're going to pay to eat, if that's their choice. And they're happy doing it."

Earl concluded: "At the end of the day you kind of have to look at real numbers. The old proverb, 'You can't please all the people all the time' is just so true." Analysis

So, are you a supporter of the freemium model, or do you sit in the vocal minority? Let us know in the comments below.


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User Comments


The best Freemium games, and the ones that I don't mind, are those that ask you to pay if you get stuck and need a helping hand. Most of the time, though, these are not Freemium but cost the basic minimum entry fee (69p in the case of the App Store, less on Google Play, depending on exchange rates etc).

But if I was looking to sell 2k 69p games with potential for In App Payments that are unobtrusive, or 7k free games where only 1% pay (and even that's not guaranteed) I know which I'd choose.
Posted 15:18 on 03 April 2013
Clockpunk's Avatar


I can categorically state that I, as a consumer, do not care for freemium in the slightest. Mind you, if a game is dependent on EA keeping its servers running, probably all their games are really worth...
Posted 14:58 on 03 April 2013
Bloodstorm's Avatar


Look at League of Legends, that's how "freemium" should be done.
Posted 14:53 on 03 April 2013
CheekyLee's Avatar


The single biggest problem with freemium is if a game says to me "You either pay to play more, or wait", then what that game is actually saying to me is "Time spent playing this game is not rewarding enough on its own", and so I find SOMETHING ELSE TO PLAY whilst waiting. And probably never come back to the game I have now abandoned.

That's not exactly smart marketing. Any wall that stops me from playing your game is a bad one.

Further, the numbers definitely do not lie. They tell us that 90%+ of all freemium players never spend a single penny. The money comes from the so-called 'whales' who spend insane amounts, but they only account for about 1% of all players. The figures become even more blurred if you take away the kids who spent little amounts before their parents put controls on, alongside discounting the thousands of pounds that have been refunded by Apple recently.

So what does the industry do? Sadly and predictably they target the whales, trying to get them to spend more. "They like spending a fortune, so LET'S MAKE THEM SPEND TWO FORTUNES!" What a SMART market would do would be to target the freeloaders, and try to get us to accept the idea that paying for something isn't bad. Or, target the low spenders and try to push them higher up the scale.

Or, perhaps, and this is admittedly a radical idea that is unlikely to take hold but I feel that it needs to be out there anyway ...

Perhaps make games that we are quite happy to pay up-front for?
Posted 12:16 on 03 April 2013


In their defence, the game was downloaded and then, more importantly, played for many hours by a significant number of people.

And Real Racing 3 does work as a freemium game, though I still don't like any game that limits time rather than resources (as this does with having to wait for servicing and repairs unless you pay).

As long as they don't then go on to translate their findings to mean 'all gamers on all platforms' it will be fine. PC and Mobile platforms (excluding handhelds) suit freemium better than consoles and handhelds just because of the type of game and distribution methods.
Posted 11:59 on 03 April 2013
EverTheOptimist's Avatar


I don't mind freemium games if the microtransactions exist for those who can't be bothered putting in the time to level up or get new stuff, but unfortunately freemium games aren't often like that.

I personally don't care because I don't download them as I know I won't spend the money. I know there's the argument for it costing the same as, or less than, a game at full RRP but I just can't be doing with messing around with it. I'd rather put my money on the counter, up front, for a complete game.
Posted 11:57 on 03 April 2013
MJTH's Avatar


I think this is the big issue when it comes to gaming now. Not freemium games, but the perception of what publishers think what we want. And it's not even really their fault.

Gaming was a niche for a very long time, and now is at least somewhat more warmly taken by many people. The problem is a large of population of people who play games now aren't core gamers, but the kind of people who play games on their smart phones, (iOS, android) or play browser games (google play or facebook stuff). So when EA does these polls for what people want the core are out voted by the new wave gamers.

Then EA sound surprised when the vocal core says what this isn't what they want, even though their statistics say otherwise. Irony really, because for so long this industry has wanted to be accepted as not a niche and now it has, the original core are now worried at the changes this as brought with it.
Posted 11:52 on 03 April 2013
infinite's Avatar


next he'll be bitching how the vocal minority so happen to be the very big majority that so happen to pirate tons of games...
Posted 11:45 on 03 April 2013
munkee's Avatar


The numbers seem to be in the favour of freemium because the app download is free. Of course people download something that's free over something thats paid for. It would be interesting to see how many of the initial downloaders then went on to buy assets in-app.

But in app/game purchasing for assets is still bull*****. There, I said it.
Posted 11:43 on 03 April 2013

Game Stats

Release Date: 01/01/2012
Developer: Firemonkeys
Publisher: EA
Genre: Racing
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 8,998 37
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