It's been a busy year for EA, thanks in part to Star Wars Battlefront 2's release and its subsequent loot box controversy. But Battlefront 2's loot boxes look like they're just the beginning for EA. CFO Blake Jorgensen opened up about the company's future revenue structure at the UBS Global Technology Conference.
These days, EA is interested in offering live monetization options alongside service subscriptions. The company thinks microtransactions prolong a game's lifetime revenue by giving players an unlimited way to spend more money on a title. Combined with services like Origin Access or EA Access, which let consumers play games for free in exchange for a reoccurring fee, and EA thinks a hybrid focus on both will earn the company major profits.
"If you have a live service component to [games on EA Access and Origins Access], you can have a subscription that's uncapped," Jorgensen explained, GamesIndustry reports. "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."
In short, EA charges players for unlimited access to games like Madden through EA and Origin Access, and then implements microtransactions within those games to make further money. That means players aren't simply spending a couple bucks for access, they're also spending money in-game endlessly.
That explains why EA is forcing microtransactions into Battlefront 2, despite ongoing criticism from fans. Expect Battlefield to receive its own microtransaction system, too.
"Battlefield 4 is often the fourth, fifth or sixth most played game in any given day," Jorgensen said. "If we had a live service on that, and we could keep people engaged, give them even more to play them, we would also be able to try and monetise them over time."
While EA's microtransaction plans sound unsettling, Jorgensen also hyped up the company's upcoming new IP from EA Motive, which is an action title. And the game sounds unprecedented for the industry, with Jorgensen claiming the game has "a lot of new interesting gameplay" that's unlike anything on the market. But that title won't be out until fiscal year 2021.
"Action is clearly the place we're missing the most, and the reason we're building Anthem and the new title that Jade Raymond's team at Motive is building in Montreal," Jorgensen said. "That's the largest sector in gaming. It's one we haven't spent a lot of time in because we were so focused on sports and first-person shooters. We feel like there's a huge opportunity there."
In the meantime, Star Wars Battlefront 2 is out now and features a single-player campaign from EA Motive. It's unclear when the studio will officially reveal its new IP, but don't expect a release date any time soon.