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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Electronic Arts — Nickel and Diming Customers

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - They claim they don't WANT to. It just happens.

Not much to write about here: According to GameSpot, Electronic Arts through their Chief Financial Officer Mr. Blake Jorgensen, has declared,
"I do think there's a bit of consumer fatigue around feeling like they're getting nickle and dimed all the time. And a lot of mobile games don't allow you to have fun unless you've paid for it, so we're looking at new models of ways to try to alleviate some of that fatigue that's going on. Some of those might come in the form of subscription-style, but some of them might simply come in different ways to play games over time so you don't feel like you're always getting nickel and dimed."

I would like to note that GameSpot's transcript (which I faithfully quoted), which came from Jorgensen's speech at the invitation-only UBS Global Technology Conference, spelled "nickel" two different ways within the same paragraph. I can confirm it's supposed to be "nickel". Meanwhile, "Nickle" tends to be a surname.

UBS is a financial services broker-dealer, by the way. It's not a videogame thing, just a bunch of technology companies at some conference so people will invest in them. Activision Blizzard is there too, which is important to note for a snarky point I'll make shortly. Activision is represented by Amrita Ahuja, who is their Senior Vice President of Investor Relations. So don't feel bad if you've never heard of this conference or its attendees, since it's not meant for the lay-person like, say, E3 would be.

Now for substance, though this pretty much writes itself. 

Jorgensen is totally right when he mentions that bit about mobile games. That includes mobile games like EA's very own Need For Speed: No Limits, which has limits by way of a gas tank that you need to refill with micro-transactions.

Electronic Arts EA nickel and diming
EA nickel and diming.
Do you like my touch of having the EA logo cover the word "liberty" on the nickel and the dime?
I don't actually follow EA's games and business models all that closely. I just like writing negative articles on them out of schadenfreude. (Though EA might not consider these topics to be bad things for them!) That's what happens when you run a boycott on the company.

Fortunately for my point (and unfortunately for the people), lots of other people do follow EA. Which I guess has to happen when you're one of the biggest videogame companies in the world. Before Mr. Jorgensen's speech at the start of this week, there have been hundreds of complaints (and each one probably has several sub-complaints) on the Internet with Electronic Arts and the very same phrase, "nickel and diming." I think it's safe to say that many consumers feel like Electronic Arts, despite their efforts, are nickel and diming. Whether it be micro-transactions, poorly valued downloadable content, or overpriced and mysterious season passes, the folks aren't happy.

Yet... people keep buying their crap. Just stop it. If you don't like EA's economic models (and EA doesn't even like them, apparently, until they see their gross income) then don't support 'em. And if you don't like their "well we don't like it but it somehow happens anyway" attitude and their apparent lack of self-control, then tell them off.

You know who is a villain and doesn't try to half-ass it? Activision. They outright acknowledge they want to extract as much money as you as they can. Same business model as EA, but at least they're honest about it. So I'll respect Activision more than EA any day. Besides, Bobby Kotick at least makes great deals.

Do you have personal experience with EA's revenue tactics? Ludwig doesn't, but he'd love to hear your horror stories. Preferably action horror stories. Not survival ones. ...And about EA.


  1. I have a few free games from EA, so I can't say I've felt this much. XD And when it comes to DLC, I have no objections as long as the base game is complete and worth its price and the DLC is either unneeded or also worth its price. I usually ignore microtransactions.

    Now, some of this season pass stuff is getting out of hand, though I'm not sure EA is the biggest culprit (thinking about that Arkham Knight season pass).

    1. Do you have a few paid games from EA?

      Also also also did you like the footer?

    2. I also have paid games from EA, yes. :P I didn't mean ALL the games I've gotten from them have been free. XD

      The footer amused me.

    3. Thank yoouuuu.

      Did you find the paid games from EA worth the price?

    4. I did. I've greatly enjoyed both the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series.

      ...have I played any EA games that aren't from BioWare? I'm not sure.


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