Microtransactions and loot boxes in video games have recently become a very popular and controversial topic in the news world both inside and outside of the gaming realm. This is mainly due to a fairly sizeable portion of the core gaming crowd giving the company severe backlash over implementing microtransactions in recent titles. Basically all of EA’s titles this year have included them. This includes one of the companies biggest money-makers: its sports titles.
EA Sports games (FIFA, Madden, NHL, and more) make quite a bit of money every year due to the sports genre being one of the biggest in the whole game industry. Games like FIFA 18 feature the Ultimate Team mechanic, which is where the microtransaction system for the EA is located. The company’s CFO Blake Jorgensen recently spoke at the NASDAQ 37th Investor Program. There, he revealed that between 70-75% of people who play the EA Sports titles play the Ultimate Team mode. From that group, about 37.5% (half of 75%) choose to make use of microtransactions. Despite this being a sizeable amount of people, Jorgensen mentioned that EA doesn’t try and push players to spend the extra money that microtransactions call for.
“We spend very little time trying to get people to spend more money. We really try to spend most of our time getting people into the funnel because we know once they’re into the game, they’ll really have a good time, and they’ll play it for a long period of time.”
Jorgensen went on to compare games to that of movies, citing how games offer more value due to people paying a higher initial price ($60 game vs. $20 movie) but getting more hours of enjoyment out of it. He also used this argument to justify people spending even more money on microtransactions, saying that players are doing this to “increase the fun and excitement of the game.”
EA makes quite a lot of money from microtransactions on top of all the cash it rakes in from initial sales. Therefore, we need to look at this honestly: even if Jorgensen is being genuine, there’s no doubt the company is very happy to see all that extra revenue flow in thanks to players who become repeated sources of profit due to spending money on microtransactions.
How do you feel about microtransactions? Do you make use of them in any game that offers them, or do you avoid them at all costs?